From Berenice Abbott to Nadav Kander, the Barbican’s architecture photography exhibition is an alternative history of modern man

5735511

By Gillian Orr  
September 14, 2014, The Independent

Architectural photography not only documents our built worlds, but the very best will reveal something more about the societies in which they are taken.

When Nicéphore Niépce took what is thought to be the first ever photograph in 1826 or 1827, the long exposure time meant the Frenchman needed a static subject that wouldn’t blow in the wind or get the giggles. So he took a picture of a building.

Since then, there has been a long tradition of architectural photography. Not only can the medium document our built worlds, but the very best will reveal something more about the societies in which they are taken, as well as what those societies are becoming.

It is, however, one of the more obscure genres. While others, such as wildlife, portrait, war and fashion are the subject of numerous shows, architectural photography remains a somewhat niche subject. Later this month, the Barbican Art Gallery at London’s Barbican Centre will host Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age, the first exhibition of its kind in the UK.

Alona Pardo, who curated the exhibition along with Elias Redstone, agrees that the genre is not widely discussed, which has led to misinterpretation in the past.

“It’s seen as something that is practical and functional, with a specific purpose to reflect the architect and their intention, and it’s rarely looked at within a fine art practice in terms of the photograph being a metaphor for our social history, which is the tack we’re taking,” she says. Read more…

Comments are closed.