(Re)Presention: Framing the Photograph

By Deepa Ramaswamy.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper will examine the use of the photograph as a ‘framed reality’ for the dissemination of early modern architecture’s ideologies, a process by which the photograph essentially became an object by itself, to be consumed by the reader as a signifier, existing autonomous of the built form it was supposed to present. For the study, the essay would use the distinctive visual portrayals of the Villa Savoye in the Oeuvre Complète as a case study, where it was featured for the first time since completion, written and edited by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret. The paper will try to show that the presentation of the Villa Savoye in the Oeuvre Complète follows a clear, identified narrative and motive, often framed to signify uniquely modern concepts of movement, ambiguity and decontextualization, playing an equal or more important role than the text within the publication, ceasing to be a part of the architectural project as a fragmented representation of a complex reality which could only be experienced by personally visiting the building, and starts existing as an autonomous individual architectural entity. In essence, the essay raises a larger question about the inherent duality in the perception of the role that the photographic image occupies within modern architecture, sometimes perceived and conveyed as the transparent presentation of the ‘real’ building, and sometimes as the autonomous signifier of the implied ideology of the movement. This is relevant in today’s architectural pedagogy and practice when the image has become of paramount importance, existing through photographs and rendered views.

Keywords: Presentation, Framing, Autonomy, Modernism, Ideology

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.129-138. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 6.021MB).

Deepa Ramaswamy

Student, MA in Histories and Theories, Architecture, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Deepa is an architect from Chicago who has an MA in Histories and Theories from the Architectural Association in London and a Masters in Architecture from Virginia Tech, USA where she received a graduate scholarship and teaching assistantship. She has a Bachelors in Architecture from Bombay University, India. Deepa has been a part of design studios in Mumbai, Washington DC and recently in Chicago, where she worked on projects in the Middle East and India within the international projects team of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK). Deepa’s recent MA thesis at the Architectural Association in London titled ‘140 Cricket Fields’ examined the qualities of objectivity, factuality and measurability that are ascribed to data owing to their processes of accumulation and contextualization, data thus becoming instrumental and operative in its relationship with architecture. The thesis of the research alluded to data being the agency that allows architecture to organize the city into precise and measurable projections through comparison and averages, offering a layer of fixity and predictability to the city, albeit, within an inherent condition of constant change.