Gregor Sailer is an Austrian photographer born in 1980. He is known the world over for his architectural photographs. His most remarkable work is the Potemkin Village, in which he pairs together a couple of ‘fakes’ to create cities and towns.
Gregor was educated in Austria and Germany, where he specialized in architectural photography. Since 2005, he has been living and working in Tyrol, Austria. He has traveled to many destinations in the world, taking pictures of the architecture in those places. His vast collection of photos has enabled him to develop works like the Potemkin Village.
The Potemkin Village
This book is a collection of photos that have come to be regarded as ‘fake cities’. These are photos of towns in different locations in the world and the outstanding buildings in those areas as well. Gregor has collected this together to come up with a revolutionary collection that speaks of the political faced in the modern-day world.
Why were Potemkin villages created?
His collection is inspired by Field Marshal Potemkin1, a crony of the Russian empress, Catherine the Great. Potemkin is said to have asked that there be painted large boards along the trail that Catherine would traverse the country. These boards were meant to present a near-perfect illusion that would represent flourishing villages. In essence, though, this was meant to mask the fact that there was rampant under development and misery in those areas.
Gregor, having observed how the political scene is filled which such a façade, also started working on his collection. He visited destinations in Russia, Europe, and the USA as well. He was particularly interested in Russia because of an incident in 2013. President Putin was visiting a town in Russia, which was on a downward trend in terms of real estate occupancy. It is said that the administration in these towns used boards inside the buildings to create the illusion of residency.
Whether President Putin realized this and worked on it remains largely unknown. But one man was inspired by this, and it led to his endless efforts at coming up with a photo collection that would speak of these façade and brainwashing by governments and politicians. Gregor’s work resonates with many people that have been victims of oppressive political regimes. His book can be bought online on many of the e-commerce sites. It is available in both electronic versions and hard copies.