A photographer has been travelling the world to take pictures of cities and buildings many of which are not all that they seem.
Gregory Sailer’s unique series has taken him to places around the world where the buildings are little more than illusions.
From the likes of Mosul in Iraq to fake Arabic cities recreated in the Mojave Desert, California to an English village in China giving the locals a taste of Europe.
Thamestown in China have built an entire town in the style of a British community, which even has mock-Tudor buildings (pictured) decorated with the classic beams which are typical of the period
The town even features a British-style church (pictured) where people can be wed in a classically British setting. The church is based on one in Clifton Village, Bristol
Car manufactureres test vehicle safety at Carson CIty in Sweden
Fake buildings form a Middle Eastern town at Junction City, Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert
Sailer who is based in Tyrol, Austria, came up with the idea for his project in 2015, having initially researched backdrops, illusions and artificially created urban constructions.
In total, 37-year-old Sailer’s intrigue took him to 25 locations in seven different countries.
Sailer said: ‘Generally, I am much more interested in taking pictures of architecture and to transport the content through architectural structures than taking pictures of human beings.
‘Here I was looking for this kind of tightrope walk between illusion and reality. To construct illusions and break with them, to disillusion, to play with visual realities.
Officials in Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia masked forlorn buildings for a BRICS summit in 2015
Tiefort City is a fake town at Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert
The French Army conducts urban warfare training at the at the Complexe de Tir en Zone UrbaineCamp de Sissonne in France
Germany, Schnggersburg – train tracks appear to go on for miles in this underground network of tunnels
Gregory Sailoer spent two years traveling through seven countries to photograph these strange, surreal places
‘The aim of the project is to enable access to the world of fakes, copies and backdrops.
‘The visitor gets the possibility to follow and question these sometimes absurd developments of today’s society.’
Some of the most interesting and exhilarating locations to visit, Sailer said were the urban warfare training environments.
The series which took two years to compile between 2015 and 2017 and called The Potemkin Village and are all compiled in a newly-released book.
The term Potemkin Village stems from a legend about Russian Girgori Potemkin, who, according to reports, built impressive yet fake villages along a route Catherine the Great was once due to travel.
Today, the term is used to describe a facade that is aimed to hide something undesirable beneath.
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.’
A number of exhibitions are planned for in Sailer’s native Austria, as well as in France, Germany and Russia.
Gregor said: ‘It couldn’t be better and that is kind of a thing that motivates me to continue my work in general.
‘The project is finished for now. But who knows what happens in the future?’
Jeoffrecourt is an urban combat training site at Camp de Sissonne
Sailer photographed artificial cities created for military training, encountering Afghanstyle villages in California’s Mojave desert and Cold War relics in Europe such as this particular set in Germany
Junction City has all the trappings of an Iraqi town: a brightly painted mosque; shops adorned with Arabic script. It’s a stage set at Fort Irwin in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert, where US troops simulate fighting insurgents
The French Army trains its military for urban warfare at the Complexe de Tir en Zone UrBaine