A Cultural Space ... 

Alex Miller

Whilst on vacation in Australia in the spring of 2017, I started thinking about taking on a project that would meet a number of objectives.  I wanted something that would in involve learning new skills, have a creative element to it, involve travelling, span a number of years and finally have a product at the end of it that would enable me to keep focus.

Having had an appreciation for modern architecture and an interest in photography for some time it seemed obvious that bringing these two disciplines together, sometimes referred to as Architography, would be a great basis for this new project.  

So the project concept was born ... to create a book of my photographs accompanied with some interesting facts and creative commentary about the buildings.  If I could get the architectural firm to provide some insights on the thought process, creative thinking and challenges in the design of the building that would provide an extra dimension to the book.  I have, however, no idea if I will be able to engage the architectural firms in this project.

Sitting on that beach in Australia, my initial thoughts were to produce a book on "Tall" buildings (aka skyscrapers), especially as there were a number right behind me and have always felt that there is something quite amazing and powerful about their presence.  

Having spent about three months developing this book idea and researching the possible content I started moving away from the idea of skyscrapers for a number of reasons.  Although they can be majestic and impressive, they are fundamentally just tall blocks of offices or apartments, often concentrated in major city soulless downtown areas.  They are particularly difficult to photograph and isolate due to the size and lack of space between them, require expensive tilt shift lenses and  there is a disproportionate number in China, the Middle East, not necessarily they places I had envisaged spending most of my time travelling to.  I realised that a far better subject matter was that of "Modern Cultural Centres", such as exhibition centres, galleries, museums and theatres, basically any place that has been designed to be used by the creative arts.  These were places that I visited and enjoyed already.

By definition, these places are accessible, beautiful photographic subjects.  They are filled with amazing open spaces and most importantly, because they are creative spaces, they inspire some of the most amazing creative designs.  One only has to look at places such as the Guggenheim by Frank Gehry, Tate Modern in London, or the Heydar Aliyev centre in Baku, by Zara Hadid, to see what amazing and inspiring works of art can be created when not constrained by commercial returns and having to maximise the number of apartments or offices on a particular foot print.

So, the project has been born, a book called the "A Cultural Space" containing some two hundred spaces with the best imagery and commentary that I can create.  I anticipate that this will take about five years and take me and my wife to over 20 different countries.  This project will be a significant challenge enabling me to create, learn and travel as well as leave a small legacy and memory for my children and family.

Finally, the book will be designed and created by my amazing wife, Charlie, owner and creative director of CSD, a leading UK graphic design company.  I look forward to spending time and travels with my best friend.

The purpose of this web-site is two-fold.  Firstly to create a repository of the photosgraphs that I take as I go along which may, or may not, end up in the book and secondly to provide a space where I can document the journey using the Blog facility which seems to be a great platform to do this.