The architectural and engineering feats of Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava can be admired around the world, but his City of Arts and Sciences, designed alongside Felix Candela, has remained a modern architectural marvel. Like many international visitors, Lebanese photographer Anthony Saroufim found himself inherently attracted to the highly publicized building complex with a specific, tailored angle – unraveling the relationship between the built reality and the people interacting with it.
“What you won’t find is the relationship between this overscaled complex and the human scale, so my mindset was to integrate the human scale into my images to truly understand the impact and proportions of the project. At the end, what’s the purpose of an architecture designed for people without people.”
– Anthony Saroufim
As a photographer with a background in architecture, Saroufim is no stranger to the world of architectural photography, although his portfolio captures a vast array of subject matter. While his architectural photography is always captured using a Canon AE1 with either a 50mm or 24mm lens, he also captures his other images using different cameras, all of which are analog. For other projects, like his ongoing photo series “Les indisciplines,” Saroufim uses a disposable camera. The grainy texture of the photos is an intentional, textural element that is naturally achieved when using film.
Before visiting a city, Saroufim lists interesting architecture he plans to visit. His particular interests gravitate towards capturing Brutalist architecture. The artist describes his attraction to buildings with exposed structural elements and a strong emphasis on material.
The structural ribbing of the building’s overlapping expanses is seamlessly integrated into the overall design, creating the illusion of weightlessness. This is then enhanced by the grainy, matted palet of Saroufim’s camera.