German photographer and artist Michael Wolf has passed away at the age of 64. Wolf is best known for his work in Hong Kong, where he isolated chaotic samples of the built environment out of context to reframe the urban environment.

Wolf first moved to Hong Kong in 1994 as a photographer for Stern magazine and left to pursue his personal work in 2003. The density of the megacity became the focus of Wolf’s two long-running photo series, Architecture of Density (2003–2014) and Informal Solutions (2003–2019), which not only took a larger view of the city but explored its alleyways and hidden crevices.

Headshot of an older man in a blue shirt with a scarf

Michael Wolf (Gerrit Schreurs)

The Berlin-born Wolf eventually expanded out from his Hong Kong home while he documented both Asia and Europe. In Tokyo Compression, Wolf explored the crowded Japanese subway system, while in Paris, he made extensive use of Google Street View as a photographic tool.

Wolf was a prolific artist and contributed to a number of photo books, including 17 in the last decade alone. Wolf was recognized for his work in his lifetime, having won the World Press Photo competition in 2005 and 2010, as well as an honorable mention in 2011. In 2010 and 2016, he was also nominated for the Prix Pictet award.

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