16 October 2012

Architecture in Valencia

We're constantly on the lookout for new workshop possibilities, and besides animals and landscape, I have one other photographic passion: architecture. And for some reason, Spain seems to have been a breeding ground for excellent architects through the ages.

Veles e Vents
(architect: David Chipperfield)
When thinking of Spanish architecture, the first city that comes to mind is inevitably Barcelona. However, the architecture in that city has been photographed to death already. Therefore we opted to visit Valencia lately, to see what could be done there.

We were not disappointed. While Barcelona is absolutely beautiful, most of its architecture is dominated by the Spanish art nouveau style (“modernisme”) represented by, amongst others, Gaudí. Valencia is more of a smorgasbord of different architectural styles, ranging from medieval Gothic architecture to modernism to ultra-modern. Especially the latter proved to be pretty spectacular.

(architect: Félix Candela)
After deciding to reroute the river Turia in order to prevent flooding of the city, Valencia was suddenly left with 9 kilometres of dry rived bed. What to do with that? Well, of course, you ask a famous architect that was born and educated in your city to design a prestigious complex of museums and art centres. And so a whole complex of spectacular buildings, designed mostly by “local boy” Santiago Calatrava but also by Félix Candela, arose within the city. Work was started in the '90s of the last century and completed in 2005.

Throughout the week we spent in Valencia, this complex proved to be the most rewarding subject. However, we were in for a few surprises while shooting this spectacular architecture.

Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía
(architect: Santiago Calatrava)
The sheer size of the complex and its buildings forced us to take a different approach when shooting. For starters, comparing viewpoints to choose the best composition took hundreds and hundreds of metres walking back and forth (which is pretty gruesome in the July summer heat in Valencia, by the way – thank god for the excellent beer garden on the grounds!).

Also, we usually to like to have our images as “empty” and “clean” as possible, but here we deliberately chose to include people in our shots, just to give a good feeling of the sheer size of the buildings. What surprised us the most is the seemingly endless amount of good viewpoints – the buildings are so beautiful and so vast you seem to find a great shot wherever you point your lens.

Mercado Central
(architects: Alejandro Soler March
and Francisco Guardia Vial)
Since Valencia has many more beautiful buildings to offer (both old and modern), we've spent more than a week shooting at different locations. We've come back with quite a few images we're very pleased with and like to share with you — please see our website for more images.

Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe
(architect: Santiago Calatrava)
If you are interested in any of these or similar images, please let us know; they are available as prints in various sizes and finishes. If you would like to photograph any of these buildings yourself, please send us an email – we're investigating the possibilities of a photography workshop in Valencia and will gladly keep you informed!

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