Building with Light: The Legacy of Robert Elwall
An international symposium on architectural photography
Image: Sherborne School Dorset, 1960. © Edwin Smith / RIBA Library Photographs Collection
The RIBA announces an international symposium on architectural photography in conjunction with the first major retrospective of the British architectural photographer Edwin Smith (1912-1971), whose prolific work helped redefine the notion of post-WWII Britishness.
The symposium will honour the legacy of Robert Elwall (1953-2012), an acclaimed British historian of architectural photography and curator, since 1976, of the RIBA's Photographs Collection that now bears his name. With some million and a half architectural images, the Robert Elwall Photographs Collection is one of the most extensive resources for the study of the influence of photography on architecture and the creative process.
The two-day symposium aims to reflect on the role and relevance of architectural photography as a form of expression, as historical record and as spatial narrative. Additionally, the symposium will examine the impact of collecting architectural photographs as well as their preservation and dissemination by means of digitisation, exhibitions and publications. The presentations and discussions will pay tribute to the late Robert Elwall, founder of the RIBA Photographs Collection and a distinguished curator and author whose influential international history of architectural photography Building with Light has given the symposium its title.
Keynote speakers will include architectural photographers and academics such as Canadian photographer Geoffrey James whose panoramic images of the built landscape explore the relationship between society and its surroundings; Hélène Binet, a Swiss-French architectural photographer based in London and the author of Composing Space: The Photographs of Hélène Binet; Hugh Campbell, Professor of Architecture at University College Dublin; and Iñaki Bergera, a Spanish architect, photographer and theorist.
The symposium’s topics will cover broad research areas such as the historical and contemporary evocation of architectural interiors, buildings, place and landscape; forms of photographic response to genius loci and national identity; the reciprocal influence on and with publishing; and curatorial issues and approaches to architectural photography over time.
Building with Light symposium programme
(pdf size: 360kB)
Part of the season of events inspired by the exhibition Ordinary Beauty: The Photography of Edwin Smith.