To See What The Architect Saw

Takashi Homma on photographing Chandigarh

I think photography is important for architecture. Few people have the ability to travel to see architecture that they are interested in, so people end up experiencing a lot of architecture through images. I try to expand my photography beyond buildings, to consider what surrounds them. I always think of architecture as a kind of environment, and I’m particularly interested in seeing through a window or from within the building, to see what the architect saw.

I’ve been photographing Le Corbusier’s work over the years, and for me it was always a dream to visit Chandigarh. I had been to New Delhi and to the south of India a couple of times, and was somehow familiar with how people flow, chaotically, through the city. And even though Chandigarh, as a modern city, has an ordered grid that feels very different, the movement of people is the same. It is clear that people have conquered the buildings.

Although I went to Chandigarh without any historical background knowledge, what’s interesting with photographs is that you can still take them without knowledge of a place. I obviously discovered more and more about the city as time went by. At the bus terminal, I did not initially intend to produce a video, but ultimately, towards the end of my stay, I thought it would be nice to capture different scenes inside the station at different times of the day.

Because I am Japanese, I associate the architecture of Chandigarh with Kenzo Tange, who visited Chandigarh when he was young. While photographing Tange’s work, I see how strongly influenced it was by his visit to Chandigarh. When I went to the High Court, I imagined seeing it as Tange would have seen it.

High Court Portico, Chandigarh, India, March 2013 2

Takashi Homma, High Court Portico, Chandigarh, India, 2013. Digital video, 07min 10s. Commissioned by the CCA © Takashi Homma. The original audio of this work was the 2012 song “Break Up Party” by Honey Singh and Leo Grewal.

Central Bus Station, Chandigarh, India, March 2013

Takashi Homma, Central Bus Station, Chandigarh, India, 2013. Digital video, 07min 10s. Commissioned by the CCA © Takashi Homma

Edited excerpts from the event In conversation: Yto Barrada & Takashi Homma


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