“A job the artist does... is to dismantle existing communication codes and to recombine some of their elements into structures, which can be used to generate new pictures of the world.” Victor Burgin

I’m an architectural photographer primarily interested in connections between anthropology, philosophy, and environmental psychology: how buildings and landscapes condition social attitudes, and how social attitudes condition our responses to buildings and landscapes.

Before establishing myself as a photographer, I spent just under a decade pursuing academic interests in philosophy, architecture, and law, specialising in the philosophy of architectural aesthetics.

Some of the tensions I seek to engage with as a photographer can be found in the following quotations:

“The object of architectural photography is to make a building understandable to someone who has not been to visit it.” Jeff Wall*

“Within the strict definition of the term, architectural photography is product photography, and is actually not that interesting….” Gerry Badgerº

“Most of [architectural photography] tends to fetishise the structure and texture of a building rather than illustrate its purpose, focusing on the architect’s resolution of shape and volume rather than the trickier task of resolving the dynamics of a space with its occupancy.” Simon Bainbridge†

“I used to take hold of [a particular door handle] when I went to my aunt’s garden. That door handle still seems to me like a special sign of entry into a world of different moods and smells. I remember the sound of the gravel under my feet, the soft gleam of the waxed oak staircase, I can hear the heavy front door closing behind me as I walk along the dark corridor and enter the kitchen, the only really brightly lit room in the house.
Looking back, it seems as if this was the only room in the house in which the ceiling did not disappear into twilight; the small hexagonal tiles of the floor, dark red and fitted so tightly together that the cracks between them were almost imperceptible.

Memories like these contain the deepest architectural experience that I know. They are the reservoirs of the architectural atmospheres and images that I explore in my work as an architect.” Peter Zumthor^

* Herzog & de Meuron: Natural History (Canadian Centre for Architecture & Lars Müller Publishers, 2002/2005) p.66

º British Journal of Photography Volume 161, Issue 7828, September 2014 p.37

British Journal of Photography Volume 161, Issue 7828, September 2014 p.4

^ Thinking Architecture 2nd Edition (Birkhäuser, 2006) pp.7-8

“When you finish anything, people want you to then talk about it. And I think it’s almost like a crime. A film or a painting—each thing is its own sort of language and it’s not right to try to say the same thing in words. The words are not there. The language of film, cinema, is the language it was put into, and the English language—it’s not going to translate. It’s going to lose.”

David Lynch

There’s a related view commonly expressed which says that a photograph should ‘speak for itself’, by which proponents mean that it should move them in some significant way and that it should be (perhaps readily) interpretable by the viewer without any help by way of commentary from the photographer. Much (if not most) contemporary/modern art seems to me to require explanation before any sensible attempt at interpretation can begin. Presumably, artists spend considerable time refining their thoughts about what their work is about. Insofar as art is not simply formalist (analogous to the way that instrumental music is) it seems unreasonable to me that audiences can be expected to attempt interpretation/judgement before engaging with an account of the artist’s intentions—ie. what the art is about. It is then open to audiences to constrain their interpretation to those intentions, or let their thoughts range more widely, even critically.  

Philosophy is partly an elucidation of what we mean when we use particular words (and what logical implications follow), and partly a discussion about or argument for the kinds of things we should value or think important. There’s an instinct (if not a fundamental requirement) in ‘analytical’ philosophy to be clear, to make all assumptions on which an argument rests transparent; and to reach a well-defined conclusion. There’s an instinct among artists such as David Lynch (shared with some ‘continental’ philosophers) to identify moments of logical or moral difficulty, to problematise (to ‘raise questions about…’), or to present an interpretive challenge. Perhaps the latter is inevitable—at least in all compelling art. I hope that my work successfully involves both a degree of elucidation, of attempting to identify a problem (usually of how we value things aesthetically), and of ‘reasoning’ a way to a conclusion.

My projects tend to begin with an ‘image’—in the sense of a view of a building or landscape—which prompts me first to analyse why it interests me, and then to consider whether there is a theme that could connect it to other images. Once a project is underway, I will consciously look for ‘images’ that would further expand on that theme. Scouting and editing form important parts of refining my thoughts, as does reading books on architectural history, and culture more generally. (It’s perhaps worth flagging that sometimes logistical constraints and/or geography impede access to a preferred location or to gaining an ideal vantage point. A ‘complete’ project therefore may contain images that may not appear as compelling as others, but which are nonetheless necessary to indicate the scope of the project’s central idea.) More recently, memories of significant experiences in my life appeal to me as a basis for constructing images.

2021 — Banal Mag

2019 — Office for Political Innovation, Whitechapel Gallery, London

2018 — Axel Arigato pop-up store, London

2017 — CP Company SS17 Magazine

2014 — Prada Brutalista wallpaper

2014 — Margaret Howell Favourite Buildings Calendar

Enquiries regarding prints and commercial commissions/licensing are always welcome:

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