French architect and photographer Philippe Sarfati is launching the crowdfunding campaign for his long-term photography project Territories. The book highlights the importance of imagery in architecture and its strong impact on our perception of built works, demonstrating the potential of allowing more diversity into architectural representation.
Philippe Sarfati has been involved in photography for many years and first got international attention when he won the Sony World Photography Awards 2019 in the architecture category. His project has also been selected into 15 other festivals and competitions since then. The latest is the Architizer One Photo Challenge 2021. He won the Commended Entry with ‘Echo’, and his work will be on show in a virtual and self-designed solo exhibition at the London Festival of Architecture from June 1 to June 30. The first impulse behind this experimental project was to inject street photography methodology, particularly the reliance on randomness and spontaneous behaviour, into architectural photography. Philippe writes: ‘Inspired by Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine’s films, I wanted to show buildings through the eyes of their users, presenting spaces as inhabited territories. Acclaimed works of architecture become dramatic backdrops to everyday scenes, their radical geometries framing simple acts.’
Over 440 pages, the book depicts 99 remarkable buildings situated in 12 countries and designed by 52 architecture firms. The collection of 233 photographs aims to explore the relationship with architecture, how people live with it, consider its value, promote it. The book is designed as a hybrid between two book typologies: the abstract photo book and the theoretical architecture book. The project’s purpose was to provide a different perspective on built works and the book design naturally amplifies this desire.
Buildings are always shown indirectly – the reader never sees plans or sections. In the photographs, we see them through people. In the text, Philippe shares small anecdotes and information about their designers, engineers, clients, budgets and surfaces. That is all the information usually ignored by the general public, but crucial for having a basic understanding of any operation’s context.
The book is built around two intertwined sequences, two rhythms that each have their impact on the perception of photographs. The ‘fast-forward’ black pages only show one situation per building, moving from one vision to the next without any explanation. The white pages show ‘Walks’ – exploration sequences that are more immersive and allow the viewer to wander through buildings, offering a glimpse into their spatial qualities and atmosphere. The first narrative uses spaces to amplify unique, punctual situations and portraits, while the second uses these situations to explore and reveal these well-known spaces in a new light. The book is somewhat peculiar and personal, in the sense that all content – from the photographs and the editing, to the graphic design and the text – was produced by the same person, except for the introduction written by international blogger and communications expert Christiane Bürklein.
Philippe Sarfati accompanies his crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter with an interactive virtual gallery, where interested people can walk through the images and get a closer and direct insight into the artist’s work.
About Philippe Sarfati
Philippe Sarfati is a 29 year old architect and street photographer, based in Paris where he studied architecture. He began his career by working as a graduated architect with MVRDV in Rotterdam. Currently, he works as an architect with Clément Blanchet Architecture in Paris.
About Christiane Bürklein
Christiane Bürklein is a networker and communicator at heart, who has been writing about architecture and photography for more than a decade as a blogger and has contributed to various books on photography, architecture and communication.