These Aren’t Photos: Hyper-Realistic City Paintings

It’s hard to believe, even on the second or third glance, but these images aren’t photographs: they are actually amazingly realistic paintings by artist Nathan Walsh. Almost everything about these large scale works serves to deceive our eye into thinking that they are images of real-life: the shadows, colors, bright spots of sunlight and reflections are nearly perfect in their realism. It’s an impressive feat of skill and patient dedication to the creation process.

But why make such realistic paintings when an enlarged photograph would suffice? As Walsh explains, “This space is created through drawing, which I see as fundamental in establishing a world the viewer can engage with. Drawing allows me to make human pictorial decisions instead of relying on the mechanical eye of a camera or software package. This process is open ended and changes from one painting to the next. Whilst I employ a variety of perspectival strategies, these methods are not fixed or rigid in their application.” So hidden within these exacting paintings is actually a large level of freedom and creativity in how they are represented.


The motivations behind creating such works lies in Walsh’s fascination with the city and its ever changing landscape. By painting such works he freezes this busy urban world and in doing so gives us an opportunity to observe it and experience a moment living within it. For more of his work, which we highly recommend you see in large scale, see


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