RORY GARDINER — Interview
London-based architecture photographer.
Hello Rory, how are you?
Good, thanks Dennis. I’m away on assignment at the moment working on a project in Manchester, of all places. It’s a strange city.
Can you introduce yourself?
I’m an Australian born, London based architectural photographer. I have a cat named Wu-Tang, I’m scared of spiders and I miss the ocean… a lot.
What is your experience and approach to photography? When did you start?
I can’t quite remember when I started but I do remember enjoying making pictures more than going to school. I studied photography at RMIT in Melbourne, Australia and swiftly moved to London when I finished. I worked as a digital tech in both cities for a while. I think my approach has changed a lot over the years… I went from pre-conceptualising everything I did to refusing to acknowledge why I was photographing something. I’m slowly trying to negotiate a middle ground between the two.
Your work focuses on architectural and landscape photography. What’s your interest about this kind of photography?
I spent a lot of time as a child at the coast or in the mountains, so I developed a strong attachment to the natural landscape during those years. Over time my interest spanned towards the built environment where I found more depth and complexity to the relationship. My father is an architect so that might have something to do with it too.
Would you like to talk to us about the process in your work ?
These days my process is very architecture driven. I prefer to concentrate on a single project by an architect who I like or have been commissioned by. I try to be as responsive as possible so I can react to how people use a space, how it feels to move through the building etc. I’ve downsized my kit so I’m as mobile as possible. I work with mainly analogue cameras because they tend to get in the way less.
There are some interesting atmospheres in your photographs. Are you trying to convey specific feelings to the spectator?
For sure, but if you asked me when I was taking the picture I wouldn’t be able to tell you what. There is no intentional thematic or comment through my work, it’s specific to the place and project. Conveying the atmosphere of a space is more important to me than the details because while the content may be foreign or obsolete for many people, emotions are universal – they are a broader language.
Speaking of feelings, why your series about the Tate Modern is so dark, so spooky?
My brief from the Tate was to interpret how it feels to visit the Tate. I guess that’s how it felt for me, in that space, at that time. The Tate has ‘white wall art’ like most galleries, but what distinguishes it is how Herzog and De Meuron have activated the existing site for the visitors. Anyone who has been would have experienced the purposefully dead areas, like the bridge for example, where people just mill about in the dark amongst each other’s shadows. It’s a really fascinating place to photograph.
Is there any photographer or movement you appreciate a lot?
Photographically I’m enjoying Adam Jeppesen’s work at the moment. Architecturally, I have a bit of a man-crush on John Pawson. I really admire his process.
Which books are on your bedside table?
All of John Pawson’s books!
The last word…
Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Baehler – 09.13
All the photographs are ©Rory Gardiner.