I have this thing with buildings. Particularly the ugly ones. Sky scraping towers and harsh geometric shapes jutting across blue skies.
I’ve always had a superficial interest in architecture, visually anyway. I don’t claim to know anything about it, but I really like to look at it. Family trips away would often result in photos not of my family and me, but of facades and doorways.
When I lived in Brighton I fell for two tower blocks near my house. There was nothing nice about them, they were ugly and huge and completely out of place amongst the townhouses they loomed over. But there was something aesthetically pleasing about them. They caught the light, particularly at sunset, that gave them an unearthly, magical glow. Their sight was often comforting, too. Walking home I could spot them from a distance and know I was heading in the right direction.
It wasn’t until I moved back to London though, and began working in that hulking brutalist beauty, the Barbican, that my obsession became concrete (pun completely intended).
I started exploring the area on my lunch break and taking photos and it soon became habit, seeking out new buildings and snapping them up. It turned out to be a great habit. It made me notice my surroundings more, and take stock of details that often go unnoticed, even if they were part of bustling metropolises rather than a serene coastal vistas.
This habit has seeped into other things too, I find myself noticing patterns, textures and shapes where before in everyday occurrences. It might be a strange way to feel ‘present’ but it’s about the only way I’ve managed it so far. Plus, I now have a nice collection of images documenting London’s varied buildings – I’m no photographer, so I can’t promise they’re any good, but they do make me happy.