Turkish photographer Aydın Büyüktaş describes his surreal photographic series Flatland as a “multidimensional romantic point of view.” The images are inspired by the 19th-century novella Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott, in which the narrator, a square named A Square, bounces between worlds of various dimensions, both exploring scientific possibilities and commenting on the limits of Victorian society. In contrast, Büyüktaş’s photos are not sardonic, but rather sincerely explore the visual possibilities created by extending the expected depth of an image.
Flatland features a variety of locations in Istanbul, from the Grand Bazaar to a bus station. Büyüktaş constructed each image from a multistep process. First, he used software to create a 3D rendering of a desired location, then carefully mapped the many different photographic angles needed to sew together a final image. In an email exchange with Hyperallergic, Büyüktaş related that the next step, the photography itself, posed a host of challenges, including weather variations and drone downing by birds. (Drones were required to capture all necessary perspectives.) Büyüktaş had originally hoped to piece together the images in an analogue way, but decided that he needed to digitally sew them together to achieve his desired result.
The resulting images betray none of the labor of their creation; they are uncannily smooth. The images invert the curvature of the earth, exposing views that are simultaneously straight-on and aerial. Büyüktaş’s choice of locations, invariably geometrical or architectural, enhances the surprise of the photos’ dreamlike multi-dimensionality. The strangeness of the visuals also suggests the freezing of time; the viewer can see, in one frame, both the visual field of a few seconds ago and of the present. Like the work of Andreas Gursky, Büyüktaş’s series showcases the potential of digital manipulation to overcome the limitations of human vision.