anGLES. Brutalism. Barbican Centre, London. Pentax Q.

I like Brutalism architecture, I know I am not in the same camp as Prince Charles here but there is something striking and dramatic about such vast, complex structures that were poured into life to create social and functional spaces.

“Brutalism tries to face up to a mass-production society, and drag a rough poetry out of the confused and powerful forces which are at work. Up to now Brutalism has been discussed stylistically, whereas its essence is ethical.” [Alison & Peter Smithson, “The New Brutalism,” Architectural Design (April 1957)]

Another reason for loving this form or architecture is the dramatic shapes and shadows it casts on the landscape around it.  This is particularly true when you have sharp bright sunlight or overcast days to help elevate structure and lines.

I had an opportunity to photograph the Barbican Centre whilst visiting the Dorothea Lange exhibition in London which is a wonderful example of this architecture.

I kept the Pentax Q in my bag last week so had no excuse not to stop and take some photographs.

The camera was set to my high contrast black and white setting, therefore, I could see immediately on the screen where the light and shadow were playing with one another.

I shot RAW so the photographs have been converted back to black and white in Lightroom using the same settings to reproduce what I saw on that bright summer evening.

The evening sunlight and the contrast of the broken cloud also helped to add drama to the images.

IMGP4325.jpg
Pedestrian.  Barbican Centre, London.  Pentax Q.

It’s hard sometimes to see such a space and remember that as well as the museums, bars and cafes, this is also where people work, where the pupils of the City of London School for Girls attend lessons and where many people live.

There are many contrasts with the surrounding areas, notably fragments of London Wall, which was the defensive wall first built by the Romans around Londinium.

Brutalism can be found in many places around the world and it has it’s fans and it’s opponents.  You cannot deny though, that a “Brutal” building makes for some striking photography.

Here’s a selection of photographs I captured with the Pentax Q on Thursday evening:

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