Architecture routinely becomes the setting to our lived experience, it sits there quietly at our disposal in the background of our busy lives. Whether we are aware of it or not, architecture is a form of communication that we constantly interact with and react to. Volume, scale and proportion create a 3-dimensional geometric language that we inhabit everyday, essentially becoming the underlying interface with which we relate to the world. Not only does architecture facilitate our lived experience by creating a sense of structure in our lives, it also is a form of self-expression and contemporary artistry.
London-based photographer, Rory Gardiner, masterfully captures the significant role that architecture plays in our lives. Shooting exclusively on film, Gardiner’s work captures a range of architectural buildings and structures from monumental public and private museums to private domestic interiors and religious sites. He has photographed the most captivating examples of modern and contemporary architecture by the world’s most renowned architects, Mies Van der Roe, Zaha Hadid, and Sir David Chipperfield, to name a few.
Using two medium camera formats – a Mamiya RZ67 and an Arca Swiss – Gardiner shoots exclusively on film. Unlike digital, he is not able to preview the work and must take his time in selecting the image, to become present in the moment and carefully consider the context, scale and lighting. By shooting on film, Gardiner is able to manipulate the light to create a unique texture that veils his work with subdued and sombre tones, and like a mist, the light is diffused so that the shadows are just subtle suggestions and depth isn’t immediately clear. At times, his images look like 2-dimensional shapes.
In Gardiner’s pictures, the architecture takes up the entire picture frame and the compositions are harmonious and balanced – the architecture is calm and silent as if just waking up in the early morning. Although the buildings in Gardiner’s photography often dwarf the humans figures, there is nothing menacing about the monumentality of the structures that he captures, rather, they stand as loyal sentinels to human activity. The architectural voids, or empty space, featured in Gardiner’s work can be seen as the tension between the presence of the architecture and the absence of the human figure.