Architectural Photography and Art Exhibitions in London

December 09, 2014

I recently had a day out to visit a few exhibitions around London  including,

Designing the 20th Century: Life and Work of Abram Games

Entry £7.50

The Jewish Museum 8th September 2014 - 4th January 2015,

129 – 131 Albert Street, London, NW1 7NB

Nearest Tube: Camden, Northern Line

http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/abramgames

See Britain by Train, Abram Games Grow Your Own Food, Abram Games
See Britain by Train, Abram Games Grow Your Own Food, Abram Games

 

The exhibition was created to celebrate the centenary of Abram Games birth and features work from his time as a student, through his military career right through to his death in 1996.  Initially you may think you’re not familiar with the work of Games, but it soon becomes clear that you will have already been exposed to much of his iconic work and many of his works are already lodged in your mind at subconscious level. Once exposed to the exhibition you can see the influences of his work in many of the advertising images that surround us today. Well worth a visit.

I can also recommend the Cafe, good Latte for £2.40 and the Israeli Special (stuffed vine leaves, houmous, pitta bread and olives) at £5.80 was very good.

After Abram Games we moved on to the RIBA to see an exhibition on the work of Edwin Smith

 

Ordinary Beauty – The Photography of EDWIN SMITH

Entry Free

10th September 2014  – 6th December 2014

RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London, W1B 1AD

Nearest Tube, Great Portland Street, Circle, Hamersmith & City and Metropolitan lines

http://www.architecture.com/Explore/ExhibitionsandEvents/EdwinSmith/Explore/ExploreEdwinSmith.aspx

Winter Smoking Room, Cardiff Castle, Edwin Smith Scala Regia, Royal Palace, Caserta, Edwin Smith
Winter Smoking Room, Cardiff Castle, Edwin Smith Scala Regia, Royal Palace, Caserta, Edwin Smith

The exhibition comprises over 100 of Edwin Smiths black and white prints from the RIBA’s collection of over 60,000 of his negatives. The purpose of Architectural Photography is generally the documentation of a structure and to show how it interacts with its users and surroundings. Good photographers can add narrative to convey extra detail about the design, use, construction etc. Smith takes this to another level with the creation of work that is engaging in its own right, the subject matter is almost secondary to the framing, composition use of light, shade and dynamic range. The range of shades produced in the finished prints shows not only a mastery of photography but also of the development process. As with the work of Ansel Adams it’s clear that the finished print was clearly visualised by Smith at the time of capture. Anyone with an interest in photography can learn much from the study of Smiths’ work.

I have reproduced a couple of Smiths images here but even my high dynamic range monitor does’nt do these justice.

As an added bonus you can see some of my own work displayed in the top floor exhibition on the Sterling Prize.

The coffee and cake on offer in the ground floor cafe is fairly unremarkable.

 

Following the visit to the RIBA we move on to the barbican centre,

Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age

Entry £12

25th September 2014 – 11th January 2015

Art Gallery, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS

Nearest Tube, Barbican, Circle, Hamersmith & City and Metropolitan lines

http://www.barbican.org.uk/artgallery/event-detail.asp?ID=16264

This is large collection of work from

Berenice Abbott

Iwan Baan

Bernd and Hilla Becher

Hélène Binet

Walker Evans

Luigi Ghirri

Andreas Gursky

Lucien Hervé

Nadav Kander

Luisa Lambri

Simon Norfolk

Bas Princen

Ed Ruscha

Stephen Shore

Julius Shulman

Thomas Struth

Hiroshi Sugimoto

Guy Tillim

Unfortunately for me the exhibition was focused on the documentation of vernacular architecture or the use of architecture within a socio economic context. I was soon approaching the images with the eyes of a tourist making mental note to remove destinations from my bucket list rather than studying technique, composition, use of scale etc.

The Constructing Worlds exhibition while very thought provoking uses photography as a vehicle rather than an art form in its own right the work of Edwin Smith conveying the work of the Architectural photographer in a much purer form. That said it is still well worth the visit to see such a large body or work exploring Architectural Photography from the 1930's to the present day.  

 


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