številka / volume 199-200
november / november 2014
letnik / anno XLIV

Arhitekturna fotografija
Architectural photography
vsebina številke
table of contents
Miha Dešman Uvodnik: Fotografija arhitekture, arhitektura fotografije
Introduction: The photography of architecture, the architecture of photography
Miloš Kosec Vizitni portret arhitekture
Slovenska arhitekturna fotografija danes
Kristina Dešman Okrogla miza o arhitekturni fotografiji: Blaž Budja, Miran Kambič, Milan Pajk, Matevž Paternoster, Damjan Švarc, Virginia Vrecl
Slovenska arhitekturna fotografija v času
Miha Špiček Ljubljana na razglednicah Vekoslava Kramariča
Nataša Koselj Strukture slovenske arhitekture skozi objektiv Janeza Kališnika
Kristina Dešman Strategije reprezentacije prostora v fotografiji Damjana Galeta
Arhitekturna fotografija v svetu
Erika Petrič / prevod Kristina Dešman Fotografija kot fenomenološko orodje arhitekturne reprezentacije
Kristina Dešman Fotografija je moje življenje! Intervju z Iwanom Baanom
Inka Shube Roman Bezjak. Arheologija nekega časa: socialistični modernizem
Beatriz Colomina / prevod Matjaž Bolčina Le Corbusier in fotografija
Or Ettlinger Arhitekturna fotografija v dobi digitalnega upodabljanja
Mišljenje
Rudolf Schwarz / prevod Aleš Košar O umetnosti gradnje
Rudolf Schwarz / prevod Aleš Košar Krajina čaščenja
Recenzija
Nataša Koselj John Allan: BERTHOLD LUBETKIN. Architecture and the tradition of progress.
Katja Šivec Nataša Koselj: Arhitekt Danilo Fürst.
uvodnik

Fotografija arhitekture, arhitektura fotografije

Slika pove več, kot tisoč besed ... To velja tudi za arhitekturno fotografijo, ki je že dolgo vodilni medij za predstavljanje arhitekture.

Arhitekti po navadi le redkim priznamo pravico, da interpretirajo in sodijo naša dela. Vtikamo se v postavitve razstav, v oblikovanje postavitve v reviji, v tekst, ki ga napiše kritik. A profesionalna arhitekturna fotografija si je izborila avtonomen status. Postala je obvezni del arhitekturne zgodbe in dobila lastno življenje, neodvisno od arhitektove običajne vodilne vloge.

Kot urednik arhitekturnega medija, čeprav konservativnega, seveda moram spoštovati pomen – ali celo prevlado – podobe v današnjem arhitekturnem diskurzu. Arhitektura je postala popolnoma odvisna od podob, s katerimi se jo reprezentira. Naj gre za renderje v fazi natečajev in pridobivanja naročila ali pa za fotografije v bitki za objave v revijah in na spletu, arhitektura je z asistenco arhitekturnih fotografov postala mašinerija, ki neprestano bruha milijarde podob v medijski prostor, kjer se v kanibalskem ritualu tudi neprestano konzumirajo. Podoba je tako prevladujoča, da velika večina konzumentov realne arhitekture ali prostora nikoli ne vidi, sliši, vanj vstopi, niti voha, tipa, občuti. In tega niti ne pogreša in ne obžaluje. Izgubili smo tretjo dimenzijo, postali smo dvodimenzionalni!

Kako je prišlo do tega?

Arhitektura je od nekdaj ena od temeljnih človeških dejavnosti, ki osredinja širok spekter področij ustvarjalnosti, znanja in delovanja. Je nepogrešljiv sestavni del osebne, skupinske, nacionalne pa tudi simbolne ekonomije in identitete. V svoj krog priteguje nepreštevne »odvisne« prakse, torej tudi polje (re)prezentacije, katerega del je arhitekturna fotografija. Odnos med arhitekturo in vsem, s čimer prihaja v stik, to pa je, kot rečeno, praktično svet v celoti, je po definiciji lociran nekam med umetnost in znanost, in prav enako velja za odnos med arhitekturo in fotografijo. Obe praksi vsebujeta elemente tehnike in znanosti na eni ter kreativnosti in umetnosti na drugi strani. Fotografija je, kot zapiše Eric de Maré v knjigi Architectural Photography (1), gradnja z lučjo oz. pisanje s svetlobo. Ime izhaja iz grščine: svetloba in pisava – photo, ki izhaja iz besede phos, ki pomeni svetloba, in graphia, ki izhaja iz besede graphia, ki pomeni pisati oz. risati. Grško se besedo fotografija zapiše φωτογραφία.

Ko je enkrat zgrajena, začne arhitektura samostojno življenje. Osvobodi se svojega stvaritelja – arhitekta, izvajalci si oddahnejo in vanjo se prično seliti uporabniki. A preden jo naselijo ljudje in predmeti, se pojavi črn obiskovalec, ki s sabo tovori težko opremo in se tiho smuka okoli stavbe in skozi prostore. Išče idealne kote in svetlobe, postavlja stativ in pospravlja ostanke gradbincev, odstira in zastira senčila, prižiga in ugaša luči. Nekaj ur ali dni je arhitektura njegova. Osamljeni lovec je arhitekturni fotograf, ki konstruira eno od pomembnih »resnic« nove arhitekture, resnico, ki bo drugačna od arhitektove ali uporabnikove, od katere pa bosta odvisna njena medijski in strokovni uspeh in slava. Podobe, ki se ujamejo skozi fotografove leče, so lahko lepše in pomembnejše od realne arhitekture, ali pa tudi ne. Lahko spremenijo razumevanje in recepcijo arhitekture, spodbudijo zanimanje urednikov in žirij za arhitekturne nagrade, lahko celo nepovratno utemeljijo, spremenijo, zakodirajo njeno usodo. Res gre za »posnetke«, a hkrati za umetniške »upodobitve«, ki imajo čudno moč skriti ali razkriti, polepšati ali pogrditi, razjasniti ali zamegliti realno arhitekturno delo.

V čem je ta skrivnostna moč fotografije? Od kod izvira? In kam sega?

V arhitekturni fotografiji gre najprej za to, kar je pred objektivom. Kaj pride ven zadaj, ima podrejeno funkcijo, je derivat, ne samostojna stvar. Fotograf prevaja realnost v podobo, s tem da jo skuša razumeti, prebrati in napisati. Arhitekturna fotografija je sporočilo!

Razmerje med fotografijo in arhitekturo se je vzpostavilo hkrati z iznajdbo fotografije v zgodnjem 19. stoletju, od takrat pa je doživelo pomenljiv razvoj. Noben motiv ni primernejši od arhitekture za dolgo ekspozicijo in omejeno globinsko ostrino prvih kamer. Pozira lahko tako rekoč neomejeno časa, še posebej pod jasnim nebom in brez motečih sprehajalcev. Tako so se stavbe in mesta hitro znašla pred objektivi in zbirke risb, gravur, litografij in drugih tehnik, katerih namen je bil upodabljati arhitekturo, so zamenjale zbirke arhitekturnih fotografij. Fotografija je postala primarni medij za posredovanje in zbiranje arhitekturnih del: z njeno pomočjo je postala dostopna njena zgodovina in tudi sedanjost.

Če je na začetku zgodovine arhitekturne fotografije – ki traja enako kot fotografija sama, torej nekaj manj kot 200 let – vodilna vloga in kontrola pripadala arhitekturi in arhitektu, vloga fotografije pa je bila spočetka omejena na dokumentiranje arhitekture, kakršna je »v resnici«, smo danes pri posredovanju in oceni našega izdelka arhitekti odvisni od arhitekturnih fotografov in fotografij. Prevod arhitekture v dvodimenzionalno fotografsko površino od samega začetka ni imun na ideologije in politike, na mode in na manipulacije. Fotografske podobe niso zgolj objektiven odraz realnega sveta in arhitekture, pač pa so odvisne od različnih subjektivnih izbir (motiva, kadra, osvetlitve, izostritve itd.), ki naslavljajo in odražajo ideologije in okus časa, v katerem so nastale, avtorja (fotografa) in tehnologije.

Velikokrat je edina podoba, ki jo imamo o neki arhitekturi, posredovana skozi fotografijo. Kdo ne pozna ikonične fotke Johnsonove Glass House v Connecticutu, Sydneyske opere ali pa fotografije Kitajskega zidu – le redki pa smo te objekte doživeli »in situ«. To govori o pomenu arhitekturnega fotografa, ki posreduje arhitekturo v medije, revije in knjige, na splet...

Moderna arhitektura je bila prva, ki je resno pričela tržiti samo sebe. Pri tem ji je bila arhitekturna fotografija v veliko pomoč. Zgodovina arhitekture in arhitekturne fotografije v času modernizma oscilira od zavračanja pri Adolfu Loosu (2), ki fotografijo obtoži odmika od realnosti, do afirmacije kot mehanske in industrijske reprodukcije, npr. pri Walterju Gropiusu, ki opeva pomen fotografije v Bauhausu. Albert Renger – Patsch je zanj poslikal tovarno Fagus Werke kot hladno moderno arhitekturo brez delavcev in proizvodov (čevljev). Arhitektura je dobila ime Neue Sachlichkeit (nova stvarnost). Takrat sta odsotnost proletariata na arhitekturnih fotografijah tovarn kritizirala tako Berthold Brecht kot Walter Benjamin.

Tudi ruska avantgarda se je izražala s fotografijo – Rodčenko je pri svojih fotografijah arhitekture, npr. pri Ginzburgovem Narkomfinu v Moskvi, težil k abstrakciji, kakršne današnji uredniki arhitekturnih revij ne bi tolerirali.

In tudi Frank Lloyd Wright je bil med pionirji prezentacije arhitekture s pomočjo fotografije. Fotografski priročniki z njegovimi projekti hiš so bili namenjeni Američanom, ki bi morda pri njem naročili lastno hišo. Hkrati je izdajal luksuzne portfelje svojih del za zahtevno publiko.

Že v 19. stoletju je paralelno z zgodovino fotografije tekla tudi nevidna zgodovina manipuliranja s fotografijo in retuširanja. Modernizem je te prakse še radikaliziral.

Erich Mendelsohn je motiv in merilo za navidezno spontano virtuoznost famozne dinamične skice Einsteinovega stolpa skušal najti z vztrajnim skiciranjem »po fotografiji«. Do danes uporabljajo to tehniko študentje pri svojih skicah za vaje iz zgodovine arhitekture. Le majhen korak je od takšne (zlo)rabe fotografije do ikoničnosti fotografije, ki je zamenjala ikoničnost same stavbe.

Kot piše Beatrice Colomina (3), je Le Corbusier vztrajal pri režiji fotografij, z namenom, da bi fotografija podpirala njegove teorije in razumevanje tiskanih medijev, tega »novega ustvarjalnega okolja kot paralelne realnosti samemu gradbišču oz. realni arhitekturi« (4).

Na podobno uporabo simbolne vloge fotografije naletimo pri zgodnjih fotomontažah Ludwiga Miesa van der Rohe, kjer arhitekt kolažira risbo in fotografijo steklenega nebotičnika (1921–22) na Friedrichstrasse, v Berlinu, da bi dosegel realistično podobo nerealizirane stavbe.

Te epizode govorijo o uporabi in manipulaciji arhitekturne fotografije za namen reprezentiranja arhitekture ali njene ideje. V času do danes se je ta pristop, predvsem skozi digitalizacijo in 3D predstavitve, razvil v eno od najmočnejših orodij arhitekture.

Sicer pa so mnoge arhitekture modernih arhitektov podobne črno-belim fotografijam. To velja tako za Miesovo vilo Tugendhat v Brnu kot za Corbusierovo vilo Savoye v Parizu in mnoge druge moderne hiše, ki so monokromne in fotogenične z belimi zidovi in črnimi okenskimi okviri.

V času modernizma se pojavijo tudi arhitekturni fotografi, kot je bil Julius Schulman, ki so arhitekturno fotografijo profesionalizirali v samostojno obrtno in umetniško disciplino.

Še zlasti se je razlika med realnostjo in upodobitvijo poglobila v času postmodernizma, ko je postala retorična in ideološka funkcija fotografije del masovnih medijev.

Govorimo o krizi reprezentacije, ki jo opiše D. Harwey (5) kot razvezo odnosa med obliko in vsebino v smeri prosto uporabnih znakov oz. prosto zamenljivih vsebin. Vzročno-posledičen odnos med formo in funkcijo je ukinjen. Pripisovanje pomenov, zasedba prostora se zgodi zgolj še pogojno. Ni čvrste povezave med označencem in označevalcem. To lahko razložimo s pomočjo analize ekonomije oz. načina funkcioniranja razvitega kapitalizma (6).

"Kjer zveni denar, vlada vlačuga", je napisal Friedrich Nietzche in spomnil, da je z denarjem mogoče kupiti tudi resnico, zato se ta ponuja vsakomur, ki lahko plača. Umetnost s tem izgubi svojo nedolžnost. In kar se posreduje naprej, je nujno umazano. To velja tudi za tiste, ki ta krogotok poklicno izvajajo, tako trgovce kot umetnike.

Zlom denarja kot garanta vrednosti je povzročil krizo reprezentacije česarkoli za karkoli v razvitem kapitalizmu. In s tem zakoličil prehod v postmodernizem. Deregulaciji finančnega je sledila deregulacija simbolnega kapitala. Prehod kapitala na računalnike in vzporedno vseh simboličnih praks v digitalno je razmere še dodatno zapletel.

Posledično je nastopila drastična sprememba za mesto in arhitekturo, s tem pa tudi v fotografiji. Zamenljivost mest, ljudi in arhitektur v prosto dostopni podatkovni bazi omogoča in spodbuja situacijo anything goes, ko postane osnovni kreativni princip copy-paste.

V sodobnem času, ki ga določa vizualna prenatrpanost, se arhitektura podredi fotografiji na novo, drugače. Projektiranje velikokrat postane pravzaprav kreiranje scene za fotografiranje, arhitekt prične razmišljati kot fotograf, z mislijo na kader. Mase, materiali in prostori se v delih postmodernih arhitektov pričnejo prilagajati zakonom arhitekturne površine v neskončnem procesu presnavljanja tektonskega in prostorskega v spektakel (7).

Še en zanimiv obrat se je zgodil v postmodernem času. Arhitekturna fotografija je v delih Thomasa Strutha, Gurskya in drugih vse bliže slikarstvu. Velike barvne fotografije so osvojile slikarsko oz. umetnostno občinstvo, visijo v artgalerijah in dosegajo vrtoglave cene. Arhitekti, npr. Herzog & De Meuron, sodelujejo s fotografi, npr. Thomasom Ruffom, kot z enakovrednimi avtorji v procesu projektiranja, ne le postprodukcije.

Odločilno spremembo v koncept arhitekturne fotografije pa je seveda prinesla uveljavitev digitalne fotografije in svetovnega spleta. S tehnikami (post)produkcije digitalne fotografije je vse postalo možno; tudi meja amaterskimi fotografi in profesionalci, ki sta jo prej branila draga profesionalna oprema in znanje, je v veliki meri padla. Neprestano se razvijajo novi modeli fotografske opreme, nove tehnike in računalniški programi za ustvarjanje »zamrznjenih podob«. Fotografija je dosegla neobvladljivo širino in pomnoževanje.

S pojavom in z globalno razširitvijo svetovnega spleta so nastali novi pogoji, ko lahko arhitekturno fotografijo v trenutku približamo celotnemu svetu. Digitalna tehnologija tako povečuje možnosti za umetnike in omogoča nove razsežnosti. Kolektivne baze podatkov, javne zbirke od Wikipedije do Instangrama (8), pa platforme, kot je Flicr, in neštevilni javni in zasebni blogi, so forumi, kjer se v realnem času soočajo in primerjajo fotografije amaterjev in profesionalcev. Kot gobe po dežju rasejo specializirani portali, kjer je arhitekturna fotografija postala objekt poželenja in nekakšnega tekmovanja v prepričljivosti odsotnosti avtorja in naročila, podobno kot spletna pornografija. Podobnost ni naključna, besedi sta v sorodu.

Danes arhitekti producirajo hiperrealistične podobe, preden se sploh resno lotijo načrtov. Kot da je prisila dosegla status norme. A v teh ponarejenih fotografijah je nekaj obscenega. Ne morem si kaj, da ne bi primerjal podob nezgrajenih stavb s pornografijo. Seveda me je pri tem spoznanju že zdavnaj prehitel Rem Koolhas, ki je v svoji knjigi SMLXL šel dlje ter vlogo in status arhitekture v postmodernem času ponazoril z japonskimi pornopodobami, kjer so »spolni organi« zablurani. A to je vsaj na metaforični ravni kompleksen odnos do realnosti. Eksplicitnost in enolično ponavljanje, kot ga ponuja običajna pornografija, sta za ubogo staro arhitekturo še toliko bolj ponižujoča.

A ima fotografija k sreči še mnogo drugih obrazov in možnosti. S fotografi se je vedno zelo prijetno pogovarjati o arhitekturi, saj razvijajo precizen pogled, ki skenira arhitekturo kot pri zdravniškem pregledu ali na rentgenski sliki. Za razliko od renderjev je na fotografijah vedno prisoten odsev realnosti. Zato so fotografije lahko bizarne in celo subverzivne, lahko lažejo, lahko pa so tudi enostavno lepe.

V Slovenski arhitekturi je ubrala arhitekturna fotografija skupaj z arhitekturo svojo specifično smer, zlasti v 50-ih in 60-ih, ko je postala skoraj pomembnejša od arhitekture same, saj je dobila družbeno vlogo reprezentacije ideala nove družbe in njene arhitekture. Kraji kot Nova Gorica, Velenje in arhitekture kot zadružni in kulturni domovi, tovarne in stanovanjske soseske so tako tudi v fotografiji del socialističnega imaginarija, parad, štafete in podobe maršala. To se spremeni vzporedno z emancipacijo arhitekture, skozi Ravnikarjevo konstrukcijo ljubljanske šole. Arhitektura in z njo fotografija postaneta glasnik poetične in humanistične arhitekture. Ta tradicija je pri nas zdržala in sodobna slovenska arhitekturna fotografija se skupaj s sodobno arhitekturo uvršča v špico evropske produkcije.

Miha Dešman

Opombe

  1. Eric de Maré, Architectural Photography (1975) Penguin books
  2. Adolf Loos, Trotzdem, Prachner, 1982, slov. prev. Arhitektura, v: Oikos in drugo, o Loosu in Wittgensteinu, Krt 47, 1987
  3. Beatrice Colomina, Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media, The MIT Press, 1996
  4. Beatriz Colomina, »Introduction: On Architecture, Production and Reproduction« in Beatriz Colomina, ed., Architectureproduction (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1988), 15–16; glej tudi Jean-Louis Cohen, »Introduction« v Le Corbusier, Toward an Architecture (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2007), 1–78
  5. David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change, Wiley, 1989
  6. Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, Blackwell Publishing, 1991
  7. Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, »The Architectural Uncanny in the Photographs of Andrea Robbins and Max Becher« in Andrea Robbins and Max Becher, ed. M. Catherine De Zegher (Kortrijk: Kanaal Art Foundation, 1994), 17
  8. Mobilna aplikacija Instagram. Aplikacija nam omogoča, da posneti fotografiji dodamo poljuben prednastavljen filter, s katerim dobi »umetniški« značaj. Vtis je, da s pomočjo aplikacije ustvarjamo »edinstvene umetnine«, ki jih z dodatkom hashtaga vpnemo v svetovni splet.

editorial

The photography of architecture, the architecture of photography

A picture is worth a thousand words … This includes architectural photography, which has long been the leading medium for presenting architecture.

As architects, we are reluctant to grant others the right to interpret and judge our works. We demand to have a say in the mounting of exhibitions, in magazine layout designs, in critics' texts. Yet professional architectural photography has managed to win an autonomous status for itself. It has become a mandatory part of an architectural story with a life of its own, independent of the otherwise leading role of the architect.

As the editor of an architectural publication, albeit a conservative one, I must respect the significance - or even the dominance - of the image in today's architectural discourse. Architecture has come to hinge upon the images by which it is represented, be it through competition- and procurement-phase renders, or through photographs in the battle for publication in magazines and online: with the help of architectural photographers, architecture has become a well-oiled machine churning out billions of images into the media sphere, where - in a cannibalistic ritual - they are also constantly being consumed. The extent of the dominance of the image is such that the great majority of consumers never get to see, hear, enter, smell, touch, or feel the real architecture or space. Nor do they miss doing any of that, or regret not having done. We have lost the third dimension, we have become two-dimensional!

How has it come to this?

Architecture has always been one of the foundational human activities, aggregating a wide spectrum of areas of creativity, knowledge, and action. It's an indispensable constituent part of personal, group-, national, as well as symbolic economy and identity. It attracts countless "dependent" practices into its sphere of influence, including the field of presentation and representation, and thereby architectural photography. The relationship between architecture and everything it comes in contact with - that is to say, practically the world as a whole - is by definition placed somewhere between art and science; the same is true of the relationship between architecture and photography. Both practices include elements of technology and science on the one hand, and creativity and art on the other. Photography is, according to Eric de Maré and his book Architectural Photography (1), building with light, or writing with light. The term is Greek: light and writing, photo, deriving from the word phos, meaning light, and graphia, deriving from the word graphi, which means to write or draw. In Greek, the word for photography is written thus: φωτογραφία.

Once an architecture is built, it begins its independent life. It liberates itself of its creator - the architect, the contractors heave a sigh of relief, and the users begin to move in. But before it is inhabited by people and objects, a black visitor appears, hauling heavy equipment and quietly skulking around the building and through the spaces. They look for the perfect angles and light, they get busy setting up tripods and squaring away remains left by the builders, they tirelessly adjust the barndoors and turn the lights on and off. For a few hours or a few days, the architecture is theirs. This lonely hunter is the architectural photographer, who establishes one of the important "truths" of the new architecture, a truth different to that of the architect or the user, and furthermore one which will determine the architecture's success in the media, its renown among the peers, and its fame. The images that are captured though the photographer's lenses may be more beautiful and important than the real architecture - or they might not. They may change the understanding and reception of the architecture, they may pique the interest of editors and architectural prize juries, they may even irreversibly justify, modify, codify its fate. The images are as much captured as they are reimagined; they have the mysterious power to hide or reveal, to beautify or uglify, to clarify or mystify the real architectural work.

What is this mysterious power of photography? Where does it derive from? Whereto does it reach?

Architectural photography is primarily about what is in front of the lens. What comes out the back end has a subordinate function, it is a derivation, not an independent thing. The photographer translates reality into an image by trying to understand, read, and write it. Architectural photography is a message!

The relationship between photography and architecture was established simultaneously with the invention of photography in the early 19th century and has undergone a significant development since then. No motif could have been more appropriate than architecture for the long exposure time and limited depth of field of the first cameras - architecture can pose for almost indefinitely long, particularly if the sky is clear and there are no passers-by to interfere with the shot. This is how buildings and cities soon found themselves in front of lenses and how collections of drawings, engravings, lithographs, and other techniques which had been used to depict architecture until then were replaced by collections of architectural photographs. Photography became the primary medium of conveying and collecting architectural works: thanks to photography, one has access to both the past and the present of architecture.

If during the beginnings of the history of architectural photography - which is as old as photography itself, namely just under 200 years - the leading role and the final word rested with architecture and the architect with the role of photography being initially limited to documenting architecture as it "really" was, the present day finds the architect at the mercy of architectural photographers and photographs whenever our architecture is to be conveyed and judged. The translation of architecture to the two-dimensional photographic surface has been susceptible to ideologies and politics, to the changing fashions and manipulations, from the very beginning. Photographic images are not a mere objective reflection of the real world and architecture; they depend on various subjective choices (of motif, shot, lighting, focus, etc.) which address and express the ideologies and tastes of the time in which they were produced, the author (photographer), and technology.

Often, one's only image of an architecture has been conveyed through a photograph - who isn't familiar with the iconic photo of Johnson's Glass House in Connecticut, the Sydney Opera House, or the photo of the Great Wall of China. Yet few have experienced these buildings "in situ". This testifies to the importance of the architectural photographer, who passes the photograph on to the media, magazines and books, the Internet, etc.

Modern architecture was the first to have seriously begun to market itself, and architectural photography was of great help. The history of architecture and architectural photography in the Modernist period oscillates between rejection with Adolf Loos (2), who accused photography of moving away from reality, to its affirmation as a means of mechanical and industrial reproduction, e.g. with Walter Gropius, who celebrated the significance of photography in Bauhaus. Albert Renger-Patzsch shot the Fagus Werk for Gropius as a cold modern architecture without the workers and products (shoes). The architecture was given the moniker Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity). At the time, the absence of the proletariat in architectural photographs of factories was criticised both by Bertolt Brecht and by Walter Benjamin.

The Russian avant-garde also expressed itself through photographs - in his photographs of architecture, e. g. Ginzburg's Narkomfin building in Moscow, Rodchenko gravitated towards abstraction the likes of which would not be tolerated by today's editors of architectural magazines. Frank Lloyd Wright another pioneer of presenting architecture through photography. Photography manuals with his family home projects were intended for Americans who might commission their own home with him. But he also published luxury portfolios of his works for more discriminating audiences.

As early as the 19th century, parallel to the history of architecture, there ran the invisible history of photo manipulation and retouching. Modernism only further radicalised these practices. Erich Mendelsohn made countless sketches based on the photograph in trying to find the motif and the scale for the ostensibly spontaneous virtuosity of the famous dynamic sketch of the Einstein Tower. To this day, students use this technique on their sketches in their practical classes for History of Architecture. And it is only a tiny step from such use and misuse of photography to the kind of iconicity of photography which had replaced the iconicity of the building itself.

Beatriz Colomina (3) writes that Le Corbusier insisted on directing photographs with the intention of having photography support his theories and the understanding of the printed media, this "new creative environment as a parallel reality to the construction site, or the real architecture itself" (4). A similar use of the symbolic role of photography is exhibited in Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's early photomontages, where the architect makes a composite image from a drawing and a photograph of the glass skyscraper (1921–1922) in Friedrichstrasse, Berlin, to achieve a realistic image of an unrealised building.

Episodes such as these showcase the use and manipulation of architectural photography with the intention of representing architecture or its idea. Up to the present day, especially through digitalisation and 3D presentations, this approach has developed into one of the most powerful tools at architecture's disposal. After all, many architectures made by modern architects resemble black-and-white photographs anyway. This is true both of Mies's Villa Tugendhat in Brno and Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye in Paris, as well as numerous other modern houses, which are monochromatic and photogenic with their white walls and black window frames. The Modernist period also marked the emergence of photographers such as Julius Shulman, who professionalised architectural photography into an independent craft and art discipline.

The difference between reality and depiction grew in the time of Postmodernism, when the rhetorical and ideological function of photography became part of the mass media. We are dealing with a crisis of representation, which D. Harvey (5) describes as a dissolution of the relationship between form and function amounting to freely used signs and freely interchangeable content. The relationship of cause and effect between form and function is suspended. The attribution of meanings, the occupation of space now only happens conditionally. There is no firm link between the signified and the signifier. This can be explained by analysing the economy, the way advanced capitalism works (6). "Where money jangles, it is the whore who rules," wrote Friedrich Nietzsche, calling upon the fact that with money, even truth can be bought, whereupon it offers itself to anyone who is able to pay up. This is how art loses its innocence, and what is passed on is by necessity impure. The same is true of those who keep this endless loop going, the dealers on one end as much as the artists on the other. The collapse of money as a guarantee of value has caused the crisis of representation of anything-for-anything-else in advanced capitalism, thereby setting the course for the transition into Postmodernism. The deregulation of financial capital has been followed by the deregulation of symbolic capital. The migration of capital onto the computer platform and, parallel to that, of all the symbolic practices onto the digital one, has complicated the situation further. As a consequence, this has brought on a drastic change for the city and architecture, with a change in photography following closely. The interchangeability of cities, people, and architectures within a freely accessible database enables and encourages an anything-goes situation with copy-paste as the basic creative principle.

Nowadays, in times visually bursting at the seams, architecture submits to photography in a new and different way. Planning often becomes a process of setting the scene for taking photographs, the architect begins to think like a photographer, i.e. with the shot in mind. In the works of Postmodern architects, the masses, materials and spaces begin to adapt to the laws of the architectural surface in the never-ending process of transfiguration of the tectonic and spatial into a spectacle (7).

There was another revolution in the Postmodern period. In the works of Thomas Struth, Gursky, and others, photography is becoming more and more like painting. Large colour photographs have won over the painting and fine-art audiences, they are exhibited in art galleries and fetch incredible prices. Architects such as Herzog & De Meuron collaborate with photographers, e.g. Thomas Ruff, as authors of equal standing already in the process of planning, not just in post-production.

However, the decisive change in the concept of architectural photography has certainly been brought about by the all-conquering digital photography and the Internet. With the techniques of digital-photography post-production, everything became possible, and the dividing line between amateur photographers and professionals, which had previously been drawn at expensive professional equipment and know-how, has largely become blurred. New models of photographic equipment, as well as new techniques and software for the creation of "frozen images", are constantly being developed. Photography has achieved penetration and proliferation that are out of control.

The emergence and global reach of the World-Wide Web has created new conditions where one is able to instantly bring an architectural photograph closer to the entire world. Digital technology increases the possibilities for artists and enables new dimensions. Distributed databases, public collections like Wikipedia and Instagram, platforms such as Flickr, and countless public and private blogs are forums where photographs by amateurs and professionals go head-to-head against one another and are scrutinised in real time. There is an ever-increasing abundance of specialised portals where architectural photography has become an object of desire, as well as a peculiar competition in how convincingly the author and the fact of having been commissioned are erased from them - similarly to Internet pornography. The similarity is no coincidence, the two terms are related.

Nowadays, architects produce hyper-realistic images before they even begin with serious planning, and this compulsion has seemingly become the norm. But there is something obscene in these counterfeit photographs. I cannot but compare the images of unbuilt buildings with pornography. Needless to say, I had been beaten to this realisation a long time ago by Rem Koolhaas, whose book SMLXL goes even further and illustrates the role and status of architecture in Postmodern times with Japanese porno imagery where the "sexual organs" are blurred out. However, on a metaphorical level at least, this is still a complex relationship to reality; the explicitness and mundane repetition as offered by regular pornography are that much more degrading to tired old architecture.

Fortunately, there are many other faces and possibilities to architecture. It is always nice to discuss architecture with photographers because they have a trained, precise eye which scans architecture like a doctor at a check-up or looking at an X-ray image. Unlike renders, there is always a reflection of reality present in photographs. This is why photographs can be bizarre and even subversive, they may lie, and they may also simply be beautiful.

In Slovene architecture, architectural photography - together with the architecture - carved out its own specific path, especially in the 1950s and 60s when its significance almost surpassed that of the architecture itself, having been bestowed with the social role of representing the ideal of the new society and its architecture. Places like Nova Gorica and Velenje, and architectures such as co-operative halls and cultural centres, factories, and residential neighbourhoods are part of the Socialist imagery of parades, the Relay of Youth, and Marshall Tito's likeness also in photography. But all of this changes together with the emancipation of architecture via Ravnikar's construction within the Ljubljana school of architecture. The architecture, together with photography, becomes a herald of poetic and humanist architecture. In Slovenia, this tradition has endured in order for the contemporary Slovene architectural photography, and the contemporary architecture likewise, to make up the pinnacle of European production.

Miha Dešman

Notes

  1. Eric de Maré, Architectural Photography (1975) Penguin books
  2. Adolf Loos, Trotzdem, Prachner, 1982, slov. prev. Arhitektura, v: Oikos in drugo, o Loosu in Wittgensteinu, Krt 47, 1987
  3. Beatrice Colomina, Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media, The MIT Press, 1996
  4. Beatriz Colomina, »Introduction: On Architecture, Production and Reproduction« in Beatriz Colomina, ed., Architectureproduction (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1988), 15–16; glej tudi Jean-Louis Cohen, »Introduction« v Le Corbusier, Toward an Architecture (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2007), 1–78
  5. David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change, Wiley, 1989
  6. Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, Blackwell Publishing, 1991
  7. Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, »The Architectural Uncanny in the Photographs of Andrea Robbins and Max Becher« in Andrea Robbins and Max Becher, ed. M. Catherine De Zegher (Kortrijk: Kanaal Art Foundation, 1994), 17