Nov 11, 201310:29 AMPoint of View


Contemporary Lens: Simona Rota

Contemporary Lens: Simona Rota

(page 1 of 2)

Ostalgia: Residential Area 16th District, Yerevan, Armenia, 2011

Simona Rota

As a sort of update to this month’s feature, Soul Mates, which takes a look at the long and intimate relationship between architecture and photography, I set out to find exciting fresh perspectives in the field.

Not all of the photographers in this series would describe their work as architectural—some of them specialize in landscapes, others in capturing the nuances of human faces. But in bringing this experience to their documentation of the built environment, they are finding more nuanced and humanistic views of buildings.

This week,I spoke to Madrid-based Simona Rota, who trained in political science, and whose work explores environments transformed by politics. Rota brings a critical, yet calm vision to seemingly dystopian subject matter. In addition to working on personal projects and collaborating with leading architects, Rota contributes regularly to Domus magazine.

Soohang Lee: How did you start taking photographs and at what point did you become interested in architecture?

Simona Rota: I’ve started recently though I always had a camera available to photograph. Whenever I have the camera on, I think of myself to be as awkward as that character from Twin Peaks (David Lynch), the woman who carries a log in her arms and who seems to have no more purpose in the story than wandering through the scenes without ever renouncing her load. I didn’t begin to learn the craft of photography until 2009, when I decided to enroll in a school in Madrid and bought a professional camera.

I related to architecture in several ways. I studied political science and the project for my MA was about the construction, representation, and reception of the national image, a topic that obliged me to look into the relationship between architecture and politics of national branding. Since 2004 I have been working and collaborating with architects, as an office manager, as a communications consultant, as a marketing manager, and in that sense, my work involved a direct relationship with architectural photographers. In 2008 I sold some of my photographs to an architecture magazine. They were photographs of a building designed by the Icelandic architect Högna Sigurdadottir.

In my personal projects, architecture is omnipresent, without being the objective. For me, architecture is a visual tool to reflect about the use of territory, the configuration of the built landscape, the artificial context, the expression of authority. We make architecture. Even if in my photographs there are almost no people, my interest is not about the objects but about the authors of those objects, the civilization that creates them.

Slideshow follows on page 2


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