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.