As part of our Constructing Worlds event series, we invited a group of photographers for a special photography workshop in association with RIBA. With our Brutalist architecture as a backdrop, our photographers explored their skills capturing the urban sport, parkour.
From the day’s photography, we selected two winners and eight runners up and asked them to reflect on their favourite shots of the day.
My favourite shot of the day is this image. We were very lucky with some nice autumn sunlight just before the end of the workshop, which created some strong shadow on the building, transforming an otherwise mundane wall into and interesting canvas for the athletes’ shadows.
Chris Orr - Winner
'Angles and light' This gives a taste of the textures and shades the Barbican offers; dark, light, heavy, smooth, angular. The inclined cement wall leads you to the graceful swan-like leaping man, which then shoots you up into the blue sky, squeezed in between the buildings’ dark pointed angles and smooth white walls.
Sandra Fontano - 2nd Place
'Next Steps': We were lucky with the weather. The athletes cast superb shapes with their shadows on the walls of the Barbican but the location is lost in a close up image. In this shot the location is unmistakable but the movement and purpose of the silhouetted athlete is still clear.
I like the juxtaposition of the different plane views: jumper, Barbican cultural centre and Barbican flats in the background. It feels like the free runner is jumping into the Barbican. I also like the flag that gives the picture added context.
'Chiaroscuro mon amour': Contrasts are essential to considerations of architecture. The flowers, and the luminosity of the sky, stand in opposition to the texture of the buildings. The dynamism of the jumper’s curving body contradicts the angular lines of the buildings.
How far away is he, why did he jump, will he be alright! With the athlete in mid-air the threat of the buildings and his jump from them seems even greater.
'Concentration': I was initially drawn in by the strong lighting, shadows and how they give this image an atmosphere. In this shot I wanted to create an image that portrays the more measured and contemplative side of freerunning while also subtly hinting at many of the architectural details of the Barbican.
'Air Walker': The slow shutterspeed of this image produces a more abstract representation of the athlete in mid-air against The Barbican backdrop which works for me. I find it interesting.
The bars of the gateway in this image are an antithetical counterpoint to the freedom of physical movement embodied in the traceurs and create a tension which references the issues of trespass and engagement with environment raised by parkour practice.