‘A tale of one city’, its title loosely based on Charles Dickens famous novel, is a twenty-first century picture story of life in big cities, the clashing of opposites, the simultaneity of extreme wealth and poverty, excess and deprivation that characterizes one major city but might just be a tale of them all.
The book portraits the city as an accumulation of capital and goods, a metabolic system of buying and selling, a place of constant construction and destruction. The visual chaos, the urban polarities that we have to navigate on a daily basis, is documented in the classic tradition of the flaneur, the detached observer of the city.
Yet the excessiveness of these seductive, candy-colored images, reveal only one thing: it is our consumption through which we make our lives meaningful. All that colorful, cheap plastic, all the luxurious accessories, seemingly indistinguishable, help us reassert ourselves in a city that only wants our labour value and grants us almost nothing in return.
It is our economy that is pushing the city’s infrastructure, physical and social, to its limit. There is no place where we can put ourselves, as inhabitants or as viewers of these photos, where we don’t have to recognize our own implication, our own complicity.
“The book is solid and the social commentary about the prevalent problems we all face in the wake of global capitalism, Air BnB rentals, Brexit, and bullshit tariffs are ample fodder in Stiers’s hands.”
Brad Feuerhelm / American SuburbX
“His condensed images of shop windows and details of the urban landscape are often so complex that new layers open up again and again for the viewer into which he can escape when he is tired of the brightly colored plastic and the chaos of the large construction sites.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
“The work of photographer Daniel Stier brings a critical eye to contemporary life. In A tale of one city, a stark story is told of our habits of mass consumption.”
“Some of the images include layers in which the surface doesn’t match up to what lies beneath – a brick veneer being manoeuvred into position on a high rise, for example, or a suitcase sporting a photomontage of popular tourist sites. Nothing is quite as it seems, but it’s all so overwhelming it’s hard to say how exactly it seems.”
“It’s Stier’s way of showing us that, to him, our excessive consumption is what’s given our lives meaning.”
“In response to capitalist conducts, the highly saturated photographs comment on our consumption habits which provide purpose or meaning to our lives. Be ready to indulge in kaleidoscopic flowers, sanguine meat, and occasional Jesus paraphernalia in the excessive, candy-coloured photographs that stretch across the scintillating pages of A Tale of One City.”
“It doesn’t matter which city it is that Daniel Stier portrays in this spasmodic and phantasmagoric way. It is the city of consumerism, and we plunged into it.” Vogue Italia
“At its core, Stier’s project tackles some of the social and economic issues that define the nature of metropolitan existence. Multiculturalism, consumerism, urban expansion and class struggle, are all present in large cities from the Western world and beyond.” C4 Journal