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AR Reading List 006

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The latest instalment of our new series of AR Reading Lists: seven carefully chosen pieces from our archive, free for registered users

With the advent of photography our consumption of architecture came into crisis. Photography construes architecture as image and places ‘a copy of the original into situations which would be out of reach for the original itself’, as Walter Benjamin wrote in 1935. A void opened up between the building and its representation. Freed from being rooted in a context, the image is open for interpretation, manipulation and for dissemination. 

Photography was the ideal medium for Modern architecture. Its sleekness was sophisticated and it never lied, but it liberated the building from the tyrannies of time, of weathering, of use. Now, through flashy architectural photography the building can be sterilised and made into a shiny product for capital. The ambiguity of the photo is also a source of endless inspiration, and its easy distribution offers a collectivised way of seeing. This week’s reading list looks at the tangled relationship between photography and architecture. Is architecture inseparable from its image?

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