The architectural photography industry has been hit hard by the crisis.
We only need to observe as some professionals are suddenly forced to improvise, finding themselves a little demoralized, new course of action that helps bring in a commission.
We here at Fragments do not hold the keys to success, but we believe that paying attention to the experiences of those who have already gone through where we are now can help us walk with more confidence.
So, let’s be optimistic and work to share our experiences, personalities, and battle-tested professional paths because, even if it doesn’t make us richer, it will at least make us wiser.
Once again, we had the chance to do it at the University of Zaragoza.
The Fragments team went on Thursday the 28th of May to attend the 5th Architecture and Photography Conference promoted by FAME: Research Project: Modern Photography and Architecture in Spain, with the support of PhotoEspaña and the Zaragoza Town Hall. At the head of FAME is the architect and photographer Dr. Iñaki Bergera, who served as the coordinator and moderator of the event.
This time, the university’s Paraninfo building’s Pilar Sinués Hall welcomed four illustrious veterans:
The sculptor and scholar Juan Bordes shared a sample of the first architectural and landscape photography presses. The culmination of this leap in time was the collection of a number of anonymous images that show the path leading to the present-day pillars of our art.
And speaking about art, but more specifically about its poor practises, the cultural journalist Llàtzer Moix, using his customary irony, sought to remind us of the impossibility of forgetting Santiago Calatrava. He talked about the effects on the media of the “star architect”, who was once admired for designing the contentious City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, among other daring works, and who is now remembered for having created a long list of buildings with structural issues, a reputation for running over budget (and incurring budgetary deviations), and, as if that weren’t enough, being linked to high-profile corruption cases.
We can find a sensible balance in the proposal of the architect and photographer Duccio Malagamba, who opened the afternoon with a consideration: the human presence in architectural photography. In other words, it is a flexible and far from superficial resource that can transform an image into a scene by pushing the limits of architectural photography and completing the meaning of what we see.
Finally, the photographer and artist Juan Rodríguez took the audience on a survey of his extensive photographic work, a broad sampling of partnerships, such as the ones with the renowned Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza, along with publications, exhibitions and projects that draw from many disciplines yet remain faithful to his characteristic play of lights and shadows in black and white.
Late in the afternoon, the meeting came to a close with a round table, though Bordes was absent because he had to leave for Madrid.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AT A GLANCE
This might have been the last year of the conference, as Bergera announced at the end of the session.
Even though it is not definitive, the heads of the FAME project, in conjunction with the University of Navarra, are considering the possibility of holding an International Conference in the autumn of 2016 with the goal of disseminating the more artistic and contemporary facet of architectural photography. The event would last two days and would be divided into four thematic sections with the participation of speakers and guests from all over.
We at Fragments hope to attend more initiatives of this kind which foster the ties among enshrined and emerging talents, proving that architectural photography is not composed of a single, univocal formula, and initiatives that reach an audience enthused by the new dimensions of the sector.
For now, however, we will have to wait until October 2015, when the event is expected to be confirmed.