Camera Constructs: Photography, Architecture and the Modern City
Edited by Andrew Higgott and Timothy Wray
Published by Ashgate Publishing, 2012
Photography and architecture have a uniquely powerful resonance – architectural form provides the camera with the subject for some of its most compelling imagery, while photography profoundly influences how architecture is represented, imagined and produced. Camera Constructs is the first book to reflect critically on the varied interactions of the different practices by which photographers, artists, architects, theorists and historians engage with the relationship of the camera to architecture, the city and the evolution of Modernism. The title thus on the one hand opposes the medium of photography and the materiality of construction – but on the other can be read as saying that the camera invariably constructs what it depicts: the photograph is not a simple representation of an external reality, but constructs its own meanings and reconstructs its subjects.
Twenty – three essays by a wide range of historians and theorists are grouped under the themes of ‘Modernism and the Published Photograph’, ‘Architecture and the City Re-imagined’, ‘Interpretative Constructs’ and ‘Photography in Design Practices.’ They are preceded by an Introduction that comprehensively outlines the subject and elaborates on the diverse historical and theoretical contexts of the authors’ approaches. Camera Constructs provides a rich and highly original analysis of the relationship of photography to built form from the early modern period to the present day.
An astonishing collection that puts new life into the whole question of architecture’s relation to photography. Encyclopaedic in range and approach, these inspiring essays, many by young and emerging scholars, set off all sorts of thoughts about the multiple representations of space and time in these two media.
Professor Adrian Forty, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UK
The literature in this area continues to bring new and exciting modes of interpretation. Camera Constructs is a cleverly conceived volume which makes an alert contribution through a carefully articulated and keenly focused study which opens up further debates in this fertile terrain. Expertly edited by Higgott and Wray, Camera Constructs brings together the salient themes associated with visualizing the city through the means of photography and the lens of modernism. This study will be of real value both as an undergraduate text and to scholars working in this fascinating interdisciplinary crossroads.
Dr Alan Marcus, University of Aberdeen, UK
Two of the chapters are written by Timothy Wray:
Chapter 7: Haunted Halls of Mirrors: Photography and the Phenomenology of Emotional Space
Chapter 16: Order out of Chaos: Josef Koudelka’s photographic constructs
Cover illustration: Heidi Specker, Brunnen 3, 2003