Peter Durant is a respected specialist architectural photographer, with over 25 years’ experience working with established award winning and new emergent architectural practices as well as major museums, property developers and manufacturers. His work has been published in all major architectural and design magazines worldwide, as well as architectural books and monographs.
Peter’s first talk before the break was entitled “Vermeer to Here” and explored optics in painting 1430-1890, focusing specifically on Vermeer’s “Little Street”. The second talk illustrated early photography 1839-1900, then covered Modernism and Architectural Photography, and finished with contemporary alternative images of our built environment.
Peter explained recent work by several scientists, art historians and artists such as David Hockney, who have explored the use of optics, including mirrors and lenses, in painting. This is a controversial area, but there are strong arguments in favour of artists having used optics from the Renaissance onwards to be able to trace landscapes and portraits from real life in order to create more realistic representations. Some of the relevant publications can be seen in the slide below left.
Fascinatingly, the first image to be “fixed” by chemical means (i.e. a photograph) rather than by tracing and painting, was an architectural landscape. The view from Frenchman Joseph Nicephore Niepce’s family window in 1826/7 and his prototype camera can be seen in the slide above right. Peter then illustrated the development of photography through the 19th and early 20th century with examples of the work of (amongst many others) Daguerre, Fox Talbot and Eugéne Atget (below left).
Peter then turned to Modernism and Architectural Photography, starting with Edward Weston and Paul Strand (above right). The Bauhaus influence was spread by Lásló Maholy-Nagy (below left) and Lucia Maholy, and the Russian Constructivist influence by El Lissitzky and Aleksander Rodchenko (below right).
With Frank Yerbury’s photograph of Le Corbusier’s 1927 Villa Stein with car parked outside (below left), the specialist architectural photographer had arrived. In 1975/6, “New Topographics”, a photographic exhibition of a man-altered landscape effected a permanent change in the development of architectural photography, leading to photographs such as Peter’s own image of the Museum Angewandte Kunst (below right).
Peter tantalised us with a few more of his own stunning shots, clockwise from top left below: a dusk shot with a glowing building, the texture of water in Trafalgar Square, the use of reflections for multiple images in the V&A, abstractions in Fleet Street, clean lines in Crawley, blurred figures in the British Museum, a homage to Vermeer in Oxford, and a witty picture of “Urbania”. Finally Peter is working on abstractions of details and colour (bottom).
Peter’s contact details are:
+44 (0) 7973 148 735