This exposition is part of a larger research project, which investigates institutional practices of architects, publishers and photographers working in collaboration. That project sets out ideas about, and research into, what might be loosely termed the past, present and future of architectural photography, insofar as it examines conventions and their possible meanings and effects over time.
While the first part studies the past through a careful analysis of published materials, and the third postulates possible future collaborations between academia and industry, this middle part is focused appropriately on the continuous present. The aim is to problematize default beliefs and practices, both those of the photographer and those of the architect. The first step was to enter into dialogues. The second was, of course, to take pictures. But of what sort? How might one become alert to one's own default practices and, more importantly, how might they be sidestepped? One answer has just been provided in the form of Archmospheres – architectural atmospheres - and their potential meaning. But perhaps they will not suffice, at least from the photographer’s point of view. Hence, an attempt was made to produce Atmographs – atmospheres photographed – as another means of working. The goal here was a different one: to reveal the unexpected, the unseen, the undiscovered, via photographic practices not normally employed in the production of this sort of photography. Both the photographer and architect engage in an act of discovery through surprises equally able to disgust and delight. It is a bit like going for a walk with your eyes closed. On the one hand it will teach you how to see with your feet, on the other, you may bump into a tree or fall off a cliff.
With my artist hat on, I consider this a work in progress; but upon donning the academic's cap, I see this as research ripe for sharing. Questions that arise through art work are, I believe, valid and vital, as is the process of exploration. Much is written about artistic research from a theoretical distance. What it might mean and offer in terms of subjective knowledge and non-scientific investigation. And such guidelines are interesting to consider and have inspired this current undertaking. But they are nearly always written to argue for the need of such projects and imagine what they might be like: towards, in search of, about... What about the experience as lived, with sleeves rolled up and hands dirtied? Surely that part of the process is as vital as it is missing?