Photoessay: Barriers

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Barriers are obstructions, blockages, things preventing us from getting what we want – or foreground hiding background that might be of desire or interest. They prevent elements from mixing and communicating. I would argue that whilst undesirable, sometimes it can be for our own good. But that does not prevent us from questioning why the barrier is there at all. Perhaps though, the barrier itself can be sufficiently distracting as to be interesting or monotony-breaking. This of course has very little to do with the subject matter in the photoessay – on the face of it. Though I felt quite excited to be in the architectural paradise of Chicago, there were times I also felt constrained by the massive blocking of the surroundings: people, traffic, thought, even air was being channeled through defined pathways by these giant deflectors – barriers. From some angles, they just looked intimidating. I would say enjoy, but that’s not necessarily the aim here…MT

This series was shot with a Leica Q, Nikon D810 and Zeiss 28 Otus, 180 APO-Lanthar, Sony A7RII and Zeiss 85 Batis. You can also look over my shoulder at the underlying postprocessing in the Weekly Photoshop Workflow series.

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Ultraprints from this series are available on request here


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. Ryan Kimball says:

    I greatly enjoyed this set. They certainly create a “walls are closing in” vibe ive always felt in big cities.

    • Thanks – yes, that’s sensation I’ve felt too; more so in unplanned cities where the roads can abruptly appear to end at a wall of buildings, somewhat less so with grid cities as you rarely land up at a dead end.

  2. Praneeth Raj Singh says:

    The 7th and the last image are personal favorites from this set.

  3. while shooting often I find myself wanting to remove barriers to make what I construe to be a good capture…
    This is a great lesson in making good photos despite the barriers [ and at times of the barriers]..:)….

  4. richard majchrzak says:

    speechlessly impressive monu-mental

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