I had the pleasure of visiting the Constructing Worlds Architectural Photography exhibition this weekend and it was a real treat! Constructing Worlds brings together eighteen exceptional photographers from the 1930s to the present day who have changed the way we view architecture and perceive the world around us. It included an excellent mix of photographic history, styles, locations, and stories behind all of the works. There is a lot to talk about here so I’ll just mention a view photographers that struck me the most….
– Bernice Abbott’s Changing New York project was incredibly empowering. Photographed in the 1930s, Abbott’s clearly depicts New York city’s modern skyscrapers towering over the surrounding traditional architecture with tremendous weight and authority. Backed up by well constructed black & white compositions, Abbott creates photos that clearly illustrate the changing times of the NY cityscape.
– The abstract and artistic work of Luisa Lambri really caught my eye. Lambri appears to focus on detailed architectural spaces and how light and people interact within the form of those spaces. The word ‘curiosity’ kept running through my head whilst viewing her work. Lambri clearly analyses her subject matter very closely and captures an in-depth feeling of actually being within the spaces she has captured without ever revealing the overall form or structure of that building. So I guess not knowing the entirety of the surroundings is where my curiosities were derived from.
– One of my favourites, Helene Binet, displayed striking black & white abstract images. Binet incorporates many dominant geometric shapes and lines that give her a distinct style and dramatic feel to her photographs. There was a strong play on the way buildings structure can manipulate natural light and shadows.
– Hiroshi Suginoto’s blurry twin towers photo sent emotional unease straight through me. Suginoto captured many iconic architectural structures deliberately out of focus to help emphasize their true external form. He calls it ‘erosion-testing’ as only the dominant forms stay true whilst the rest withers away. The best way to quickly recreate the appearance of these photos is to look at a building in the far distance and squint your eyes so they’re almost closed. Using this out of focus camera technique, Suginoto’s image of the late New York twin towers displays as two fuzzy silhouettes and due to its tragic demise now portrays a somewhat ghostly presence of its former self. Eery, isn’t it?
After an inspirational hour and half of viewing the exhibition I took a stroll around the Barbican site and captured this shot looking directly up one of the apartment blocks. I highly recommend you give this exhibition a visit before its closing date on 11/01/15.