All posts filed under: Architecture

George Byrne uses Los Angeles to study loneliness

“Photography is a funny game,” says LA-based photographer George Byrne. “It’s a lonely sport – you’re on your own, on an obscure mission to capture something and you don’t often know what you’re looking for but you know when you see it.” Byrne moved from Sydney to Melbourne, then experienced New York for one year before settling in Los Angeles – without much money or knowledge of the city – in 2011. The alien quality of his photographs stems from this personal distance from LA. “A lot of the time I’m shooting in LA I feel like I’m at war,” he says. “It’s like a desert. I’m a very white person and I get burned. I get so much satisfaction out of making pictures that beautify this bizarre landscape because it’s quite difficult to do it. People will keep their window up and the pedal pressed.” Byrne documents the LA streetscape, driving and shooting in sweltering temperatures in search of shadows and symmetry. He frames a pastel narrative of the sun-blasted walls lining the roads. Few …

2015-08-28T13:35:02+00:00

Norma Aubertrine-Potter, The Codrington Library, All Souls College

The custodians watching over Oxford’s hallowed institutions

Writing about Oxford, the travel writer Jan Morris observed, “it forms a national paradigm — in whose structure sometimes shadowy, sometimes splendidly sunlit, we may explore the history, the character and the condition of the English”. When Joanna Vestey moved to the city, she was intrigued by the way its inhabitants interact with its history, and she’s explored this nexus in her upcoming book Custodians. Lush, wide-angle shots frame the interior of locations such as The Radcliffe Observatory, The Codrington Library and the Trinity College Dining Hall, inhabited by a solitary figure somehow connected to the building. Vestey was interested in “how institutions shape us, and we them”, she writes in the afterword. She explains to me that she “wanted to find a middle ground that preferenced the space and the individual equally and leant towards something more painterly than photographic”. Russell Roberts describes Custodians as “a journey through the tourist imagination of Englishness” in his essay for the book, but Vestey says that she doesn’t intend this to be deferential. “[Roberts] also includes [an excerpt] by Allan Bennett …

2015-08-20T16:24:20+00:00

A man floats in the 57th-floor swimming pool of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, with the skyline of “Central,” the Singapore financial district, behind him.

Arles 2015: What do the world’s tax havens look like?

The global financial crisis has led to unprecedented scrutiny of financial institutions and the individuals and companies that use them. Tax avoidance – the legal exploitation of loopholes a tax system to minimise an individual or company’s tax liability – has been a particularly contentious issue, with a growing number of voices arguing that while such behaviour might be legally permissible, it is morally indefensible. This issue provides the inspiration for Gabriele Galimberti and Paolo Wood’s The Heavens, Annual Report, which is currently on display at the Les Rencontres d’Arles Festival in the south of France. Woods explains that the idea for the project emerged during a period of time he spent living in Haiti, one of poorest parts of the Americas. During a visit from Galimberti, the two photographers became conscious of the stark contrast between Haiti and the Cayman islands, which lay only an hour away from Haiti but which was by contrast incredibly wealthy due to its tax haven status. Travelling from the Cayman Islands to the City of London, from Panama …

2015-08-05T16:19:39+00:00

Mother of the Fatherland. Kiev, Ukraine, 62 m (203 ft). Built in 1981

Capturing the spirit of the world’s most iconic statues

You won’t see the Statue of Liberty or Rio de Janeiro’s imposing Christ the Redeemer in Fabrice Fouillet’s Colosses. Nor will you see the Moai heads of Easter Island. What you will find is an array of less familiar outsize statues, equally – if not more – impressive than their famous counterparts. The Paris-based photographer travelled the world for more than a year to make the series, but it all started when he stumbled across Japan’s Dai Kannon statue online. Built in 1991 and measuring 100m high, it depicts the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy and is literally named “Tall Kannon”. Fouillet was transfixed, and soon found other examples in the country – in particular, Amitabha Buddha in Ushiku, Jibbo Kannon in Kagaonsen, and Grand Byakue in Takazaki. “These statues really surprised and impressed me,” explains the 40-year-old, who contributes to publications including Wallpaper, Le Monde and The New York Times. “I became interested in their dimensions from a photographic point of view. “I set out to find others to be sure this would constitute a …

2015-08-06T12:09:54+00:00

Edmund Clark photographed Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Base, home to more than 40,000 people

Our impression of war is shaped by images of soldiers on patrol or in combat. Actually, points out photographer Edmund Clark, the vast majority of the 40,000 people who were stationed at Bagram Airfield – America’s largest enclave in Afghanistan – never left it. Protected, but also confined, by perimeter walls that are secured by daily patrols, they lived in mess halls, meeting rooms, sleeping quarters, a supermarket and a gym. Their experience of Afghanistan is restricted to the landscape they can see over the walls, images of the country on murals in the meeting rooms and paintings in the dining facility, a weekly bazaar and 7000 security-screened local workers who provide cooking and cleaning services. Some of the personnel may also meet locals in the Parwan Detention Facility, the on-site jail whose treatment of prisoners has attracted Amnesty International’s attention. Insurgents based in the mountains also sporadically take pot-shots at the camp, launching rudimentary missiles that may or may not go off. Clark has previously shot the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and a British control …

2015-07-07T16:58:35+00:00

The New Medium: exhibiting the first photographs ever taken in India

It is a cool midsummer’s evening in Mayfair’s Cork Street – the nucleus of London’s contemporary art world. Number 33 is the professional home of Prahlad Bubbar – collector of Indian and Islamic art – and the location of his new exhibition, The New Medium: Photography in India 1855-1930. The New Medium is a neat survey of the birth and rise of photography as a major art form in the subcontinent. Twenty-five photographs are ordered chronologically around the bright, airy rooms of the gallery, each one chosen to reflect a distinct decisive moment in Indian photographic history. Driven by Bubbar’s background in art history, his recognition of context binds the project together as the beginnings of a technological and artistic revolution in the context of one distinct and, in itself, rapidly evolving culture. In the middle of the 19th century, photography took over from painting as the new mode of representing the world – hence the name, The New Medium. The exhibition frames an era in which the diverse customs of India – the temples, animals and people – could all …

2015-06-19T10:09:02+00:00

U.A.E. Dubai. The view from Jumeirah Beach Residence in the Marina. 2013

Olivia Arthur photographs Dubai’s obsession with wealth

Stranger, the latest photobook from Magnum photographer Olivia Arthur, is a journey through contemporary Dubai – a city which, since 1960, has expanded from a population of 90,0000 to over 2 million, metamorphosing from a modest fishing settlement into a land of promised riches, the ultimate playground of excess. Moving through the images in Stranger, we are presented with golden beaches, men clad in white flowing robes, sunlight illuminating towering skyscrapers, and many, many flash cars. “In Dubai, everybody, from all backgrounds and walks of life, come to make money,” says Arthur. In Stranger, the consumerism and extreme wealth synonymous with the ‘City of Gold’ is palpable. But photographing Dubai in a straight documentary mode didn’t interest Arthur. “I wanted to avoid looking at Dubai through my western eyes,” she says. “I wanted to force myself to see things afresh.”

2015-06-25T16:27:13+00:00

Victorian photographs of the abandoned Dreamland amusement park in Margate, Kent

At its peak in the 1960s, Dreamland Margate thronged with visitors. Millions of them, young and old, families and couples, piled into the seaside amusement park to laugh, flirt, ride the famous Scenic Railway rollercoaster, try their luck at the coconut shy, and wolf down candy floss and jellied eels. But over the decades that followed Dreamland waned in popularity, changing its name, losing its lustre and eventually shutting in 2003. Now, thanks to a local campaign and a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the park is about to throw open its doors again to the public, reimagined by Hemingway Design as a hip, vintage attraction. In the years between closure and redevelopment, Dreamland was left to rot. From 2013, photographer Rob Ball captured this Dreamland, mainly using the Victorian tintype wet collodion process. Tatty, forlorn but still oddly majestic, the empty park takes on a haunting air in his photographs. The tintypes will go on show at The Photographers’ Gallery. They also feature in a book, published by Dewi Lewis, along with contemporary …

2015-06-15T15:55:52+00:00

FUTURO

Unfathomable: Geert Goiris’ futuristic objects in abandoned landscapes

To create his expansive, understated work, Belgian photographer Geert Goiris journeys to far-flung locations – polar regions, deserts, mountain valleys. There, with a large format camera fixed to a tripod, he brings into stark focus desolate landscapes littered with modernist ruins and futuristic objects. The shots themselves are mundane yet spectacular, familiar yet unfamiliar, as if we’ve entered a not-too-distant future in which people have abandoned their homes because of some natural calamity. Exploring these isolated locations is at the heart of what Goiris does. “I’m very much drawn to open spaces and sites that are hard to live in or colonize or hard for people to domesticate,” he says. “I think these places, first of all, give us a strange mix of calmness and relaxation with anxiety and fear; they also show what existence is without human beings, when there is no infrastructure… it’s very much this detached, alien point of view as well.

2015-06-17T14:02:37+00:00

A photographer documented the building of London’s 100km Crossrail Project

As Londoners go about their daily business above ground, unbeknownst to many of them, construction workers below are busy excavating, navigating and building a network of tunnels for the much-anticipated Crossrail. “You pop out of a hole in the middle of Oxford Street and no one knows where you’ve come from,” marvels John Zammit, one of the photographers charged with documenting its progress. “It’s a completely different world down there.” Transport for London subsidiary Crossrail has spent £14.8bn building that world, which will add a capacity of 10 percent to London’s railway network when it opens in 2018, and will be the most extensive addition to the city’s public transport system since World War II. Spanning east to west from Shenfield and Abbey Wood through central London and out to Heathrow and Reading, the subterranean course measures 100km, and Zammit has followed the entire route – carrying an 80lb camera bag, kitted out in safety gear from head to toe – hard hat, protective glasses, industrial boots, and toting an MSA self-rescue breathing unit and …

2015-06-17T14:02:13+00:00

BJP Staff