Infra-structure and Architecture

I don’t usually enter public challenges or competitions but during August Grays of Westminster held an “Architecture” photography challenge, and I entered! I don’t have, nor ever have had, any interest in the Architecture genre of photography but since August was proving to be a month of contemplation and refocus, I felt sufficiently curious. Truth be told, I’d wanted to participate for a few months with the Grays of Westminster photography challenges but hadn’t been able to, with the stresses of the workplace being what they’d been. Now freed, and rediscovering my love for my infrared camera, I decided I wanted to give it a try.

Architecture photography is hugely challenging for me, because of my burning desire to create art with my camera. The problem is that I perceive architecture itself as an artform. I’m no more inclined to photograph a building to present the photograph as art as I am to photograph, say, the Mona Lisa or a Henry Moore sculpture, and present that photograph as art. It’s someone else’s art, not mine.  My photograph is at best a facsimile and likely a poor one at that, being absent the texture or the dimensional form of the art I’m photographing.

I wouldn’t want to suggest for an instant that I don’t appreciate or recognise the immense value of architectural photography. I really do. Most especially as someone who, perhaps a bit late to the party, has begun to more fully appreciate the value of historical images. It’s incredibly important to me that these photographs exist and that the history therein is retained for future generations. But this is all about the craft[*] of documentary photography and, at least for me, barely speaks through art.

So to address the conflict in me, creating derivative images of others’ artwork, I resolved to finding and photographing unintentional elements or aspects of interest in buildings. Rather than seeking out and photographing buildings that were designed as statements, I looked for utilitarian buildings and infrastructure. I chose a bank holiday monday in the hope that the roads and pathways would be quieter.

I submitted three images to the photography challenge, which I took with my infrared-converted Nikon D3000 with AF-S 18-70mm lens.

Part of me wants to write about each image and why I composed it in the way that I did, but that idea is a bit alien to me. I thought carefully about the content and composition of each of these images but I have to trust what I’m saying in them comes across in the images themselves.