The Shard is a building of immense scale and commercial ambition. Architectural photography usually celebrates the culmination of such ambition … Read More
The Shard is a building of immense scale and commercial ambition. Architectural photography usually celebrates the culmination of such ambition with images of pristine completion. By contrast, what I’ve found most interesting about the Shard, is the progress of its construction.
The photographs here are a selection from an ongoing project documenting the intrusion of the Shard into the London skyline. The thrust of its priapic concrete became most pronounced above the surrounding buildings in the autumn of 2010. Its once domineering neighbour, Guy's Hospital tower, rendered subservient; now a cute-Brutalist, pet-like accessory. Steelwork, encroaching from below, appeared at once skeletal and web-like, rapidly enmeshing the trapped core. This totem of exorbitance intrigued with its inadvertent, untimely imagery of decay; tower crane vultures picking at the gestating carcass.
As time passed, the paradoxical impression of entropy in construction has been gradually replaced with the immaculate (from a distance) blade of glass, gleaming (again, from a distance) in the twilight.
I've attempted to convey a sense of ambivalence in the series considered as a whole. There's an inevitable sense of menace in structures which dwarf humans to such an extent. The shroud of mist, or uplit cloud emphasise the distance between the ever-narrowing upper levels and the population confined to the ground. As a symbol of capitalism's tendency toward income disparity, it's fairly apposite. The gleam (seen from a distance) or slightly reptilian sheen (seen from closer-to) either side of sunrise or sunset – unique to the Shard among tall buildings, at least in central London – seduces.
The series is photographed on 5x4 Kodak Portra 400 & 160 NC, Fuji Provia 100F, and Ilford HP5.
Limited edition prints made by Metro Imaging in Clerkenwell are available via my online gallery. Read Less