Whether it's a partial or overall view or a night shot, skyline photos showcase a city's structures against the backdrop of the sky. They can also be the artificial horizon created by a city's overall structure. From the tall skyscrapers of Manhattan to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, some metropolitan skylines are instantly recognizable. They're the fingerprint of the city, and skyline photos attempt to capture that energy and uniqueness all in one shot.
Although all skylines have aesthetic appeal, many become fascinated by the tall skyscrapers that dominate skylines. Although the fact can be debated, most consider the first skyscraper to be the Home Insurance Building in Chicago, built in 1884. People now would scoff at the 10 story building, but it was a feat of unique architecture that employed the principle of skeleton construction, or using a structural steel frame to deal with the weight of the building's walls and floors. Many city skylines now are dominated by skyscrapers that are over 100 stories tall, including New York City, Hong Kong, and Sydney.
With all skyline photos, as with any photos, the appeal is in the eye of the beholder. However, according to Luigi Di Serio, a skyline photo enthusiast who's studied urban planning, there is a method to determine which skylines are the best. Some of his criteria include the visual vertical impact, total height of the city buildings, the density of the skyline, record-holding and renowned structures, and other subjective factors, such as uniqueness, style, and geographic or natural surroundings.
According to Di Serio, Hong Kong has the greatest skyline in the world. With views of Victoria Harbor or Victoria Peak, the city's skyline boasts four of the 17 tallest buildings in the world, in addition to having almost 50 buildings that are over 600 feet tall. Other mentions on his Top 15 list include Toronto, Canada, whose skyline includes the almost 2,000 feet tall CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere; Sydney, Australia, which boasts the iconic white flower-like Sydney Opera house; and San Francisco, California, with the historic Transamerica pyramid and the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
There's certainly interest in skyline photos, whether its amateur photographers attempting to capture a city's essence or those who just enjoy looking at architectural marvels. A search on Google Images for “city skyline” reveals almost 3 million results, and there's even a website called Skyline Project started by Evan Sharp that displays dozens of skyline photos of cities across the United States. Some websites, such as City Skyline Pictures, have also taken to selling skyline pictures, with most photos priced at around $30.
Skyline photos around the world:
- Boston, MA
- Chicago, IL
- Hong Kong
- London, England
- New York City
- Paris, France
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Seattle, WA
- Sydney, Australia
- Tokyo, Japan