Last week’s meeting: Chromatecture with Linda Wride
Before showing the images Linda gave two reasons why she is drawn to photographing the built environment, and two reasons why she isn’t attracted to other forms of photography. She has lived in cities all her life and all her working career has been spent linked to the designs of the built environment. She is pushed away from other forms of photography because she doesn’t own a car and can only get to places by public transport, and because of a back problem she cannot carry the array of gear required.
She then took us on a colourful and inspiring tour of the built environment starting in Morocco and the Atlas mountains where the buildings do not stand out from the landscape but are built of the same materials of the surrounding landscapes. The palette was nature’s and so were the building’s materials – brick, mud and stone. Some of nature’s materials do stand out and Linda showed how well this can be done with shots from Italy’s Florence, where the buildings used marble to stand out and certainly not blend in. Some of them had a very ‘Escher-esque’ look about them.
The next material was paint and the whitewash and blues of Santorini in Greece. The colours echo the Greek flag make stunning images and it not only the walls but doors, shutters, gates, sunshades and domed roofs that get the luscious white and blue treatment. Stand out paint was also on show in a different part of Morocco next, with the blues of Chefchaouen. The city has narrow alley ways where the walls, steps, doors are a riot of blue.
Now back to Italy and the fishing island of Burano next to Venice. The island’s buildings are brightly coloured because it can get very foggy on the lagoon and the fishermen need to know where homes is. In this small community people are known by the colour of their house. There were many outstanding images, one in particular stood out – three gondola shirts on a washing line in front of a brightly painted house.
Next up was the town of Trinidad in Cuba. This town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and Linda caught the mix of colourful and muted colour of the place where, if there is a doorstep then someone always has time to sit on it. Many of the houses do not have glass in the windows and cover the space with cloth which usually matches the family’s clothes.
From paint to the tiles the facades of El Cabanyal district of Valencia. This was full on Art Nouveau ceramic tiles on the exterior of the buildings. Blues, greens and turquoise. Still in Spain we were then taken to an astonishingly designed ‘tower block’ called La Muralla Roja designed by the architect Ricardo Bofill. Stunning does not do justice to the images Linda showed. She rented an apartment there for four days and spent the time walking around this colourful maze taking amazing abstract images of the walls, steps, banisters etc.
Linda finished the first half of her presentation with shots of what was a basketball court in Paris which did not at all look anything like a basketball court with its signs and numbers and colours.
In the second half we were show the colourful candy strips and colour bars on the cladding of Museum Brandhorst in Munich. It is dedicated to contemporary art and it is built to reflect this. We were also treated to Linda’s images of the art deco of the Museum fur Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt.
Nearer home was The Lowry, Salford Quays and lots of abstract shots of the colour and shapes which is a combination that attracts Linda. Back to Spain and to the Alcazar in Seville which was limited in its colour until you got further inside and looked up to the dome which represented the heaven.
Instead of focussing on a place Linda then gave us the colours of the rainbow with shots cladding on buildings from nearby Didcot, Antwerp, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and the bridge at the Olympic Park in London.
She then showed colour through reflections on building and rainbow colours of building inside and out before images of colourful beach huts in Hastings and Southwold, and much further north in Findhorn, which you can say are on the shoreline of the built environment.
Staircases allow architects to introduce colour into buildings and mix colour with shape, so do signs and markings and Linda had excellent abstract shots that captured this.
Linda ended her talk with art in the street, graffiti and murals.
An astonishing body of work, every image of the highest quality and a banquet for our eyes. Many thanks to Linda for sharing such an outstanding portfolio for work. You can follow Linda on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/lindawride/