Three separate images showing different times and perspectives of the same (circular) building 16/06/17.
And Yet Still, it Moves.
References for conference presentation Berlin 30th October 2014
Derek Trillo MA ARPS
‘[architectural photography]…the craven image, a lifeless piece of flattering deception foisted on an unsuspecting public by an unholy alliance of architect, photographer and art editor’ (Elwall 1991 quoting Tom Picton, p 63)
Reference to Tom Gunning’s ongoing dialogue with the ‘truth claim’ of photography:
To represent “truth”, it must resemble the object it represents, which is not an inevitable characteristic of an index. (Gunning 2004)
”…photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished, there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again,” (Bourdieu 1996, p 136, paraphrasing Henri Cartier-Bresson)
‘…in order to catch another layer of reality and not to render the real idealistic.’ (Meireis 2012).
I’ve just applied to present a paper at this conference – the abstract is below:
Yet Still, it Moves: How Can Still Images Represent a Temporal World?
This paper challenges the notion that photography can best fulfil Gunning’s ‘Truth claim’ when produced by instantaneous capture. In our temporal world, experiences are not constrained to single moments in time, ‘decisive’ or otherwise. Continually evolving, multiple perceptions form experiences, modify memories and inspire imagination.
Henri Bergson’s philosophy was grounded in the idea that thinking dominated by spatial metaphors is a category error, because temporality is crucial to our understanding of lived experience.
The paper critiques conventional architectural photography, a profession in which images attempt to arrest time at a building’s completion, portraying them as pristine, lifeless shells. I contrast this with my own practice: multiple digital images, reconstituted into single frames. Intended to inform both architectural design and research, this practice builds on the lived experience of architecture, expressed as an accumulation of encounters.
I argue that, contrary to established opinion, constructed images using digital technologies present a credible alternative, albeit a mediated one. This methodology elaborates on Bergson’s understanding of temporality and Deleuze’s concepts of experiential time. Lying on the indistinct boundary between still and moving images, my practice is informed by Kracauer’s ‘flow of life’,referring to cinema’s ability, over stills, to capture the essence of life.
Update: Paper accepted
Yesterday I submitted a proposal for a paper on the mediation of Architecture by photography for the Space and Place: Exploring Critical Issues conference at Oxford University in September:
The great architectural swindle: The mediation of architecture via architectural photography.
In 1979 Tom Picton dismissed the contemporary architectural photograph as,
‘…the craven image, a lifeless piece of flattering deception foisted on an unsuspecting public by an unholy alliance of architect, photographer and art editor’ (Elwall 1991).
Thirty-five years later little has altered: buildings are routinely represented as lifeless, pristine sculptures; forms without functions; structures in isolation from neighbouring buildings and the spaces in between. Architecture is seen through photography, in a stifled form, thereby failing its audience. This paper challenges the convention that architecture should be mediated through photography as empty shells.
With my poster at MMU’s post-graduate conference ‘interdisciplinarity’. Thanks to Zofija Tupikovskaja-Omovie for the picture 🙂
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
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.
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