Fifty50: fifty modernist churches, a 50mm lens
“As an architectural photographer, my creative practice is centred around making evocative images that go beyond a straight representation. ‘Fifty50’ investigates this notion through exploring modernist church architecture in Toronto.
While modernism was undoubtedly international, and has enjoyed a recent surge of popularity, it can be argued that religious architecture exists on the periphery of this movement, particularly in Canada. Moreover, modernist churches in Ontario have their own vernacular of sorts, more likely to be constructed from wood and brick/stone than the concrete and steel of their foreign contemporaries. This series often took me to the fringes of Toronto, to the overlooked suburban blocks of post-war neighbourhoods. The few modernist churches that remain in the centre are dwarfed by condo towers or bizarrely nestled by fast food joints, their days quietly numbered.
‘Fifty50’ challenges many tropes prevalent in architectural photography. I photographed with a minimal kit—a DSLR and a 50mm lens—so as to favour vignettes over the ultra-wide angled “hero shots” so prevalent in the field. I chose to present my images in monochrome, to shoot almost exclusively in winter or “bad” weather, to forego retouching damage on the buildings, and to include the “undesirable” trappings of urban sites (wires, signs, traffic, etc.), rather than digitally removing them. I don’t want to present an idealized version of these structures. With that said, the camera is never truly objective and this is not intended as purely documentary work—there is an underrated beauty in the raw edges.”
– Amanda Large
This exhibition was made possible with the support from the Ontario Arts Council.