The Barbican on Film

The Barbican Estate was built on a area of land in London devastated by bombings during World War II. Buildings within the Estate started to open from 1969 onwards, with the last being Shakespeare Tower, one of the prominent tower blocks, in 1976. The completion of the Estate provided over 2000 flats in the City of London.

The Barbican Estate, Arts Centre, library and a few other buildings make up the Grade II listed Barbican Complex and it is regarded as an excellent example of brutalism.

My plan was to walk around the estate capturing the buildings that comprise the Barbican complex on various film formats, mostly in black and white. It was during my second stop that disaster struct and I dropped the Polaroid camera that I planned to use for a majority of shots.

The damaged caused to the Polaroid meant that all subsequent shots came out blurry. I had only taken one shot before entering the complex of the looming high rise towers.

With the Polaroid abandoned I continued on with my film camera loaded with Ilford HP5 Plus.

The Barbican complex is a maze. I have been there a number of times before and always wandered in and out where ever the route took me, along the way discovering different places, some of which you wouldn’t expect to find in central London.

This time I tried to follow a certain path. The stairs and dead ends became frustrating, made worse by the fact that I had dropped and broken a camera. Each turning never took me in the direction I wanted to go but nonetheless fantastic opportunities to capture the buildings, their details and a large part of the complex.

I want this project to continue and grow on each visit. Discovering new parts and details about the Barbican as I go. The grand plan to extensively photograph the complex and one day to eventually visit the elusive Barbican Conservatory.

Further reading:

I recently watched a fantastic video called Golden Barbican by Joe Gilbert who captured the changing colours of the Barbican during several sunsets.

Capturing Brutalism continues with my BRUTAL Collection.

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