Interested in architectural photography? If yes, then head to the Museum of Finnish Architecture as there is now a great opportunity to compare the established practice of architectural presentation to a more creative and polemical approach to shooting buildings. Grey Matter is an exhibition by students of architecture and photography from Aalto University, taking a look at new urban developments in the downtown Helsinki district of Töölönlahti Bay.
The exhibition is produced by Aalto University’s Departments of Architecture and Department of Media, and supervised by Antti Ahlava, Head of the Department of Architecture at Aalto University, and Marc Goodwin, photographer and doctoral candidate. Goodwin approaches architectural photography as a particular discursive space: “what are architects trying to say, and what are they not saying?”
According to Goodwin, it appears that the kind of images that get published have to meet a certain set of criteria; the photo should feature the design of the space, structure, materials and occupational use of the building. “Numerous photographic practices as well as atmospheric conditions are simply not admitted into the discourse of the architectural photograph”, Goodwin argues. Now, he has encouraged his students to explore the uncommon in the praxis and challenge the conventions.
The buildings by JKMM Architects, Helin & Co Architects and Verstas Architects Ltd – three practices involved in designing the new Töölönlahti Bay – show in the photos as they show to the viewer on the street, captured perhaps not at their prettiest, but certainly at their boldest. Taking the plunge has payed off. So seldom one can experience such substantially new thinking combined in excited enthusiasm in architectural photography.
It’s not a building you see when you look at an architectural photograph. You see the way the photographer represented it according to architecture’s discursive space.
– Marc Goodwin
The exhibition Grey Matter – Architecture and Photography is open 15.5.2014 – 1.6.2014 at the Museum of Finnish Architecture (Kasarmikatu 24, Helsinki). More info: www.mfa.fi.