We’re 40! How did that happen?
We grew up so quickly….. It doesn’t seem like two minutes ago that Bradley and I recorded the first, very shaky and nervous, episode back in January 2018. A lot has changed since then.
Outerfocus started as a way to introduce some photography history, in an easily digestible manner, and to have conversations with photographers, about photography. The two things that helped me most with my own photography were: An understanding of where photography came from, and, what drove photographers to practice.
Although the photography history aspect of the podcast has dwindled somewhat in the past few months, I feel the conversations are becoming stronger, and that takes us on to the, ‘why’. The, ‘why’, is what helped me to understand myself and the world around me. I learned more about photography by understanding the philosophies of photographers than I did by looking at their photographs. It made me realise that the idea is important, and the photograph is just a consequence of our study and practice. Maybe not for everyone, but that’s how I came to understand it and it fundamentally changed me as a human being. It also freed me from not just the constraints of industry expectations, but societal expectations, too.
So, Happy 40th to Outerfocus! I hope that me passing on some of what I think is important in photography, and life, can raise some questions and create some new ideas for you. I’m not doing this alone mind you. The guests are adding their own unique perspective to the Outerfocus archive, and I’m still learning, a lot, and long may that continue.
I expect you all know of the photographers that had an influence on me, but there are some that never really get a mention. Mostly because the genres they work in don’t come up in conversation too frequently. I mean, name one architectural photographer…….I could easily name a few, but that’s because it’s something I have a great interest in. I know who the first one would be, though, and when it comes to individuality there aren’t many better than the rather exceptional, Hélène Binet.
Hélène is a Swiss-French architectural photographer living in London, and she is one of the leading architectural photographers in the world. Best known for her work with architects Daniel Libeskind, Peter Zumthor and Zaha Hadid, she has published books on works of several architects. She is the recipient of many awards over her 30+ year career including an Honorary Fellowship of Royal Institute of British Architects, 2008.
Most recently she was honored with the Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award in 2015, The Ada Louise Huxtable Prize 2019 and included in the Royal Photographic Society, 100 Heroines. The latter being important to Hélène as it comes from outside of her working genre, brings a new audience to her work and the idea that architectural photography (a term she isn’t too keen on) isn’t just a commercial venture.
*NOTE - I confused the 100 Heroines award with the 209 Women Project I was reading about earlier that day. Details of that can be found here, and the resulting book, 209 Women, celebrating the centenary of women's suffrage and championing the visibility of women, can be found on Kickstarter.
From April 19 to July 21, 2019, Shanghai’s Power Station of Art will present Hélène Binet: Dialoghi, works from 1988 to 2018, her first solo institutional exhibition in China.
Hélène’s monograph, Composing Space, is a rare and beautiful book. A book that I loaned to someone some time ago and can’t remember who. The kicker is, is that it’s incredibly expensive to replace, so fingers crossed for a re-print.
I could go on and on about Hélène’s achievements but you can go find out, and enjoy, for yourself. There is heart and soul and honesty to Hélène’s work and her approach is something that we can all learn from. It was a great pleasure for me to talk with her and I hope you enjoy our conversation.
If you are a fan of what Outerfocus is doing, for the price of a beer or two - or coffee if you’re that kind of person - per month you can support us through our Patreon page. You will get free entries to our upcoming Outerfocus Awards and will be the first to receive exclusive content in the future. We have ideas and plans to grow Outerfocus and your donations will help us to achieve that.
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