To the people of Provence, the Mistral is a local menace. It regularly ruins weddings, steals hats and scarves with ease and, at its worst, this epic wind has the strength to sweep up metal chairs and smash them into neighbouring windows. Even so, says Rachel Cobb, “I think maybe they actually like it”. “What I feel is that it’s a source of pride among the Provincials, a way of defining the region,” she adds. “They can withstand it, and they’ve learned to live with it.”
Cobb’s new book, Mistral: The Legendary Wind of Provence, is a record of the 20 years she spent hunting the wind. She has holidayed in the south of France for 40 summers now and, though she has been victim to the perils of the strong gales, she’s also found it inspirational – as have many other artists and writers. “I’m energised by it,” she says. “At night, when you hear it stir, you can feel the energy in the air.”
Born in Australia and now based in Melbourne, Tom Blachford first visited Palm Springs back in 2013. Struck by its pristine Modernist architecture he was keen to take photographs, but wary of repeating the many sunny images of California. Deciding to try working at night instead, he happened to venture out during a full moon, and stumbled on a new project.
He’s now been adding images to his Midnight Modern project for five years, capturing still-futuristic buildings with long exposures in the silvery, pleasingly alien light of the moon. Midnight Modern IV is his final addition to the series and sees him shooting outside Palm Springs for the first time, and also stretching the Mid-Century time-frame to include contemporary architecture such as the 2014 Black Desert House by Oller & Pejic.
“Photography is just a medium. It’s like a typewriter,” said Ezra Stoller in an interview in 1991. “Photography as an art doesn’t interest me an awful lot.” Even so, he raised architectural photography to an art form, capturing the smooth lines of American modernism in its heyday, as well as lesser known industrial images.
Born in Chicago in 1915, Stoller grew up in New York and studied architecture at NYU, getting into photography while still a student. Launching his career in the late 1930s, he worked with Paul Strand in the Office of Emergency Management from 1940-41 and, post-war, was perfectly poised to take advantage of the American economic boom. Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Louis Kahn, Le Corbusier, Eero Saarinen and Marcel Breuer – he shot work by them all, including iconic buildings such as The Guggenheim Museum, Kennedy International Airport, and the Fallingwater house.
In astronomy, an ‘event horizon’ refers to the boundary that marks the limits of a black hole, where nothing, not even light, sound or radiation, can escape.
“This work is a personal attempt to construct a cosmology through photographic means,” says Quentin Lacombe, describing the alternate universe he has created in his new book, Event Horizon.
Bristol’s Centrespace gallery will host a solo exhibition by London-based photographer, curator Lola Paprocka, whose publication Blokovi was awarded first prize for Unveil’d Photobook Award 2016. Shot mainly on medium format, the project is a photographic series exploring the New Belgrade apartment blocks and their residents during 2015. “The conversation started with my friend, Mima Bulj, who wanted me to capture her hometown from the perspective of an ‘outsider,’” Paprocka tells BJP. “Mima was born in Belgrade and lived there till she was eight years old, before moving to New Zealand with her family. I was born in Poland before moving to the UK in my late teens, so we have always shared a feeling of being stuck somewhere between the Eastern and Western worlds.” “The book combines both portraiture and images of Brutalist estates – both are real interests of mine,” says Pabrocka. “I was keen to include some social documentation in there too, to capture spontaneous interactions with strangers on the streets. But, these social interactions would always come secondary; the Brutalist architecture would inform the …
Markel Redondo first photographed Spain’s abundance of abandoned housing developments in 2010. Now, eight years later, he has retraced his footsteps
“It may seem like a provocation, but I am not particularly interested in architecture – at least not in that of great architects and cult buildings,” says Eric Tabuchi. “I’m interested in what humans build, whether for shelter, work, recreation or worship. Basically, what has captivated me for 20 years is the vast domain of anonymous architecture, which is the daily environment of most of the inhabitants of this planet, and which we do not look at it so much. It appears to us without any real quality.”
This year’s 30 nominees are a celebration of some of the best contemporary photography. But whose work deserves to win?
For some, it is an iconic example of 1970s Brutalist architecture; for others, a big, ugly eyesore. “Whatever they think, there’s a huge sense of community here,” says photographer Kois Miah of Robin Hood Gardens, a housing estate comprised of two blocks containing 213 flats, soon to be demolished and replaced by a new build. In light of this, and because of the sheer volume of tenants that will have to be relocated – some against their will from the only home they have every known – local Miah and his friend and partner Nick Thoburn, together with the support of the campaign group SPLASH (South Poplar & Limehouse Action for Secure Housing) visited the affected families, and immortalised some of their last moments in the apartments in intimate portraits. “There has been a lot of talk about the Brutalist architecture, but I thought it might be quite interesting to get the residents’ perspective on living on that estate,” says Miah. “The thing about this project is that it’s really intimate – people invite you into their …
As Italy emerged from World War II in the 1960s and 70s, the country found itself in need of reinvention. With the shadow of Mussolini and fascism looming large, the country set out to rebuild itself economically, culturally and socially. Out of this period of great transformation and uncertainty came the avant-garde designs by architects from the Radical design movement. These architects, constrained by what they saw as the limits of post-war modern design, wanted to redefine the role of architecture in society. Inspired by the opportunity for experimentation, many viewed discotheques as an ideal vehicle for their creative drives. Innovative architects like Gruppo 9999, Superstudio and UFO designed a number of nightlife spaces that opened across the country. Radical Disco: Architecture and Nightlife in Italy, 1965 – 1975, is currently on show at the ICA until the 10th January and displays photographs from this fruitful, if brief period in Italian culture. As Sumitra Upham, co-curator alongside Catherine Rossi, tells BJP, the architects saw discos as an ideal avenue for the new ideas they wanted …