This Photographer Explores One Thing All (Iberian) Buildings Have in Common

Metal sheets, panes of glass, immovable chunks of marble and blocks of concrete, all pasted against bare skies – like everything in the physical world, all types of architecture have one thing in common: they are all objects comprised of materials which are gradually fading; in the grand scheme of things, they are temporary. Hamburg-based photographer Carsten Witte presents this idea with his latest iteration of architectural photography, Iberian Architecture.

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“Most of my themes deal with beauty and evanescence. Everything fades over time, but photography can preserve things for eternity.”
- Carsten Witte

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Carsten is no stranger to photographing beauty: last time we spoke to him he was creating images of the human form in motion. His work is split between photographing architecture and photographing people. As a fashion and portrait photographer, Carsten has worked with Vogue, Marie Claire and Harpers Bazaar.

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For his Iberian Architecture series, Carsten has toured around Bilbao, Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Lisbon, capturing their buildings’ beauty with his idiosyncratic deconstruction technique, formed of layering different images on top of one another.

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We caught up with the travelling photographer.

THE PLUS: What was the concept behind this series? Why did you decide to make a series about Iberian architecture?
Carsten Witte:
As a child, I sent almost every vacation in Spain. It was my second “Heimat”, the place was my second home. I was confronted with different light and modern architecture on the coasts of northern Spain. Since 2011 I started travelling again and remembered my interest in architecture. That’s when I started the “Deconstruction” series.

TP: Your work is split between fashion/portraiture and architecture photography. How do you balance the two?
CW:
Very easily, I guess it’s like water and oil in a glass. When you work on it, it becomes almost one, and when you look at it a little later, you recognise they are two different media. On my Instagram page, these approaches mix in all the tiles, become one and stay separated.

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TP: What interests you about photographing buildings?
CW:
They don´t run away! Kidding. No, it’s their stability, fragility and grace. They are sometimes so unnatural and at the same time have a soul. It is mostly about lines, shapes, perspectives. I feel like a voyeur when I make my way around them. The building do not seem to care at all…

TP: Much of your photography which features architecture is centred on the concept of deconstruction. Can you tell us a bit more about the concept in relation to your work?
CW:
My approach is not Derridean. Deconstruction for me is the opposite of constructing a site. Like a living building, moving, dancing, enlarging itself. This is what I see, the transformation of a shell.

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TP: How long did you spend in Iberia?
CW:
The whole series is shot in five separate parts. All together about three weeks.

TP: Do you enjoy travelling for projects?
CW:
Really a lot. I just take my cabin baggage, camera and a few lenses. This makes me very independent. I drop my stuff in the hotel and start walking, sometimes for 40km a day…

TP: What’s your process of producing each image?
CW:
I walk around the building, checking out the best angles, collecting as much material as possible. I get a good idea how I will do the post-production later. Some locations I found, like the Barcelona Pavilion, I knew that they don´t need any deconstruction.

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TP: What’s involved in the post-production?
CW:
I do select about 10 slightly different perspectives of the same shot, do all perspective corrections and colour adjustments and melt them to one.

An exhibition featuring Carsten Witte’s work at Photography Galerie, Hamburg, Germany, will open from 3rd September, 2018.

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