BY PETER BOBBY
The "Zenith" images are a key part of the overall body of work High-rise and play a central role in extending the visual approach and overall discussion. In its entirety, the project examines the socio-political, architectural and visual discourse surrounding high-rise constructions and the recording of them, using a combination of both interior and exterior still and moving imagery. The project is positioned at the discursive crossroads between art, architecture, photography and subjects relating to the urban built environment.
Shown here, publicly for the first time as a discrete series of images in their own right, rather than interspersed with the interior images and video works that make up High-rise, "Zenith" presents an alternative view of these constructions. Taken from street level, our gaze is directed upwards towards dramatically illuminated building summits, separating these corporate constructions from other forms of high-rise developments. Through their illumination, these buildings quite literally crave our attention and compete for their place as significant structures within the hierarchical visual identity of our contemporary cities. They become demonstrations of corporate and individual power through their outward facing exterior image, which in turn points to the suggested social status associated with occupying such spaces.
"The decision by Bobby to photograph only the very tops of these tall buildings from below, presents them as inadequate beacons set against the dense, inky black void that dominates the picture frame. Importantly, the photographs are printed onto a specially selected heavyweight matte paper that presents the blackness as an absolute absence of light, offering the viewer a highly un-photographic referent. The high-rises in this series become mysterious citadels offering no outward suggestion of their function. They become instead lonely follies in their self-imposed isolation from the practices of everyday life that animates the more complex human activities and encounters of street level."1
1. Liam Devlin, “In sight. In visible. In situ…” in High-rise, Peter Bobby (Cardiff: Ffotogallery, 2015), 90.