urban landscapes

Tanya Ahmed:

Building Character

Building Character 1
Building Character 2
Building Character 3
Building Character 4
Building Character 5
East 100th St

tanya ahmed


 Reading, Berkshire, UK


 Lacock, Wiltshire, UK


 South Bank, London, UK


 Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland



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Four continents, a quarter century, a photographer’s life, a cultural belonging.
Forming the backdrop or even perhaps the stage, the urban landscape has shaped me, defines me to others and has given me the understanding that across the globe we have an interconnectedness that is both cultural and architectural.

Becoming familiar with the architectural style of Stratford Upon Avon whilst visiting Stratford Mop (fair) as a child, I was drawn to the striped buildings I saw in Cairo. Differing materials, orientation and structure but a vivid commonality none the less.
Colour and shape resonate across borders too, very different from red brick England the pastel colours and square windows of a simple Egyptian dwelling are, I found, reflected in the art deco gems of South Beach in Miami.

Beyond the surface style though I find myself attracted to the elemental, organic and tactile surfaces, the simplicity of stacked stones built up and worn down by the fingertips of generations coupled with the effects of time.

Maybe this has to do with the period, the eighties, when I became a photographer. As Rebecca Solnit noted in her book ‘A Field Guide to Getting Lost’, ‘Urban ruins were the emblematic places for this era, the places that gave punk part of its aesthetic… ruins were the symbolic home of much of the art of the time.’ (Solnit, 2005)

Aside from the personal memories these images evoke these photographs track a photographic life too. From my visits to Lacock, the home of British Photography, to the exploration of streets behind the college where I studied, my first photographic love affair with a city, Glasgow, my London exhibition hall and even the visual shift from street level to balcony level photography as my photography adapted to other ways of working in different regions.

The urban landscape accompanied those that went before and will reach into future generations. People move on but the enduring architectural infrastructure fosters the feeling of continuity, and actual continuity. A familiar place that retains our experiences and can be revisited. These photographs allow me that luxury and the ability to shrink worlds by sharing.

Tanya Ahmed
Dec 2013