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Brilliant colours and movie atmospheres, Andrea Koporova’s ghost towns

The Slovakian photographer explores abandoned places

She began to take pictures by accident in 2010 and has never stopped since. Andrea Koporova, a self-taught photographer born in 1979 from a Slovakian family and now based in Austria, is one of the rising stars of European photography. Her hallmark style? the intense colours applied to every image in post-production. “Over the past few years I have experimented with different styles of photography, explains Koporova. But I like to concentrate on the human figure. Much of my work is done outdoors, outside the studio, where in different spaces I attempt to capture the beauty and feeling of a specific moment”.

One of the latest works that best represents her philosophy is Ghost Town, a collection of pictures taken in abandoned spaces, from theatres to cinemas, from swimming pools to tennis courts, and in industrial areas, in which she always includes a female figure to be the protagonist of the scene. In her minimalist compositions, the saturated colours applied to the structures immersed in the warm-coloured deserted landscapes, contrast with the softer tones generally selected for the model’s clothing. Cinematographic images that in terms of composition and points of view, are reminiscent of some of Kubrick’s stills in Shining, and in terms of atmospheres and colours seem borrowed from a film by Wes Anderson.

When I take my pictures, I always have a very clear concept in mind, for a specific location with specific costumes. And the rest? Improvisation. What you see in the lens before taking the picture is almost never what you get.

From colour contrast to semantic contrast. “On the set, I always work with natural light, explains Koporova. Then in post-production, I apply certain filters to create disorienting worlds in which the sky, for example, is a strong turquoise colour that is anything but natural, and the tennis courts radiate a bright orange light. My purpose is to represent the contradictory situation of solitude, in a world that is virtually, but not only, ever more connected”.

The models seem to explore entire abandoned universes in perfect solitude. “I use colour to try and deprive the places of their original function as spaces for social activities, contrasting them with the solitude of the subject, immersed in a surreal world, in which the ruins, which are traditionally portrayed as sad and grey, are featured in bright colours”.

Andrea Koporova is not the only one who works on abandoned spaces. Many professionals in the field of photography have developed a passion for this theme. One of them is Kai Michael Caemmerer, a photographer from Chicago, the author of the Unborn Cities projects which in architectural photographs, documents the new ghost cities in China, cities that were built without a real demand for housing and have been waiting years to be lived in.


translation by Olga Barmine

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