Hélène Binet’s latest exhibition catches the emotions of room

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The new show graphs the photographer’s 30-year profession

Hélène Binet does not call himself an “architectural photographer”. Rather, she views her work as “a way to understand the place in the world”. The girl images do not celebrate the buildings she captures, but invite the viewer in order to “project their own dreams, to provide an idea or feeling which is present in the space”.

Hélène Binet, John Hejduk, Object/Subject Riga, Philadelphia, United States, 1987. Hand-printed black-and-white silver-gelatin printing, 29 x 29 centimeter. © Hélène Binet.

Binet’s latest show, Light Lines: The particular Architectural Photographs of Hélène Binet , at the Royal Academy associated with Arts, London, showcases work produced over the past three decades. Buildings designed by architects such as Le Corbusier, Zaha Hadid RA, Nicholas Hawksmoor, and Daniel Libeskind all feature. Binet does not focus on buildings in their entirety, but instead hones in on specific spaces as well as the lights, emotions, and emotions they hold. “You need to understand the beast you are going to shoot, ” she says. “It is beautiful to be in one place for a day, taking a look at the light. It’s meditative however it gives you a physical sense of how much we are moving, and how we are part of a bigger complex of the universe. ”

The exhibition comprises more than 90 images from twenty projects by 12 architects, demonstrating the range of subjects Binet has photographed during her career. She works with an analogue large-format digital camera and hand printed many of the photographs in her northern London studio. “The process of printing and making has always been important, to have a physical connection with what I make, ” she explains.

Hélène Binet, Atelier Peter Zumthor, Klosterbruder Klaus Field Chapel, Wachendorf, Germany, 2009. Digital black-and-white silver-gelatin print, 102 x 80 cm. Courtesy ammann // projects. © Hélène Binet.

One section of the exhibit is devoted to the long-standing professional relationship  between the photographer and the architect Zaha Hadid RA. The particular duo collaborated multiple times, along with images of Hadid’s MAXXI Museum of Art, Glasgow Riverside Museum of Transportation, and Vitra Fire Train station. Thermal Baths at Vals by Peter Zumthor Hon RA and Le Corbusier’s La Tourette and the Jantar Mantar Observatory also appear in the show, demonstrating Binet’s recurring relationship with Brutalist interiors.  

Binet’s images constantly teeter between the minimalist simplicity and an architectural complexity, as the musician balances the ambience associated with her environment with the harsh light, shape, and angles of the interior. In one more section, the photographer shows on architectural photography’s capability to denote the natural world. “I hope that visitors will come from the exhibition feeling closer to the particular architects’ art of making, plus might also see the spaces that will belong to their own life plus experience in a new method, ” Binet explains. “Working on this show has been such as meeting old relatives and friends, and I have noticed how relevant they are in my opinion still, and to the suggestions that I continue to develop inside my work. ”

Hélène Binet, Sergio Musmeci, Ponte sul Basento, Potenza, Italy, 2015. Digital black-and-white silver-gelatin print, 153 x 120 centimeter. © Hélène Binet.

Light Lines: The Architectural Pictures of Helene Binet, is on show at the Regal Academy, London, from twenty three October 2021 — 23 January 2022. More information can be found here .

Isaac Huxtable

Isaac Huxtable joined the British Journal of Picture taking in October 2020, in which he is currently the Editorial Associate. Prior to this, he examined a BA in History of Art at the Courtauld Instititue of Art, London.

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