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Photographing Space

September 22, 2015

When artist, photographer and educator Laura Padgett visits as a Rankin Scholar in Residence, she’ll lead students in an intensive workshop exploring what it means to create images that capture the essence of three-dimensional environments. The German-based artist, whose work has appeared internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions, will also give a public lecture on Thursday, October 8 entitled “Primary Objects: remnants of an ongoing experiment, some photographic thoughts on the consequences of Modernism.” During the lecture she’ll discuss the idea that modernism, at its best, was an architectural movement that considered aesthetic, pragmatic and social aspects in its design. She'll speak about her response to these concepts in her artwork and how she came to make photographs that cross the boundaries between art and architecture, including her work for the architecture journal Arch+, Peter Zumthor and Huis Marseille, and how these commissions began and developed. The free-to-the public lecture is being presented by the Department of Architecture & Interiors Arfaa Lecture Series and starts on the 8th at 6:30pm in Mandell Theater (32nd & Chestnut Streets).

The lecture will also serve as an introduction to a two day workshop during which Westphal students will work with Padgett. The results will be on display in an exhibition opening on Tuesday, October 13 in the URBN Center lobby.

Padgett’s photography is concerned with the poetics of space and often features urban scenes and interiors, engaging with environments created by humans and with objects as traces of everyday culture. During her lecture she’ll discuss the architectural photography project she completed with Peter Zumthor in Switzerland, for a new edition of his book of essays, Thinking Architecture.

24 students from all Westphal majors are being sought to participate in the workshop, taking place October 9th through 11th. Despite the ubiquitous use of photography in the digital sphere through social media platforms and smart phones, there are other photographs that are more likely to remain with us, to be informative and fresh, and to express something beyond the obvious. The hands-on workshop will explore capturing these ideas in architectural photography, in addition to using concepts of sensitivity when photographing interior spaces. Click here to register for the workshop, or for more information, please contact professor Ulrike Altenmuller at  An exhibition of the images created in the workshop will open at 5:30pm on Tuesday, October 13 (URBN Center Lobby, 3501 Market Street).

Laura J. Padgett is an internationally regarded photographer and academic. She has lectured extensively on photography, art theory and criticism, film editing and film history. She currently teaches photography and art history at RheinMain University of Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden, Germany, and she has taught or lectured at numerous prominent universities including Bauhaus-University Weimar, Germany, Oslo School of Architecture and Design, and Lebanese American University.

Since the nineties she has produced a complex body of photographic work and has since then exhibited consistently, with solo shows, group exhibitions and film screenings throughout Europe, including Centre Pompidou, Paris, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main, and the Swiss Architecture Museum, Basel. She received a Masters in Art History and Aesthetics from the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, studied Film and Photography at the Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main, and received a Bachelor of Fine Art in Painting from Pratt Institute.