Monopoly (Photography)

Monopoly

By Mike Osborne

Mike Osborne on his series: Monopoly is set in Atlantic City and revolves around the historical connection between the city’s street grid and the iconic board game’s properties. Like Floating Island, which was published in 2014, the project is about the site and its history as well as the use of photography as a means of modeling the world. Originally inspired by “The Search for Marvin Gardens,” a 1972 essay by John McPhee, Monopoly translates the game board’s map into photographs that grapple with Atlantic City’s complicated past and present. This gesture of converting abstractions—the purple rectangles known as Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues, for example—into carefully rendered representations of actual places is mildly absurd but also serious, an oblique means of reflecting on the problems that have plagued many American cities over the last half-century.

Osborne notes that his statement was written well before Trump’s candidacy and election. The project was shot mostly between 2012 and 2014, and looking back, he explains that he “inadvertently tracked the demise of Trump’s casinos. While working on the photographs and a related video piece, Trump Plaza and, more recently, the Trump Taj Mahal closed.”


Mike Osborne is a photographer living in Austin, Texas. His work touches on a range of themes including architecture, landscape, history, and technology, ultimately taking the form of books and exhibitions. His first book, Floating Island, was published in summer 2014. Follow his work on his website here.