26th July 2017
In the 1980’s Italian photographer, Luigi Ghirri lived close to the San Cataldo Cemetery in Modena. At the time a new wing was being constructed designed by Aldo Rossi. Already knowing the architect through his essays, Ghirri was curious and found himself exploring the location documenting the evolution of the new wing.
Ghirri, drew me to his work through an article I had read in a book called Constructed Worlds by Preston books. What struck me about Ghirri’s work was the new way in which he captured and represented architecture in photographs. As he photographed San Cataldo through it’s construction he didn’t just document the process, he went back and looked for new relationships that had developed between the buildings. Once the building was complete these relationships could never be captured again.
Shooting through the different seasons, using the changing light at various parts of the day, he became more aware of the different characters that the building had to offer, changing the perception of the building through his photographs.
As Rossi said himself “Ghirri’s photographs of my work as as well as studio are that “something new” that only an artist recognizes. And I see in them something I was looking for but never found”.
During a recent trip to Italy I spent a morning photographing San Cataldo. Although I only shot for a small period of time, my small collection of photographs allowed me to compare my document to that of Ghirri’s.
The comparison cemented an idea that had started to form; Architectural photography doesn’t just have to be a document, it can be an artistic discussion that explores a building throughout its life.