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  • 04.30.12

The Amazing Infrastructure That Powers IBM, Microsoft, And GE

Christian Stoll captures some of the world’s largest corporations in wide-angle splendor.

As anyone who’s ever owned a copy of The Way Things Work knows, humans are fascinated by images that describe the inner workings of seemingly mundane technologies. Though we may not often question how that Downton Abbey DVD made its way to us, or where that jet engine humming outside the plane window was built, the answers are fascinating and, often, quite beautiful.

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Düsseldorf-based photographer Christian Stoll has made a name for himself photographing the hidden infrastructures that power the world’s largest companies. Stoll has worked in the ad world for two decades, compiling a client list of hundreds of mega-brands and capturing a number of images that he describes as “epic.” He’s culled the most remarkable into a series by the same name, which shows us the logistical empires of IBM, DB Schenker, GE, and Microsoft.

Epic describes networks that power the daily lives of millions, but that few humans ever actually see: a honeycomb wall of thousands of shelves where Microsoft’s shipping orders are stacked, the dizzyingly high ceiling of a package-sorting facility at Germany’s leading logistics firm, and the sterile white of a GE assembly line floor. These are companies whose liquid assets and employee rosters often compete with those of whole countries (for example, IBM employs about a quarter of the number of people working for the entire U.S. government).

Stoll’s images capture vast and mind-meltingly valuable landscapes that are hidden in plain sight, housed in unassuming warehouses and suburban data centers all over the world. Check out his website to see more of his work.

About the author

Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan is Co.Design's deputy editor.

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