Heygate Abstracted

Fine art architectural photography project

Simon Kennedy visited the Heygate Estate in South London for over a year photographing the empty and abandoned spaces not as a form of social documentary but as an experiment in photography as architecture, using the camera and the processes of post-production to generate new spatial concepts. Kennedy’s photographs are not merely representations of an existing space but an attempt to create alternative spatial possibilities out of an existing architectural site.

To generate these photographs Kennedy returned to the site many times, continually refining the photographic series, at first using a range of digital cameras taking hundreds if not thousands of shots. Then through a process of critical editing the themes and forms of final series emerged and Kennedy moved to a large format film camera. This process continued albeit at a much slower and more considered pace until the final sequence was obtained. Once captured the process was still far from complete, the images were digitally scanned then subtly manipulated in the computer to construct the characteristics of the new spaces. The images were cropped and formatted, the colours were subtly graded, extraneous features removed, forms manipulated and the mist that washes through the images was introduced.

Kennedy’s photographs are not intended to be sentimental, they do not mourn the failures of post-war social housing and they are not photographs about the Heygate as “place”, in many ways the physical architecture is seen as simply supplying convenient forms that are re-organised and reduced to abstract compositions. The architectural elements of the Heygate Estate lose their “functionality” becoming planes and surfaces exposing the underlying abstractions of the original architectural project.

Words by Nic Clear

Prints are available in the Print Shop.

Architectural Photography and completed over a number of days. All images copyright Simon Kennedy, London Architectural Photographer.