With Half-Closed Eyes

To kickstart our Photographers of Instagram series, we knew exactly where to start. Sara Polo has an Instagram account that had caught our eye immediately. Something about the way she approached the built environment made us remember that there’s beauty in the mundane and that some people have a talent finding it.

The 27-year old Venetian architect/graphic designer’s photographic feed focuses on Venice and Verona—the two cities she resides in—as well as on the islands of the Venice lagoon. However, in her work, you won’t encounter anything traditionally regarded as picturesque. Instead, she captures a fresh depiction of what we’d typically expect from these locations.

Rather than focusing on architecture as buildings, Polo—aka @polettaz—‘utilises’ architecture to create wonderful compositions in her frames exclusively through unadorned pieces of architecture and clear forms, probably the Venetian slipstream of the Modernist Movement. Growing up in a city praised for its beauty, has helped her develop a love for the banal features of contemporary architecture.

With a love for clean, archetypical and anthropomorphic forms, Polo uses them to compose her images in a most refreshing and charming way. The buildings she chooses are usually single coloured and you hardly ever see more than two in the same picture. The coloured surfaces develop in space, folding to create corners and layers of depth, and through her careful choices of backgrounds, the results are compositions of shapes and colours rather than depictions of architecture. With half-closed eyes, her photos may strike you as graphic design pieces.

Even when the architecture she captures has no historical or cultural value, the way she frames the subject automatically makes it special, leaving it open to new interpretations. It doesn’t seem absurd to assume that Sara Polo chooses these simple forms in order to easily pull them out of their context and strip them off their significance, while assigning new meanings to them.

The element of perfect symmetry is recurring in most of her images, with many buildings looking as if they are seen in orthographic projection, while also indicating a sensibility for a proportional system within her photographic compositions, even if it is intuitively.

With pastel colours that are always well combined, every photo is the product of careful choices, inspiring us to keep our eyes open—or maybe even half-closed—to see beauty in the banal details of a city we may already know.

–All images courtesy of Sara Polo

–To see more of her work, click here