Recent architecture

Photography of buildings and ideas for projects

In the past year or so I've become more interested in photographing urban landscapes and architecture. Partly I suspect this is because I now live in a bigger city, so I'm surrounded by more urban areas. Aside from that, I enjoy photographing buildings. The way they reflect light in varying angles and intensities; the texture and luminosity of their different surfaces; the combination of different geometric shapes and forms. I'm also interested in buildings (both inside and outside) for everything they can reveal about our society and social history. My 2017 project and photo book, The Limes, explored a similar theme.

The four photographs above were made in Edinburgh, but these buildings are not very typical of a lot of Edinburgh architecture. With the second image - two imposing buildings facing one another - I thought about Barbara Hepworth's sculptures and her interest in 'opposing forms' (something I saw a lot of in my day job as a Gallery Attendant during 2022's Hepworth exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art). The light was good that day.

Last year I had an idea for a mini-series, print series or artist's book (yet to be decided) featuring photographs of 'ghost signs'. I've been keeping an eye out for them ever since, and making notes when I see them. I recently went back to photograph these two, both in central Edinburgh.

Another place that caught my eye recently was this old bingo hall entrance in central Edinburgh. Apparently, it was a bingo hall since the 1980s; before that, it was a cinema, and before that, it was a theatre. It would be fascinating to see inside. I might make a Toyobo print of this one day.

I still enjoy photographing the more traditional buildings sometimes. I remember when I first moved to Edinburgh, looking around in awe of the amazing buildings everywhere. It's a very impressive and beautiful city. I still remember that, after four years of living here.

Finally, I'm thinking about the next Toyobo prints I might make. The first was a photograph of a new development, a big carcass of a building covered in scaffolding. I thought it might be nice to continue this theme with a print series of buildings under construction. So, I'm also looking out for sites under development, the bigger the better. I photographed this one today. I'm interested in the shapes and lines, contrast, texture and light (ideal for Toyobo printing). Construction sites are not usually depicted or mentioned for their beauty, but I think they can be.

Perhaps it's also a comment on humanity's relentless need for expansion, which is ultimately unsustainable. Or it could be about the difficulty of maintaining our way of life and keeping up with the pace of progress. It will be a while before I have a full series of prints made, but hopefully, it will take shape over this year.

After feeling fairly stuck for ideas for a while, it seems I've got a few ideas bubbling away at the moment. During my studies, I would often come up with ideas which were far too broad and large-scale to be realistically achievable. Perhaps my local history project (working title(s) Another Edinburgh or Beyond the Royal Mile) is one of those, which may explain why I'm finding it difficult to resolve. I think there's a lot to be said for keeping it simple, sometimes.

Write a comment