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Seeing Boston from new angles

A photo captured by Nikola Olic at 207 Congress St. in Boston.Nikola Olic

In this photograph, which I took at 207 Congress St. in Boston, the blue sky triangle is taking center stage, yet it doesn’t really exist as a permanent thing. The overall image — both familiar and unfamiliar — is an example of what I call abstract structural photography, which is a playful way of re-examining our world.

Using urban structures as colors and shapes is somewhat like writing poems from random words that you find in a book. Here we see six buildings and three reflections and multiple conflicting vertical lines, removed from the comfort of gravity. We see no letters, no numbers, no logos, no people. But it’s still uniquely Boston, which I find to be a diverse architectural playground of Romanesque, international, brutalist, and contemporary styles.


I’ve made photographs like these in about 35 cities around the world. Usually I visit for just a day. These photographic adventures demand that I walk fast, focus intently, and pack light. I shoot with a small superzoom camera that weighs just 20 ounces. If I take public transportation or ride a bike or rent a scooter, I gain an even deeper connection to the city I’m exploring.

My goal is to reconfigure noisy urban commotion into a delightfully quiet order, without always abstracting a city past the point of recognition. The images are all real — although they are not necessarily what you would see if you stood in these spots yourself.

Nikola Olic is a software designer and photographer based in Dallas. See more of his work at structurephotography.org.