Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Monday, May 4, 2009
The La Defense Photographs by R. Alter La Defense is an office development that is situated on the Western edge of the city of Paris, France. La Defense is a sprawling development of corporate office towers, shopping malls, and apartment houses. It is also home to the Grand Arch of La Defense , a towering white cube which is part monument and part office building. I photograph with a medium format film camera, for maximum flexibility and image quality. The film negatives are then scanned and I make large-scale ink jet prints. The prints themselves create a purposeful contradiction of surface and feeling. The print is on cotton rag paper or canvas. It has softness, a touch, and a texture. The archival ink resides on and in the surface. Yet the subject matter is glass, concrete and stone polished to a smooth hard surface. My images disregard the rules of photography. In architectural photography, the photographer must never tilt the camera at an extreme angle, if you do; the lines of perspective are tilted and skewed. The resulting image would display distorted lines and displeasing foreshortening effects. I chose to allow this to happen and the images begin to resemble an abstract painting. The photographs are documents of a work of architecture and a particular place, but they are also formal exercises in arranging line, form and color. The photographs are also a commentary on the global phenomena of massive corporate office development.
The subject of many of my photographs is the relationship of buildings to plants. This intersection of natural and built environments is seen in organic and geometric forms. The La Defense Series images are a way for me to observe and try to understand the corporate and commercial world that we are building for ourselves and that we inhabit.