Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

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Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

Photographer Manuel Alvarez Diestro has sent us these photographs documenting the vernacular street-lighting of different cities around the world. 

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

In these images, light bulbs and lamp posts become the subject matter rather than the surrounding context.

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

The collection varies from fluorescent lighting along a motorway to a simple light bulb attached to a decaying piece of wood.

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

He highlights the smaller spaces within a city's framework, from the outskirts to the city centre.

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

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Here's a description of the project from the photographer:


"lights in the city" is a collection of images of the different street lighting devises that I have found while walking in different cities around the globe.

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

They were taken in a variety of urban contexts during these past years.

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

Sometimes, I chose to photograph light posts in marginal areas of the new cities in Asia or Northern Africa.

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

In other occasions I identified isolated light posts in the central metropolitan areas of cities such as London.

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

Finally, in the more unexpected locations as for example in Cairo’s City of the Dead I found the most basic and improvised forms of lighting where a light bulb is hanging from a wire inserted on a piece of wood.

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

It never came to my mind to conduct a work on this subject.

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

Only when I saw that in all my works their geometrical shapes or the vertical posts where present that’s when I realized that I could create a story.

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

With this in mind I selected images where the light bulbs and light posts were the main subjects or at least had a strong compositional value during the creative process.

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

Light devices are created to carry out a specific function.  They are intended to provide light to the city.  However, due to its fragile nature they do not last long in time.

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

When photographing them these ephemeral electric devises made me ponder that they could potentially provide a new angle in how we see the city by generating intimate and reflective moments about our human condition.

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

With "Lights of the city" I want to create a point once more on the relation that exists  between the city and the humans which inhabit them.

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

This work was presented on a screen at El Aperitivo 04 celebrated on the 30th of June 2010 in la Fabrica (Madrid) under the subject "Luz" and as an homage to László Moholy- Nagy

Lights of the City by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

The images belong to Cairo, Aswan, Ras Sudr, Beirut, Abu Dhabi, London, Santiago de Chile, Fukuoka, Hong-Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Bloemfontein