Danica O. Kus has photographed Serpentine Summer Pavilions since 2009. The latest by Mexican architect Frida Escobedo is the tenth that she has documented. The architectural quality of each temporal Pavilion and their unique characteristics has been an enduring inspiration for her photographic work.
An exhibition showcasing her photographs of the ten Pavilions will be open during the London Festival of Architecture at the Slovenian Embassy in London. For architectural photographers the opening of the Serpentine Summer Pavilion in June is one of the highlights of the year. I asked Danica about the very special nature of the Serpentine series and its meaning for her.
How would you describe the new pavilion by Frida Escobedo in relation to previous ones?
The new pavilion seems quite modest at the first sight. But when you enter the space and you feel the atmosphere everything changes…the reflecting light from the roof, the play of light and shadows, the breeze which comes through the rough tiles, the reflection of the trees and tiles in the pool…it is very poetic pavilion and delightful to photograph. I like the idea that this pavilion is made of inexpensive materials and beautifully designed to each detail. Also it combines a Mexican tradition of making breeze walls and English mass-produced tiles.
It is very poetic pavilion and delightful to photograph – I like the idea that this pavilion is made of inexpensive materials
What are the elements you observe first in buildings?
When I come to a new space I first observe the atmosphere, the light and shadows, the sky, the structure, reflections…. Inside I try to feel the atmosphere, the smell, the temperature, the sound, the light…if the space is comfortable it’s easy to start with photography …if not I have to find a way and be creative…which is also good…
Can you describe the first summer pavilion that you shot and how did it go?
I shot the first summer pavilion in 2009. It was designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, the Japanese architectural practice SANAA. It was an absolute pleasure to photograph: the reflective metal structure standing on tiny columns and reflecting the park surroundings. I remember that it was difficult to stop photographing and leaving the space, because the aluminum structure was changing in relation to the time of the day and weather conditions…
Has there been any pavilion that was more difficult to photograph and why?
Each pavilion is so unique and inspiring…I think it’s a wonderful experience for each photographer. I can’t say which one I prefer or which one was more difficult to photograph. Each time I’m surprised by their uniqueness and high aesthetics so I’m always very motivated and drowned to the subject in order to present it in its best form. The creative aspect of each pavilion gives also additional pleasure. It’s also a pleasure for visitors to take photos and be creative…
Whose work has been an inspiration for you in your career as photographer?
I have been inspired by the great photographers like Andre Kertesz, Edward Steichen, Ezra Stoller, Julius Shulman and many contemporary photographers. I like their work because of their originality, new vision, composition, timelessness…
Serpentine Pavilions 2009 – 2017
Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia London
17 Dartmouth Street London United Kingdom SW1H 9BL