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Constructing Worlds

Modern Architectural Photography


Since the day in the year 1826 that the French inventor Nicéphore Niépce took the first shot of history, with a camera obscura, from the window of a granary at his home in Le Gras, photography has held architecture as one of its recurring themes. Far from fading, the passion for directing the lens at buildings intensified in the course of the 20th century, and architectural photography became an artistic genre on its own right. This fact is the starting point of ‘Constructing Worlds: Photography and Architecture in the Modern Age,’ an exhibition on view from 3 June to 6 September at the ICO Museum in Madrid, as part of the PHotoEspaña 2015 festival.

Curated by Alona Pardo and Elias Redstone and coming from the Barbican Centre in London, it takes us on a journey through eighteen famous photographers who, spanning the period between the early 1990s and the present, have taken architecture as the main motif of their work and handled it with intentions transcending the merely documental. Featuring the likes of Berenice Abbot, Julius Shulman, Lucien Hervé, Bernd and Hilla Becher, and Iwan Baan, the selection of images presents the evolution of architectural photography through the last hundred years (from pictorialism to conceptualism), and parallel to this, provides an exciting voyage through the global landscapes of the past decades, from the Case Study Houses in California to the cities of China’s implacable development of recent times.

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