Photo: Luke Shepard.
From the Renaissance until the middle of the 20th Century, artists from all over the globe would travel to Europe to pursue their trade—whether painting, sculpting, poetry, or architecture. This artistic rite of passage was known as the Grand Tour, as these cultural pilgrims traveled throughout the Continent in order to absorb what were considered the greatest works of art and architecture.
Luke Shepard, a precocious American photographer based out of Paris, has done a contemporary take on the Grand Tour, wandering through Europe photographing some of his favorite structures at night and turning it into a video named “Nightvision.”
“Nightvision” includes many of the architectural icons that traveling Americans would have visited on a traditional Grand Tour of the past, such as the Roman Coliseum. But Shepard’s pilgrimage was more catholic than most, featuring such contemporary structures as Renzo Piano’s Shard in London, Calatrava and Candela’s L’Hemisferic in Valencia, and Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao.
Like all journeys, Shepard’s did have its bumps. “The biggest obstacle [my assistant and I] encountered was weather,” he said. “Rain and snow kept us from shooting many nights and set us back. … Furthermore, freezing temperatures brought about problems with numb fingers and toes. My lens frosted over on two occasions!”
The whole project was completed on a shoestring budget with Shepard and his assistant living on trains and in hostels, on a budget of just $100 per day between the two of them. “We were nomads,” he said.
The result, however, was worth it: a stunning, rather moving grand tour through the Continent’s finest architectural monuments. Shepard’s favorite buildings in the video are the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, and the Atomium in Brussels. Which buildings are your favorite?
NIGHTVISION from Luke Shepard on Vimeo.
Article originally appeared on Architizer here.