A Way of Seeing

Lower Plateau
Mineral Railway
Spoil Heap
Upper Plateau
Fluorescents 1
Fluorescents 2
Table & Chairs
Bridge & Ditch
Barn & Hill
Service Yard

All photographic prints have qualities in common. These qualities determine how the world in front of the camera is transformed into photographs.

A photograph can be viewed on several levels. To begin with, it is a physical object, a print. On this print is an image, an illusion of a window on the world. It is on this level that we usually read a picture and discover its content: a souvenir of an exotic land, the face of a lover, a wet rock, a landscape at night. Embedded in this level is another that contains signals to our mind’s perceptual apparatus. It gives ‘spin’ to what the image depicts and how it is organised.

Photography is inherently an analytic discipline. Where a painter starts with a blank canvas and builds a picture, a photographer starts with the messiness of the world and selects a picture. A photographer standing before houses and streets and people and trees and artefacts of a culture imposes an order on the scene – simplifies the jumble by giving it structure. He or she imposes this order by choosing a vantage point, choosing a frame, choosing a moment of exposure, and by selecting a plane of focus.

The photographs image depicts, within certain formal constraints, an aspect of the world. The formal character of the image is a result of a range of physical and optical factors. These are the factors that define the physical level of the photograph. But on the depictive level there are four central ways in which the world in front of the camera is transformed into the photograph: flatness, frame, time and focus.

These four attributes define the picture’s depictive content and structure. They form the basis of a photograph’s visual grammar. They are responsible for a sharpshooter’s ‘mistakes’: a blur, a beheading, a jumble, an awkward moment. They are the means by which photographers express their sense of the world, give structure to their perceptions and articulation to their meanings.

– Stephen Shore

This ongoing project looks at understanding the value of photographs in establishing what we know in terms of each project that we design and the wider world in which that project exists. The careful selection, framing and editing of the site and context, both in camera and on reflection, effects the ‘reality’ on which the project is based.