Concrete, Space, Light

The Light Gallery at the Centre for Creative Photography showcases the work of five Adelaide-based architectural photographers in a new exhibition.

The Light Gallery at the Centre for Creative Photography showcases the work of five Adelaide-based architectural photographers in a new exhibition. Architectural photography is a genre that has gained serious momentum in recent years. Aided in no small part by the publishing industry, which decrees projects must be professionally photographed before an editor will even consider looking at them. On the other hand, there is no better record of the architect’s work than a glossy, high-colour image shot by one of the industry’s best. When internationally renowned architectural photographer Iwan Baan made the cover of New York Magazine with his shot of Manhattan post-Hurricane Sandy his phone must have been ringing off the hook. It only stands to highlight the symbiotic relationship between architect and photographer, where the end result has as much to do with the photographer’s eye and signature style as with the actual building or interior itself. In Australia, where names like John Gollings, Peter Bennetts and Shannon McGrath dominate, the field continues to broaden as architects increasingly realise the importance of highcalibre documentation. What an exhibition like Concrete, Space, Light offers the industry is a gentle reminder that there are also exceptional architectural photographers working outside of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Curator Mike Lim has assembled a fine sampling of Adelaide-based architectural photographers, each with their own generous eye and distinct style. The Light Gallery at the Centre for Creative Photography can’t be an easy space to curate due to its small-scale, but Lim ha s managed to include a number of works from five different photographers. Concrete, Space, Light is easy to navigate and the variety in the selection is to be commended. Three works by Peter Barnes of the recently completed SAHMRI building appeal instantly. It is, of course, an outstanding example of contemporary architecture, but what Barnes has done is capture it in its best possible light – literally. The interior shots are particularly stunning for their bright, shiny detail. At the other end of the spectrum, Wayne Grivell’s three images are wonderfully gritty studies of urban life, each composed with almost gridlike precision. The pops of colour and stark composition in Mark Zed’s photographs are reminiscent of a Jeffrey Smart painting. He brings splendour to the SA Water Desalination Plant and the viewer is caught scouring each scene for a figure that doesn’t exist. This haunting beauty is echoed in Gary Sauer-Thompson’s city details of Hobart, Adelaide and Melbourne. Curiously, each shot feels like it could be anywhere in the world and only close inspection reveals its actual location. A fine contrast to the work of these four photographers is the small-scale architectural details by Ben Liew. Pinned to the wall in the corridor they are a lovely study in pattern, repetition and symmetry, and as a series they work very well together. This exhibition successfully functions as a taste of what Adelaide has to offer the genre of architectural photography, highlighting new names that are well worth watching. Concrete, Space, Light: Five Adelaide Architectural Photographers Peter Barnes, Wayne Grivell, Ben Liew, Gary Sauer-Thompson and Mark Zed The Light Gallery at the Centre for Creative Photography Continues until Friday, April 25

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