Christoph Gielen (born in Bonn, Germany) specializes in video and photographic aerial studies of urban development in its relation to land use, exploring the intersection of art and environmental politics.
He is the author of Ciphers (Jovis Verlag, 2013) – nominated for the Deutscher Fotobuchpreis – with contributing essays by Geoff Manaugh, Johann Frederik Hartle, Galina Tachieva, Srdjan Jovanic Weiss, Edward Morris and Susannah Sayler that serve to contextualize Gielen’s work.
Gielen’s primary use of photography is to engage the general public to become actively involved in the discourse on environmental and social sustainability by presenting his work at forums such as: “Ask the Artist – Christoph Gielen: Supermax Prisons: Views from Above,” with architect Raphael Sperry and cultural historian Michael Prokopow at Creative Time, New York; “Sprawl: Past, Present, Future,” at the BMW Guggenheim Lab, New York; “What If” at TEDxMidAtlantic, Washington D.C.; or “Symposium Six: Decoding the Growth Machine,” at Smoke Farm, Arlington, WA. Other media platforms for his photography include radio, television and feature film, among them: “World One” CNN TV and “PBS Newshour”. Gielenʼs work and feature articles about him appear in books and numerous publications such as NRC Handelsblad, Arquitectura Viva, and Wired. In a series of articles with photographs written for The New York Times in 2010, Gielen examines the limits of growth within Florida’s wetlands, American suburbs, and cities in China. Functioning as a link to the planning community, Gielen’s photography has been utilized by architects such as Bernard Tschumi at Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2014. For this interdisciplinary approach – explicitly connecting his art with architectural, civic, and climate issues – Gielen has been recognized and endorsed by Bruce Babbitt, former United States Secretary of the Interior.
His works have been exhibited at institutions and galleries both in the United States and in Europe, and are part of private and permanent collections.
Gielen is the recipient of an Aaron Siskind Foundation award, and grants from various organizations, including the Fund for Investigative Journalism. His pictures were also nominated for The Prix Pictet global award in photography and sustainability, and for the REAL Photography Award (ING Bank Initiative). He studied photography at Parsons School of Design in New York, where he also lives and works.