Interview with John Gollings for CCP Site Unseen

Photography by John Gollings

John Gollings is one of Australia's leading architectural photographers. For Site Unseen, John exhibits artful compositions with unusual components and embedded curiosities that play on perspective to direct the viewer to a clearer understanding of the form and stylistic attitude. John discusses what he brings to the image, what he doesn't and what has changed in the past decade.

Tell us about yourself, what’s your background and how has this led you to architectural photography?

John Gollings: I fell in love with photography at age nine but studied architecture at Melbourne University. After a stint as a fashion photographer, I realised that architectural photography was more important to the national estate so I started to major in it.

The exhibition poses the question, ‘what does the photographer bring to the image, and indeed, is the photographer’s presence welcome?’—how does this relate to your submitted work?

JG: My particular interest is describing the architecture not using it for my own creativity however I have often added elements to a regular image to help explain the meaning of the building and those images are the ones I’m showing.

What I don’t do because it’s not my interest is to look for details, patterns or mood where the building is the subject. For me, the building is an object that must be shown in full, even with context.

I do a lot of post-production and retouching, I want to be true to the architect's vision, not necessarily the reality. I’m looking for one memorable exterior and interior that most efficiently describes the building.

In the past decade, what about your work has changed and what has stayed the same?

JG: The big change has been the use of digital capture and postproduction. I can now place people when and where I want them and I think my aesthetic has changed to a richer moodier look.

To you, what subjects evoke the strongest personality through form?

JG: All scales of buildings have that potential, even rectilinear and curvilinear. It’s the vision and style of the architect that determines personality

What are you working on next?

JG: More of my own personal projects, a lot of aerial landscape, experimenting with a focus in people photos and more indigenous rock art.

For more of John's work visit or follow John on Instagram.

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