While scrolling through Tumblr yesterday, I came across a post featuring a photography project. It was called ‘Theater Series’ by artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, from the 1970s.
He “took pictures of cinemas interiors and drive-ins with the aim of encapsulate the whole length of a movie in a single shot. He left the camera shutters open throughout the running of a movie and the glowing screen of the cinemas was left as a trace on each take. A somehow uncanny light resonates in the dark cinema halls. At a further glance, this central light ethereally underlines the rich architectural details of the theater interiors.”
I’m a frequent theatre goer and always take note of the architectural characteristics of the theatres. They can have incredibly beautiful and ornate features, capturing the period and style they were built in. I recently went to The National Theatre in London to see the production of Ballyturk, which itself was one of the best pieces of theatre I have ever experienced. The building was built in 1963, so concrete dominates your landscape. It’s bold and strong, which contrasts with the much more delicate nature of sister theatres.
The fragility of these older theatres made headlines in December 2013. The ceiling of the Apollo Theatre collapsed 40 minutes in a performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It brought down a lighting rig and a section of balcony. Fortunately, there were no fatalities, but it definitely shook the theatre world. It showed how much care is needed for these now iconic buildings, considering The Apollo itself opened over 100 years ago, in 1901.
I found that these photographs have a real gothic feel to them. The colours are strong and crisp, with the bright light highlighting the detail and carving in the architecture. The lack of an image on the screen creates an eery effect, like constant white noise, hypnotising the audience.
Check out the original post and more photos in the link below!