Lonely Planet Writer

Famous landmarks around the world are given a dark and dramatic treatment by this creative photographer

Iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty need no introduction, and thanks to the likes of Instagram, colourful pictures of them have been snapped – and shared – countless times. It can take seeing them in a completely new way to remind us how spectacular they were to begin with.

The Statue of Liberty as you've never seen it before.
The Statue of Liberty as you’ve never seen it before. Image by Sébastien Del Grosso

Sébastien Del Grosso is one of a host of creative photographers thinking outside the box when it comes to presenting famous landmarks in fresh new ways. The Frenchman travelled to Paris, London and New York with the aim of creating an ‘architectural series’ of dark, epic shots. Using long exposure and polariser filters, Sébastien managed to capture incredibly striking images of these cities’ key landmarks.

The Eiffel Tower, Paris.
The Eiffel Tower, Paris. Image by Sébastien Del Grosso

“I love photography”, he tells Lonely Planet News, “and architecture photography is one of my favourites. I worked on my first series of black and white photographs on the Defense, near Paris a few years ago. After two trips to New York, I wanted to capture similar pictures, but using a slightly darker, dramatic treatment.”

Big Ben, London.
Big Ben, London. Image by Sébastien Del Grosso

For Sébastien, it’s this darkness that makes the series so compelling. “I’ve tried colour”, he explains, “but I find the strength of a black and white image much more powerful. In the world of photography today, everything is photographed, by hundreds of people. New compositions are hard to find, so I try to move out of the ordinary by using treatments that I’m not used to seeing.”

The Chrysler Building, New York City.
The Chrysler Building, New York City. Image by Sébastien Del Grosso

The results, as you can see, are haunting, almost futuristic depictions of the buildings we’ve seen so many times before. Sébastien also snapped the Arc de Triomphe in his native France, the Empire State Building and 8 Spruce Street in New York, and Big Ben in London. How difficult was it, technically? “These treatments are done in Photoshop”, he says, “using layers of contrast, brightness and levels. I do not touch any original pixels of the basic image.”