Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tasmanian Modern : The Forgotten Architecture Photography Exhibition

I am delighted to announce the photographic exhibition Tasmanian Modern: The Forgotten Architecture, as part of the May 2010 Tasmanian Heritage Festival.

Through my photographic exhibition, Tasmanian Modern: The forgotten Architecture, I'll be exhibiting a series of architectural images that explore and celebrate our islands modernist 20th Century Architecture. I have always been inspired and captivated by modernist buildings that are often ignored or detested.

The more I travelled around Tasmania and explored streets, back lanes and country roads, I realised the sheer ubiquity of modernist architecture that exists in Tasmania. These range from State Government buildings and schools; a huge variety of post war homes; a new design method for churches that reflected the needs of a post war society; and the imposing power of industrial buildings. Through my photography I aim to tell a story about these often forgotten buildings.

Although Tasmanian towns and cities have a wide range of architectural styles, it seemed obvious to me that 19th century buildings tend to be promoted in Tasmania almost to the exclusion of all other periods. And this omission of modernist architecture has been a significant driving force behind my passion to document the period.

All styles of architecture go through unpopular phases. I have read old books that bemoaned the destruction of Launceston's Georgian street-scape and its replacement with Victorian buildings. Today Launceston's Victorian architecture is rightly celebrated. Similarly, the Art Deco period, until relatively recently, was ignored and often demolished for re-development and supposed progress. The same destruction and neglect that happened in the past continues to occur with many post war buildings today.

As architecture helps to give us all a sense of place and identity, it's important to appreciate all periods of architecture. If we continue to destroy and neglect modernist heritage, we will bequest to future generations a much improvised architectural legacy.

I have a passion for the social history behind the buildings as well, which means hours of research into the architects who designed buildings and social spaces. Through my photography, I strive to create an emotional impact that moves beyond simply what a building looks like. I want to provide an emotional response through crafting images that show a buildings qualities, and visually document buildings in ways that are not often appreciated.

I enjoy working and shooting in moody and overcast conditions, as this often helps create a particular atmosphere to a building's presence. It's about waiting for natural elements such as light and shadows to aid in creating a truly emotive photograph. Sometimes this can take days, weeks or even months! Persistence is the name of the game in photography.

I like to go back to places I have visited many times and this helps me create a relationship with a locale or building. My journey to document our modernist heritage is ongoing as the built environment is forever changing, providing endless opportunities for the pursuit of capturing a fleeting moment in time. My photographs and historical research are as much about my own enjoyment of modernist buildings as they are an attempt to create an awareness of the importance of Tasmania's forgotten and undervalued architecture.

Whether it was the home, state, work, or church, no part of Tasmania has escaped the march into modernity. Our modernist buildings are central in shaping our collective identity. The photographic exhibition, Tasmanian Modern: The forgotten Architecture, aims to highlight the importance of modernist buildings and how they enable us to reflect upon our past whilst challenging us to reassess our future.

Thomas-Liam Ryan


View Larger Map

(be rest assured that the building does now exist, in the above google maps image it was still being built!)

Date: Saturday 1 May to Monday 31 May 2010
Venue: The Atrium Café, 113 Cimitiere Street, Launceston
Time: Mon - Fri. 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Admission: Free

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About the project

Join me (Thomas Ryan Photography) on a photographic project documenting Tasmanian 20th Century Modernism from the 1930's to the 1980's. The entire project gallery of 1000+ images and counting can be viewed on my website under art projects. I have been undertaking this project for over a decade.

My portfolio of commercial and art projects can be seen on my website and I can be contacted here as well. All photographs are copyright of Thomas Ryan Photography. Unauthorised use is prohibited. Contact me for all enquires

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