CEGU

Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization

Division of Social Sciences, The University of Chicago

Issue 3 | Winter 2023

Urban Landscapes

Text & Photographs by Nicole Helou

0000 Buenos Aires, Argentina— A Green Light in a Narrow Street

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Buenos Aires, Argentina—
A Green Light in a Narrow Street

In my latest 35mm photographs I attempt to capture the built environment through a layering of manmade structures and the natural landscape. In this collection of film  photographs my goal is to explore the use of space across different cities. In each frame, evidence of human activity gives the viewer a sense of the space’s use. While elements like trees, water, light, or animals are representations of nature, my attention to the human environment can be seen in the large buildings, homes, cars, food stands, or abandoned junk, each testifying to a different use and time. While one picture of a  Chicago alleyway with fire escapes trickling light down onto a commercial truck shows how the backstreets of downtown are used primarily by industrial facilities and appear less friendly to pedestrians, a photograph of Venice Beach pedestrians with its tall palm trees and bustling street vendors shows how this area of Los Angeles exists during the day, where vendors deconstruct and rebuild their tents daily. While I am constantly learning about my own existence within the clashing natural and human worlds, the stories told by each photo represent my obsession with understanding why certain  spaces are sought or avoided and, more generally, why cities exist where they do.  

Los Angeles - Residential Beach Town

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Los Angeles—
Residential Beach Town

Los Angeles—<br />
Industrial Building Along  the Coast

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Los Angeles—
Industrial Building Along  the Coast

Venice Beach—<br />
Vibrant Pedestrians

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Venice Beach—
Vibrant Pedestrians

Hyde Park—<br />
Promontory Point

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Hyde Park—
Promontory Point

Venice Beach—<br />
People Watching

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Venice Beach—
People Watching

Crandon Beach, Miami—<br />
Store Front

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Crandon Beach, Miami—
Store Front

Downtown Chicago—<br />
An alleyway in the Loop

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Downtown Chicago—
An alleyway in the Loop

Buenos Aires, Argentina—<br />
Retiro Station

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Buenos Aires, Argentina—
Retiro Station

Williamsburg, New York—<br />
Abandoned Site

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Williamsburg, New York—
Abandoned Site