ABSTRACT ARCHITECTURE PHOTOGRAPHY
DECONSTRUCTING MANCHESTER'S ARCHITECTURE
THROUGH LIGHT AND FORM
Wandering around Manchester with my camera never fails to ignite a creative spark. But instead of capturing its iconic red brick facades in their entirety, my current personal photography project delves into abstract architecture photography. It's an exploration where familiar structures are obscured, revealing a world of hidden patterns and textures, and the captivating interplay of light and shadow.
These aren't conventional building portraits. This is about dissecting and reimagining the urban landscape, one frame at a time. For me, abstract architecture photography is an artistic pursuit that transcends documentation, instead viewing the built environment as form, light, and shadow.
Working in this way allows a lot of time for thinking: how is photography related to architecture? "Architecture and photography are deeply dependent on one another" says Stewart Hicks in ArchDaily, and he goes on to discuss how photographs are not always truthful depictions "so photographers have a lot of agency when it comes to how we experience architecture." I'm specifically interested in this conversation with this project.
The connection is much deeper than capturing a beautiful building. Photography can act as a powerful tool for architects, allowing them to showcase their designs, document construction progress, and even inspire future creations. It can also be a critical lens for urban planners and citizens alike, sparking dialogue about the built environment and its impact on our lives. But it can also offer a new perspective on the everyday and the familiar, and draw the focus to overlooked architectural detail.
Sustainable architecture, a concept increasingly shaping Manchester's skyline, is another important aspect of this photographic work. By highlighting innovative design elements and materials in abstract compositions, I hope to further the conversations around aesthetics and environmental responsibility.
What's the best time of day to take architecture photos? While the "golden hour" (just after sunrise or before sunset) offers a cinematic take, abstract architecture photography thrives on more experimentation. Harsh midday sun can create dramatic chiaroscuro effects, while soft morning light lends a more ethereal quality. Ultimately, the "best" time depends on the specific architectural element you're focusing on and the mood you want to evoke.
Commercial building photography typically demands a clean, polished aesthetic. Abstract photography, however, embraces the unexpected. Close-ups and crops, reflections and light-play and abstract renderings of glass facades can evoke a feeling of urban dynamism. The possibilities are endless.
As I roam around Manchester, my lens seeks out intricate details often overlooked by the naked eye. The geometry in window reflections, the warmth of sunlight on weathered redbrick, the curves of a modern staircase – these seemingly mundane elements become the building blocks of my abstract compositions.
Light and shadow play a critical role in the finished photographs. Harsh midday sun casts stark contrasts, highlighting structure and form. Soft morning light bathes the scene in a gentle glow, emphasising more delicate textures. It's a constant interplay, a dialogue between form and light that sculpts the final image.
But this project isn't just about aesthetics. It's about deconstructing preconceived notions and inviting viewers to see familiar structures in a new light. It's about celebrating the hidden beauty within the urban landscape, the intricate details that whisper stories of design, history, and human ingenuity.
I'm inspired to continue exploring Manchester (and other cities) through this abstract lens and hope you'll join me on this visual journey. Abstract architecture photography isn't about replicating reality; it's about finding and capturing something new.