Genius loci and The Eye of Photography
Join architectural photography curator Valeria Carullo, Photo London Talks Programme Curator William A. Ewing and photographers Nikola Olic and Ljubodrag Andric in a lively discussion about the unexpected joy and discovery in photographically dancing between architectural familiarisation and defamiliarisation.
Panellists all “speak” architecture to some degree as a shared modern urban experience, and can therefore enjoy, appreciate and get lost in photography that interprets it differently, much like a great poem or a great song can move us.
Unlike architects, photographers aren’t constrained by physical principles. They don’t have to respect gravity, verticality, size, materiality and so on; they can slice a building in two, turn it upside down, or shatter it into fragments. Nikola Olic improvises and “freestyles” upon the established “truth” and finality of an architectural piece and the architect that created it, by rethinking how his or her work is seen and discussed and placed in a larger/different context, like combining architectural elements that were not intended that way —”going wherever that may take us”.
Ljubodrag Andric comes at the built world from another angle: indeed, his buildings are often ordinary structures like garages and warehouses without any architectural pretension whatsoever. Andric’s interest is in the play of light, the modulation of colour, texture, the ambiguity of scale, and, one might say, transcendence.
Ljubodrag Andric comes at the built world from another angle. Indeed, he photographs ordinary structures – mostly walls and spaces without any architectural pretension whatsoever; ancient and new, industrial or sacred alike. While Andric clearly focuses on play of light, modulation of colour, texture and ambiguity of scale, his real interest is in the experience of image as result of perception, and, one might say, transcendence.
Nikola Olic is a Serbian photographer living and working in Dallas, Texas, focusing on architectural photography and abstract structural quotes that reimagine their subjects in playful, dimensionless and disorienting ways. His photography has appeared in various galleries, private collections, public spaces, art events, museums, magazines, newspapers and websites around the world.
Valeria Carullo is Photographs Curator at the Royal Institute of British Architects. An architect by training, she also worked for several years with renowned architectural photographer Richard Bryant. She has curated or co-curated several exhibitions, including Framing Modernism: Architecture and Photography in Italy 1929-1965 (Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, London, 2009, and MAXXI, Rome, 2011), Ordinary Beauty: The Photography of Edwin Smith (RIBA Architecture Gallery, 2014), John Pantlin: Photographing the Mid-Century Home (Museum of the Home, London, 2014), Rationalism on Set: Glamour and Modernity in 1930s Italian Cinema (Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, London, 2018, and The Mac, Belfast, 2019), Eternal City: Rome in the Photographs Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Vittoriano, Rome, 2018) and Beyond Bauhaus: Modernism in Britain 1933-66 (RIBA architecture Gallery, 2019). Valeria regularly writes and lectures on both architectural and photographic subjects; for the RIBA she organised the international photography conference Building with Light in 2014 and is now co-organiser of the biannual Colin Rowe Lecture Series, conversations on the role of the image in architecture.
William Ewing is a curator of photography, an author of numerous books and articles, and was a museum director for many years. Over the past fifty years his exhibitions have been seen in hundreds of museums worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art and International Center of Photography, New York; the Centre Pompidou and Jeu de Paume, Paris; the Saatchi, Hayward and Serpentine Galleries, London; the National Museum Reine Sofia, Madrid; the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; The National Gallery of Victoria, Australia; the Museum of Civilization, Marseille; M.I.T Museum, Boston; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; the Kunsthalle Zurich and Museum of Fine Arts of Italian Switzerland, Lugano, the Setagaya Museum, Tokyo, and many others. His books have been published in more than 15 languages. He is an Officer in the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and winner of the Award for Outstanding Service to Photography from the Royal Photographic Society. His most recent exhibition, Civilization: the Way We live Now, is currently travelling on all continents, and his current project, (publication 2022) co-authored with Danaé Panchaud, is a sweeping survey of 21st-century photography from a unique point of view.