We built these cities. All over the world, the crumbling ones, the glistening ones, the towering ones, the little ones—cities are built for people. So when you see one that's empty, it's usually eery. Somehow, however, Hungarian photographer Bence Bakonyi makes them beautiful.

The 23-year-old's "Urbanites" series depict various cityscapes in China. Bakonyi describes the photos as "self-portraits projected onto Hong Kong and Shanghai" as well as "an account of how [he] found his home in the unknown." The unknown is apparently awfully desolate, littered with trash, and devoid of human beings.


And yet, there's a quiet beauty in all of the frames. You see the ugly sides of urban living—the garbage, the decay, the squalor, the filth—but it all seems more pensive than off-putting. Baekonyi's long exposures make night look like day and day look like daydreams.

Again, you won't see a single person in the series, so you're left to ask yourself, "Am I the only one left?" That's a weird question when you're staring at the middle of Hong Kong or Shanghai. But that's also kind of the point. [Bence Bakonyi via Kateoplis]