Fitzrovia Gallery in London is exhibiting the works of Simon Kennedy, a London-based photographer and architect. The Gallery is displaying two series, Wolfson- a monochrome set of photographs documenting a vacated laboratory building and Turbulence- a colored set that shows the sunsets of Mediterranean sea. The exhibition is aptly named ‘Constructed Images’ as Kennedy has used multiple photographs and elements to showcase the generic character of his subjects.
Kennedy has used a large format view camera and 4×5″ film to capture the essence of spaces and betting them with the laws of nature. The work seems influenced by concepts like Surrealism and Analytical Cubism. According to Dr. Andrew Haggott, editor of Camera Constructs,
“These constructed images are very much redolent of the analytical Cubism that influenced them, but also at a smaller scale echo the construction of architectural images by other contemporary artist-photographers such as Andreas Gursky or Beate Guetschow. These uninhabited spaces are re-made into new intriguing configurations, shaped by the utopian impulse of modernism. They present an intriguing play with time and circumstance to build an alternate photographic language of architecture.”
Among the two series, Wolfson is a photographic documentation of a vacated Biogenetic Laboratory in University College London. Kennedy has captured different scenes at best lighting and used positives as well as negatives while eradicating wasted elements and amplifying the quality aspects of the building like open drawers, fallen objects, stairways and window frames. After developing the negatives, he digitally scanned and layered them thus creating new and complex spatial features that present a completely new facet of these elements. All the images are accompanied by their ‘negatives’ that show the missing elements thus allowing one to understand implications of each omission.
According to Kennedy,
“I was struck by the intriguing way in which space came together within the building, combining the planes and lines of a quotidian……… At first glance, the results seem to be consistent, tangible and cohesive, but are actually fractured, scale-less, timeless and impossible.”
On the other hand Turbulence is all about the sensitive relationship between organic landscape and geometrical shapes. The series consists of colored photographs showing calm waves and horizon. Although at first glance, images looks quite ordinary but that changes when one is forced to collectively look at them as a single entity. The masterful use of exposure time and brightness gives a mysterious perspective thus creating a visual disconnect in a single scene.
Overall, Kennedy has subtly tried to cement photography as a subject in its own right just like Art and Architecture. He has not just documented and reproduced an existing building, rather he has redesigned it in his own molds by providing a completely new spatial structure while playing with simplistic features like backdrops, shapes, lines, contours and textures. In simple words, he did not do photography of architecture, he tried architecture through photography.
By: Vaibhav Sharma