The Shard is a building of immense scale and commercial ambition. Architectural photography usually celebrates such aspiration with images of pristine completion. By contrast, what I found most interesting about the Shard, was the progress of its construction.
The photographs here are a selection from a project documenting the intrusion of the Shard into the London skyline. The priapic thrust of its concrete core became most pronounced above the surrounding buildings in the autumn of 2010. Its once domineering neighbour, Guy's Hospital tower, rendered subservient—now a cute, pet-like Brutalist accessory. Steelwork, encroaching from below, appeared at once skeletal and web-like, rapidly enmeshing the trapped core. This totem of exorbitance intrigued me with its inadvertent, untimely imagery of decay; tower crane vultures picking at the gestating carcass.
As time passed, the paradoxical impression of entropy in construction has been gradually replaced with the immaculate blade of glass, gleaming (especially from a distance) in the twilight.
I've attempted to convey a sense of ambivalence in the series considered as a whole. There's an inevitable sense of menace in structures which dwarf humans to such an extent. The shroud of mist, or uplit cloud emphasise the distance between the ever-narrowing upper levels and the population confined to the ground. As a symbol of capitalism's tendency toward income disparity, it's fairly apposite. The gleam when seen from a distance either side of sunrise or sunset—at the time, unique to the Shard among tall buildings in central London—seduces.
The series consists of 32 photographs made on 5x4 sheet film in the period 2010–2013.
Limited edition C-type colour prints and fibre based black & white silver gelatin prints are available from my shop.
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