First edition, Self-published
9.5 x 12”, 80p
Introduction by Ty Cole
Having never lived nor worked in a brutalist building, I cannot speak to the their successes or failures as functional architecture. That said, I have always been drawn to the sculptural qualities of these buildings. As an observer of the visual landscape, and a photographer, I set out to explore their allure. In this collection of photographs I have focused on 15 brutalist buildings within the city of London, some well known, some not, that serve a variety of functions.
In general, Brutalist buildings date to post WWII, when concrete was widely used for both its economy and the ease of building large structures. When the prevalence of concrete converged with the theories of modernist architects, the brutalist style was born. The public often perceives these buildings as brooding, bunker-like, or oppressive in their simplicity. On the other hand, architects that utilized concrete saw the material as "honest" and more humanistic, exposing the construction methods and "true" facade.
For me it was important to photograph each building with an optimistic eye using color and sunlight, where available. Many of the photographs that exist of brutalist buildings seem to be intentionally captured under overcast skies and flat light, as to enhance the negative connotations. I want, rather, to expose the beauty of the forms.
Whether brutalist architecture is "successful" remains a topic of public debate. I think the real question would be "what is successful architecture?" For me, brutalist architecture is, at the very least, unique and pushes boundaries. I think of architecture as functional art. Unlike art that "fails" and then fades from the discourse, built architecture is more permanent. Buildings can only be destroyed at a high cost, so we must confront their varied qualities. One of the questions that interests me is the distance between how I perceive these buildings and how they are often perceived by the general public. Can I render them as beautiful in my photographs as I see them?