If Maps Could Talk: These Startling Illustrations Will Change the Way You Think About Cartography

Picture of Ed Fairburn working on a map portraitHave you ever stared at clouds so long they morphed into strange shapes? Or maybe you’ve searched for a face within the crevices of the Moon? If so, you’ve taken part, in some way, in the image recognition process of illlustrator Ed Fairburn.

Fairburn searches found maps for the human faces he sees in his mind’s eye. Then he takes a pencil and shades in map lines to bring those faces to life within those maps. By constraining his lines to those that already exist on the map, Fairburn makes us wonder if maps exist to portray people’s faces and not to demonstrate the lay of the land. By overlaying these expressive, emotional portraits onto maps, Fairburn humanizes physical world locations.

After looking through these portraits, you’ll never see maps the same way again.

Map Portrait South Whales

South Wales
Map Portrait Pennsylvania

Map Portrait North America

North America
Map Portrait the Western Front with cutouts and overlay

The Western Front during WWI. Cutouts are filled by climate charts of North America
Map Portrait Germany

Map Portrait Colorado

Map Portrait Cambridge

Map portrait Lake Windermere, England

Lake Windermere, England
For more of Fairburn’s portraits and to order prints, visit his website.
[H/T Booooooom]

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