Nicholas Hawksmoor: Methodical Imaginings

Of the three exhibitions I visited back at the end of August (details of the other two can be found earlier in this blog), I think this one was not only the most unexpected, but it also gave me the most joy to view.  Again, at Somerset House along the Embankment in London, the space used for viewing these works was very similar to the Blumenfeld Studio, New York 1941-1960 exhibition I had visited previously; hence the rooms were large, airy and full of light, and a great space for viewing photographs.

The focus of this exhibition was a serise of works by the English architect Nicholas Hawksmoor, who during the early part of the 18th century was responsible for building what is thought to be some of London’s most important churches.

Although most of the viewers for this exhibit were probably there to look at the architecture of this prolific Englishman, my draw were the actual images on display.  Taken by London based photographer Hélène Binet, these photos would not be classed as your normal run of the mill images to highlight architecture, but the monochrome photos were taken from quirky angles, including parts of the structure not normally seen by the public, outlining some fantastic lines, shapes and shadows.

I felt that this was a great subject for a set of monochrome images, and the exhibition literature says of Binet:

Binet has photographed both contemporary and historical architecture.  Her distinct approach captures the nuances of buildings through light and shadow.

Moreover, this is what the images were made up of, a feast of white marble and limestone that, being bathed in directional light, cast interesting lines and patterns and created intriguing shapes within the shadows.

The photos were taken from interesting angles, some were more abstract and others omitting common information usually seen in architectural imagery, making you want to see more; perhaps this was the intention of the artist, by only showing small portions of the architecture, so if viewers are interested enough, they will want to go and see more of each location.

Researching more about Binet, it is evident that she is passionate about her work, and must be regarded well within her chosen industry as there are many instances where she has photographed not only specific projects such as the construction of the Tate Modern, but also many well known architects and their works throughout the world.  Not all of Binet’s images are monochrome, but I feel that those that are stand out more, perhaps that is because architecture makes for good black and white imagery, or perhaps I am just very keen and passionate about monochrome at the moment.  I think of all the photographers I have viewed during my time with the OCA, Binet’s work has stood out the most and I feel quiet inspired by her images as they really appeal to me.

Of all of the exhibitions I visited on ‘tumultuous Tuesday’, this exhibit was the only one that offered any kind of accompanying literature and for a small donation of £1; we were able to bring away a newspaper of the images on display.  This newspaper along with the exhibition details from Summerset House can be found in my sketchbook.



Binet, H.  (2013) Nicholas Hawksmoor: Methodical Imaginings [photography].  London: Summerset House.


Binet, H.  (2013) Nicholas Hawksmoor: Methodical Imaginings [photography].  London: Summerset House.

This entry was posted in Other Writings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s