Entourage: A sporadic work in progress.

In the world of architectural drafting, the word ‘entourage’ refers to people, plants, vehicles, fixtures, furniture and built structures drawn to embellish a render of a building or site.

While waiting for a takeaway coffee from one of Christchurch’s many shipping container cafés one morning, I found myself staring at an architectural render of the building proposed for the site on which I stood. My attention was at first fixed on the hyperreal colours, aspirational character figures–successful business people getting in and out of fancy European cars, and happy families all smiling while eating at expensive restaurants–and the kind of neo-capitalist vision it presented. The logo of a major corporation glowed at the top of the building and a parody of the Apple logo, a silhouette of a pear with a bite out of it, was rendered on a street front window. Amused by the cast of characters crudely placed in the internal green space of the building, I was suddenly shocked to see what appeared to be a depiction of myself, complete with camera and well-worn Doc Martens boots. The character also had the same haircut, jacket and facial hair. I took a photograph of the detail with my iPhone and sent it to my wife, asking her if she reckoned it was me. “Since when did you have your ear pierced?” she replied. “Cool photo though.”

Later that day, I brought the photo up on my computer. It wasn’t me, but the image itself got me thinking about how fast the world around me was changing and the impossible–and exclusive–future these renders were trying to sell. I wondered what my place could be within this future and how I might find myself inhabiting and relating to it. I was unable to come up with an answer, except to say that one person’s utopia may very well be another’s dystopia; that going by the entourage and perspectives used in the billboards I’d seen, one would need a have lot of influence and money to feel part of this new world.

This portfolio of photographs represents a small selection of billboard details I have photographed since. Using a very high-resolution camera to capture every texture of the printed surface, the images take on a completely different life when printed or viewed at high magnification on screen.