Photographer Gregor Sailer’s new book focuses on incredibly detailed, entirely uninhabited, completely fake urban landscapes.
“These Cities Might Look Real But They’re 100% Fake”
By Laura Mallonee
October 25, 2017
Junction City has all the trappings of an Iraqi town: a brightly painted mosque; shops adorned with Arabic script; the occasional humvee or tank rumbling by. But you won’t find it anywhere near Mosul. It’s a stage set at Fort Irwin, in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert, where US troops simulate fighting insurgents.
“It’s a lonely place, full of buildings no one will ever live in,” says photographer Gregor Sailer. “It’s like a ghost city—the wind smashing the doors, blowing through the streets.”
Sailer captured Junction City and 21 other fake urban landscapes for his fascinating new book The Potemkin Village. They include a New York-themed town in Sweden built to test cars for road safety; a Russian city with elaborate facades disguising forlorn buildings; and a Dutch hamlet in China that tourists visit for a taste of Europe. “Sometimes they’re more real and other times they’re more an illusion,” Sailer says. “I’m jumping between these two worlds, and that’s what makes it exciting for me.” Read more.