Richard Glover Interview | Yellowtrace

 

is an independent photographer of architecture and interiors, artist, lecturer and publisher, working from Sydney and London. His impressive list of clients includes John Pawson, Foster & Partners, Collins + Turner, Domus, Blueprint, Phaidon Press and The Guardian. His most significant commissions include the Monastery of Novy Dvur by John Pawson and 33 Holborn by Foster & Partners, with the most prominent commission of all – a photographic document of the six-year transformation of the Bankside power station in London into what’s now known as Tate Modern – the world’s largest gallery of modern art.

Richard also pursues his own projects for exhibition and publication which explore the small details of the built environment. His work is held in the collections of Tate Modern, Royal Institute of British Architects, Art Gallery of New South Wales and Artbank Australia.

We can also personally vouch for his excellent teaching skills, as Husband Yellowtrace had the good fortune of getting to know Richard by taking one of his courses here in Sydney. Not only is he clever and good at what he does, we reckon he’s also a pretty good bloke, which is always a bonus for scoring yourself a spot on these pages.

 

Avalon Retreat by Craig Rosevear Architect / Photo Richard Glover 2015 | Yellowtrace
Avalon Retreat by Craig Rosevear Architect / Photo © Richard Glover.

Bilgola House by Tzannes Associates Architect / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace
Bilgola House by Tzannes Associates Architect / Photo © Richard Glover.

Bronte House by Virginia Kerridge Architect / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace
Bronte House by Virginia Kerridge Architect / Photo © Richard Glover.

 

+ Hello Richard, welcome to Yellowtrace – thank you for taking the time to e-chat. Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself? When did you first decide you wanted to become a photographer and how did you get to where you are today?

I came relatively late to photography as my profession. I trained to be a graphic designer then worked in advertising for a number of years. But following a year or two of traveling I decided to be a photographer. I began by tackling all the usual genres: advertising, still life, portraiture, reportage, interiors, etc., but following a move to London I realised I had to concentrate on what I did best, and that was photographing architecture and interiors.

London is such a fantastic place to work but is very competitive and forces specialisation. I am thankful for that challenge as it forced me to define my aesthetic sensibility and working methodology and to work very hard.

 

Faculty Engineering & IT by UTS DCM Architects / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace
Faculty Engineering & IT by UTS DCM Architects / Photo © Richard Glover.

 

+ What are you seeking to portray in your work? What is fundamental to your practice – your philosophy and your process?

I always aim to convey one principal idea or message in my photographs. Each image must have photographic integrity and arrest the attention of the viewer, draw them in and impart the idea. As most of my work is in a series each individual photograph should also fit within a narrative framework for the whole project.

 

DPR House by MCK Architects / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace
DPR House by MCK Architects / Photo © Richard Glover.

Slip House by Carl Turner Architect / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace
Slip House by Carl Turner Architect / Photo © Richard Glover.

View Hill House by DCM Architect / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace
View Hill House by DCM Architect / Photo © Richard Glover.

 

+ In parallel to your practice you have been teaching at universities, colleges and photography centers for over two decades. How did this come about? What does teaching mean to you and how does it inform your own practice?

When I started my career I’d had little formal training in photography and was largely self-taught. I initially worked as a freelance assistant to learn about the profession. I literally walked the streets knocking on doors looking for work. An immediate and continual impression from this time was the fraternity extended to me by the photographers I met. Photographers would stop what they were doing, invite me in, give me a cup of tea, look at my (then meager) work and give their opinion. This greatly impressed me and I’ve made a point of continuing this fraternal practice and extending a warm welcome to anyone looking for advice.

Thus, teaching, whether informally with someone who has knocked on my door, or formally as a lecturer, has been a natural and important part of my practice. These days being so specialised I’ve found a role teaching photography to architecture students at the University of Technology Sydney. Photography has such a crucial role in the practice of architecture (as the principal form of documentation) that a sound understanding of this role and its significance is important.

 

Newport House by Peter Stutchbury Architect / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace
Newport House by Peter Stutchbury Architect / Photo © Richard Glover.

Mews House by John by Pawson Architect / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace
Mews House by John by Pawson Architect / Photo © Richard Glover.

 

+ What are some of your methods to staying motivated, focused and expressive?

Through practice and with people in my field. My spirits always lift following a commissioned job or a self-assigned project. Reading about photography, art and design, visiting galleries and exhibitions, meeting and talking with like-minded people.

+ Any interesting/ funny/ quirky facts or stories you could share with us about your work and what you do?

I recall the first time I worked from a helicopter I had to share it with a film crew. The cinematographer was strapped into place with a harness and hanging out the door. The pilot removed my door, but there was not another harness so I was left with a standard seat belt to hold me in place. Unimpressed with this state of affairs I nonetheless bit my lip and got on with the job. At one point we were banking hard over the ocean, I looked at the choppy sea below and thought to myself, ‘Wow, nothing between me and certain death, except for my seat belt. Seat belt!” It had come undone. Helicopter Photography Rule #1: insist on a harness when the door is removed.

 

Majorca Apartment by John Pawson Architect / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace
Majorca Apartment by John Pawson Architect / Photo © Richard Glover.

Vaucluse House by Mark Pearse Architect / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace
Vaucluse House by Mark Pearse Architect / Photo © Richard Glover.

 

+ What advice would you give to emerging photographers who want to follow your path? What was one of your biggest lessons learned since starting your practice?

I think there are several key aspects for a successful career in photography:

Practice – there is much to learn both technically and conceptually about the process of making photographs and practice will certainly make perfect those skills.

Self-motivation – invariably you will be on your own and having the dedication to motivate yourself is crucial.

Networking – understanding the process, language and people of your chosen field/s (whether that is architecture, photojournalism, fashion, etc.) requires you to engage, connect and be involved. The network of people you meet will ultimately define who you are and what you do as a photographer. Get out there and meet them, then stay in touch.

 

Qualia Resort Queensland by Chris Beckingham Architect / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace
Qualia Resort Queensland by Chris Beckingham Architect / Photo © Richard Glover.

 

+ What are you most proud of professionally? And what has been your favourite shoot/ project so far?

Undoubtedly, the opportunity to photograph the transformation of the Bankside Power Station on the River Thames in London into Tate Modern – the world’s largest modern art gallery – was a fantastic opportunity. I first photographed it as a derelict power station, then as a gutted shell and then documented the subsequent internal rebuild. And finally as the wonderful institution that it is today. The Tate was a great client and gave me an open brief.

 

Tate Modern by Herzog De Meuron / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace
Tate Modern by Herzog De Meuron / Photo © Richard Glover.

Jigsaw London by John Pawson Architect / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace

 

Let’s Get Real:

+ If I was not a photographer, I would be…

Most likely a graphic designer. I love working in two-dimensions with text, tones and obviously photographs. Great designers like Pentagram, Milton Glaser, Neville Brody, Hamish Muir are inspirational.

+ Three things every photographer needs…

It always used to be: a camera, film and light. But these days forget the film, add a memory card and batteries instead (yes, I know – that’s four).

 

The Old Clare Hotel, board room / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace
The Old Clare Hotel, board room / Photo © Richard Glover.

Pantheon / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace
Pantheon / Photo © Richard Glover.

 

+ What’s the best mistake you have ever made?

Leaving advertising and becoming a photographer. Instead of following a clear and potentially satisfying career path I followed my nose along the twists and turns of the photographer’s trail.

+ It’s not very cool, but I really like…

Correct grammar and pronunciation.

 

Richard Glover Portrait / Photo by Jeremy Shaw | Yellowtrace
Richard Glover Portrait / Photo © Jeremy Shaw.

Hong Kong Airport by Foster + Partners Architects / Photo Richard Glover | Yellowtrace
Hong Kong Airport by Foster + Partners Architects / Photo © Richard Glover.

 


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About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

4 Responses

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    Meagan

    While reading this interview and scrolling through to look at the pictures first, I knew that Richard was trying to tell something from them before I read that in his interview. They really say something to a viewer. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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