Airey Spaces was delighted to be asked by Article 25, the UK’s leading architectural aid charity, to contribute to the 10×10 Drawing London project. 100 artists were each given a square on the River Thames and asked to produce an artwork. Here is the selection of photographs I considered and the final image (1st one shown here).
My given square was near Battersea bridge and encompassed a few streets of predominantly red brick residential buildings as well the northern half of the bridge so I spent a day photographing a variety of structures. Rather than select a more obvious image of the bridge I chose a shot taken at the chapel designed by Hector Corfiato and built in late 1950’s.
This project was different to shooting to a brief for an architect or designer. My initial response was that the image had to pictorially represent the Thames which, being an architectural photographer, translated as ‘bridge’. (The finished work also had to be something someone may want to hang on a wall).
The bridge is visually quite tired and I didn’t feel in the edit that the final artwork had to be so obvious. Having found more inspiration in the concrete chapel the shots taken there were far more aesthetically satisfying. Being so near to the river many of the buildings have a close history with the Thames and the site of the chapel was once home to St Thomas More who lived there before being boated off to his execution.
The engineering involved in containing / controlling the force of a river with stone blocks always amazes me. I felt that the image of a hunk of concrete was relevant and the chapel was also a good illustration of a bold and ballsy post war construction. Built on a bombed site this was a great example of architecture that has a wonderfully contrasting style sitting uncomfortably with its neighbour and thus giving it a good narrative. I find this juxtaposition often evocative, strong and inspiring.
Finally with this brief I was mindful that as the image was hopefully going to adorn a wall it would need to be aesthetically kind so printed on a thick watercolour photographic paper the finished piece has a painterly quality.
The thinking behind the other shots from the edit was as follows….
….the images taken on the underside of Battersea Bridge I liked as the structure and colours reminded me of fish gills and the actual bridge I tried to treat as if it were the façade of a building, shooting from a low vantage point to give it some dynamism and detail. The final two shots were of a rather deluxe doorway in typical Chelsea style that created a clean aesthetic.