Sunday, November 24, 2013

Constructing Reality

Photography started as a mean to document the physical world as a two-dimensional picture. A photograph captures reality as it is. However, throughout years of development and explorations, numerous photographers such as Alexander Rodchenko, Beate Gutschow, Andreas Gursky, have changed the meaning of photographs. These photographers altered their photographs to express their ideas; the ‘documents’ are now ‘art’. Similarly, architects have also used photo alteration techniques to present their ideas. With the same techniques, they insert their imagined building into a photograph resulting in an illusion of reality. Mies van der Rohe is famous for his collages and renderings. Contemporary architectural rendering company Luxigon also uses similar although more modern techniques. 

Alexander Rodchenko - photographer (1891-1956)
- represent idea though collages
- cutting pieces from several source materials to create a new image
- these collages doesn't look real
- scale is ignored
- the emphasis is on getting the idea across

White Sea Canal
- also a collage although Rodchenko tried to make it look real
- the emphasis is still on getting the idea across
- the purpose of the idea (propaganda) requires the image to look real and beliaveble

Mies van der Rohe - architect (1886-1969)

Concert Hall
- the idea (a series of planes composed in space) is represented through the use of collage
- pieces of papers are used to represent the planes and the relationships between them
- minimal effort in making the image look real; perspectival because it is required to represent the relationships between the planes

- presented as if it is a single photograph
- in reality it is composed out of a landscape photograph and a model photograph
- the idea is to present the design in a real context
- there is a need to make the image look believable

Andreas Gursky - photogapher

Bahrain I, 2005
- large scale image created by combining several photographs of different sections
- perspective is impossible to achieve without photo manipulation
- without closer inspection, scale and identity of the objects in the picture are hard to determine
- the scale and contrast in color give the built environment a graphic quality

Sao Paulo, Se, 2002
- again, photographs of different sections are used to create a larger image
- the quality of the space is exposed next to the details in the photograph
- crowds give scale to the environment, without it the picture would not look as real

Beate Gutschow - photographer
S#10, 2005
- a synthesis of different urban landscapes created by combining several different photographs
- despite the amount of information presented in the photograph, it is still impossible to identify a geographical location or time
- the idea is to create a sense of failed utopia

S#14, 2005
- uses the same technique, combining photographs to create a composed image
- the building is stripped from human occupation giving it a forlorn and timeless quality
- the idea is to put the building in a non-existent context, blurring the line between what is real and unreal

Luxigon - architectural rendering

- a computer rendering is put into real contexts such as trees, people, and site
- the purpose of the image is to sell the building therefore the building is presented in an idealized environment
- because of this, the image does not look real but still beliavable

Northern Harbour
- same technique as the image above, the addition of contexts makes the building look real
- also presented in an idealized environment to sell the building
- the purpose of the image is to present certain aspects of the building (in this case, human occupation and relationship to the water)

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