Read the interview with Photographer Nigel Green
When did you first work with Dover Arts Development?
Our first project was an exchange project with an installation at Deal castle. Some years later they commissioned me to produce a map. Based on my interest in modernist architecture of the 20th century, the idea was to try and find buildings from that period along the North Down’s way – a different take from what people normally think about the route. You don’t necessarily think of concrete.
Have you always been interested in taking pictures of brutalist architecture?
I originally studied Fine Art, but then I started to incorporate photography in my art practice – creating installations, using colour elements and found elements. Photography was used as a means to reference things that I couldn’t reference any other way – more ephemeral, more transient elements. The architectural space itself was always a quite strong link to everything else I was interested in – everything came back to architecture and space in some way. So after a certain point I became more and more interested in just the photographic architecture of spaces. Although I still have a collaborative practice called Photolanguage with another writer, we produce projects that are more fine art based – they do involve different modes of working – texts, writing and photography. They still have that, but my personal practice is still very much focussed on photography. I often thought about how our last project could have been expanded, so it’s nice to be linked to a new part of it.
Why do you often use such a particular kind of lighting?
I guess it really comes back to that whole Dusseldorf school practice of using flat light for colourwork purely because you don’t have strong shadows, the contrast – it allows colour to be more neutral and natural. When you work in sunlight you get the blue skies and there’s a dominant blueness. This calms everything down and the more milky it is the better. I have an affinity with this kind of light anyway. It’s lovely to have a sunny day, but I don’t usually take a camera with me if it’s a sunny day. If you’re working with black and white then it’s different as the contrast falls in a different way. There’s something very beautiful and still about this kind of light.
What’s your favourite part of Dover?
I’ve always been fascinated by Dover. As a child I have a memory of driving through the front of Dover and seeing Burlington house and the experience of this incredible space, and the experience of these spaces and buildings, that’s always stuck with me. I’ve photographed that space over a number of years; that area was always my favourite area. One particular memory was when I came here one summer and the house was derelict and there was a big car park there and a bit of a medieval ruin as well – and the petrol station – and it seemed a fantastic unkempt space to have in the centre of town. There was a lady picking flowers there and it was just an amazing contrast between this brutalist block and the bucolic scene of somebody collecting flowers. And I thought ‘yeah, that’s what towns should be’, they should have those kind of spaces. A degree of chaos, a kind of wasteland… everything shouldn’t be controlled.