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Title: Do not refreeze : images of architecture and photographic temporality
Author: Mellor, Kate
ISNI:       0000 0004 5992 4750
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2015
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Platforms for discourse in architecture have been informed by standard patterns of architectural photography and yet critics have long found the configuration of temporality in professional practice problematic. The modernist paradigms that underpin standard depiction of buildings are thought to produce a narrative of architecture heroically withstanding the onslaughts of modernity yet they position buildings as dominant to the everyday, thus denying their corporeality. The thesis hinges on the idea that the image of architecture depends not only on temporal configuration in photographs but also on more general conceptualizations about temporality in the medium. The research project addresses this as an artistic dilemma, applying fine art methods to expand temporal configuration in photographs of buildings. These practical artistic experiments aim to find alternatives that extend the photographic image of architecture and discuss its relationship to, and role as essential element in, the landscape. As photographs have a didactic role in the educational and professional fields of architecture it therefore impacts on design leaving, at least theoretically, photographic traces on the landscape. Yet the powerful influence of standard architectural photography on the urban environment tends to remain under-­‐ acknowledged. This interdisciplinary research project examines material from the fields of architecture, photography and urban theory to provide background on the depiction of architecture as photographic image with a view to discover how temporal configuration covertly upholds particular narratives of architecture. In general the dissemination of architectural photography tends to depend on photographs as technologically produced passive documents and this is supported by a conceptualization of photography, through its instant of exposure, as freezing time and space. The thesis argues that this is a modernist view of photography that supports a heroic, spectacular view of architecture but denies any sense of architecture as, say, dynamic space. Recent theoretical debate on reconceptions of photography since digitization put forward a less technocratic view. Experimentation facilitated by digital image-­‐processing has also resulted in a reassessment of the medium’s relationship to time. Elements of these post-­‐ digitization debates in photography are brought in to counter entrenched ideas about photographic temporality and to position architecture and photography in a more open, ongoing flow of time and less as iconic, frozen moment. Fine art photographic methods are employed to view architecture self-­‐ reflexively, emphasizing the subjective, embodied presence and everyday encounter of the image-­‐maker challenging the notion of photography as passive and unintentional and amplifying the medium as a durational process. While the artistic practice has been aided by digital image technologies it includes a mix of analogue, digital and hybridized work to explore photography’s changed relationship to time post-­‐digitization. By making alternative images of buildings to demonstrate expanded temporalities in the medium of photography the thesis presents a discourse on the representational image of architecture and its potential impacts on the landscape.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available