Abstract of final thesis

Abstract

Many critics have highlighted the gulf between the experience of architecture and its representations via photography, suggesting a more humanistic and temporal portrayal. My research questions whether, in pursuing alternatives to conventional, commercial architectural photography, a more dynamic view can be revealed, one that is closer to the experience of encountering the built environment: episodic, transient and in flux.

I believe temporality and motion are indicative of the life of a building: both habitually omitted from traditional commercial representations. Practical and conceptual challenges directed me to techniques depicting ‘still’ and ‘moving’, that intersect with several of photography’s discourses: the evidential value of images constructed over time, the perception of movement in still photography and negotiations between description and creativity.

My methodology is an empirical investigation drawing on principles of the scientific analysis of motion (chronophotography): interpretive, yet with evidential rigour. This allies to Henri Bergson’s concept of duration, Futurism, Cubism and cinematic animation, whence I take the portrayal of motion and multi-point perspectives in still images.

By identifying examples from painting and illustration, my temporal approach builds up images over time, utilising observation, interpretation, editing and presentation. My subject matter is limited to what is found and what appears during each session; from this bricolage of serendipitous events selections are made throughout the practice’s reiterative process. I argue the case for appropriating the artist’s licence to interpret, producing an abbreviation of a longer period while remaining informative. I challenge Kracauer’s contention that the true ability to depict the city is exclusive to cinema, by using a static medium to represent ever-changing landscapes populated by transient characters in ephemeral scenes.

My practice bridges the gap between architectural photography and the ‘photography of architecture’. I identify two anomalies that inform the practice: firstly the difference between mainstream architectural photography during the inter-war period and concurrent, vibrant, animated representations of the city in film and painting. Secondly, my case studies illustrate differences between architectural photography and visual representations in other media (CAD-generated images, architectural models and sketches); the animated nature of the latter negating the notion of commercially-driven work being necessarily objectified, pristine and sterile.

 

PhD completed

Finally completed viva, corrections and conferment. Graduation was on Tuesday, which I was very pleased to share with both my family, and with (a few of the) friends who have been on a similar journey since we first met way back in September 2012

lizmejan sm.jpg

Introduction to The Flow of Life

My research is titled:

The flow of life: Photographing architecture as populated spaces.

This is the Blog of my practice led research that is located somewhere on the (indistinct) boundary between still and moving images.

There is a brief biog on the ‘about’ page if you are desperate to know about my background

I am a 2nd Year PhD student at MIRIAD (www.miriad.mmu.ac.uk/), Manchester Metropolitan University

AIM

To produce an alternative to conventional architectural photography: one that will show presence and movement within the built environment, over a period of time. It is intended that the resultant images will be of value for research within the architectural design process.

I anticipate that my research will investigate questions relating to:

  • The depiction of temporality in still photography.
  • The nature of ‘stills’ photography, i.e. the perception of movement in still images.
  • The reasons why architectural photography has altered little in the last eighty years.
  • The evidential value of images constructed over time and the viewer’s perception of their validity.
  • The assumption that record photography (e.g. within the fields of architecture, museums and archaeology) is produced without interpretation or creativity, with minimal input from the photographer.

I am interested in networking with other researchers who address similar debates, and/or those whose artistic practice aims to inform the design process of the built environment.

Derek(at)insightimages.co.uk

00 (44)  1 6 1 3 7 4 5 0 7 2

Orcid ID 0000-0001-6763-361X

Twitter: DerekTrillo

(https://twitter.com/DerekTrillo)

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