“There is a tree in the middle of Dakhla oasis which, according to some locals, possesses a soul. They call it the tree of Sheikh Adam, and it has stood for centuries at the heart of one million square miles of vast, almost waterless isolation, a space once considered to be amongst the most inhospitable places on the planet. A British scientist and explorer W.J. Harding-King reached this spot in 1909 and declared the tree to be a symbol of everything magical about the desert, “a land where afrits, ghuls, genii and all the other creatures of native superstitions are matters of everyday occurrence; where lost oases and enchanted cities lie in the desert sands.”
A land of lost legends is being slowly turned, house by house, road by road, into the most improbable of solutions to Egypt’s rapidly-escalating population crisis. The Cairo-based government is aiming to turn over three million acres of arid ground into green farmland over the next decade, and provide a home for up to 19 million Egyptians along the way. Nothing less than an entire new valley of life is being scheduled to rise, phoenix-like, from the sand.
It will be the country’s biggest construction project since the pyramids, cost billions of dollars, and according to many scientists, is so bold as to be completely unachievable. Metamorphosing beyond all recognition the ‘untouched’ wilderness of the Western Desert that Dr Harding-King stepped into one hundred years ago, which forms the eastern fringe of the Sahara and spans parts of Egypt, Libya and Sudan. On the centenary of his remarkable expedition, we followed in his footsteps to find a forgotten hinterland in flux.”
Being born in Munich, growing up in Canada and the United States and now living in Hong Kong, German photographer Michael Wolf is fascinated by his surroundings and contemporary life in big cities. After capturing the architectural density of his adoptive hometown and claustrophobic images of public transport passengers, Wolf now offers a different view on Paris. His series „paris roof tops“ avoids all the clichés connected to the „city of lights“ and instead features geometric patterns and muted colours in the distinctive looks of the French capital’s buildings.
Michael Wolf is known for his large-format architectural photos of Chicago and primarily of Hong Kong, where he has been living for more than 15 years.
His latest pictures have also been created in a big city: Tokyo. But this time Tokyo’s architecture is not the topic. Michael Wolf’s Tokyo Compression focuses on the craziness of Tokyo’s underground system. For his shots he has chosen a location which relentlessly provides his camera with new pictures minute by minute.
Every day thousands and thousands of people enter this subsurface hell for two or more hours, constrained between glass, steel and other people who roll to their place of work and back home beneath the city. In Michael Wolf’s pictures we look into countless human faces, all trying to sustain this evident madness in their own way.