‘It’s kind of a collection of peculiar architecture from all over the shop… about: design; how odd humans are; buildings reflecting culture; and of course also colours and shapes!’ first introduced Drew Echberg. Even before seeing the shots, I was totally sold!
The Melbourne-based photographer has always had an eye and interest for his now-profession. Though, it wasn’t until after a Creative Arts degree focused on theatre studies and art history, as well as some travel, that he decided it was time to pursue a BA in Photography at RMIT University.
Since then, Drew has worked as a freelancer, shooting a mix of architecture, portraiture, theatre and event work, as well as exhibiting his photography. Early in his career, the intrepid lensman visited Africa and South America, where he captured scenes of many lesser-visited locales.
Years later, diving into his digital archive, Drew was reunited with some of his long-forgotten travel photos. This captivating body of work, captured over a decade of travel, forms the basis for his latest exhibition.
Can you tell us about your latest body of work, Buildings By Humans?
This exhibition has been a long time in the works. Without really intending it, at some point I started taking photos of buildings that caught my eye for some reason – usually because they were ugly, a bit weird or had some element of unconventional beauty.
Without consciously working on it, this collection has grown over the years, until I realised I had something worth showing. Almost all of the works in the show are from a trip to North and West Africa, and South America.
For me, the series is about how culture is reflected in the built environment. Buildings, not only in their design but also in how they are decorated, adorned and maintained (or not) tell us something about the culture of a place. They may be representative of that culture or completely arbitrary, but either way they can give us insight into a place, and into the weirdness of humans more generally.
The series isn’t intended as a comprehensive study of any one style or place, just a collection that celebrates equally ugliness, beauty, colours, shapes, bizarreness and banality.
What are you most looking forward to about this exhibition and have there been any challenges in preparing for it?
I’m just looking forward to finally seeing these works as beautiful, framed prints! Most of these images have never been printed, only existing on my computer. For me, a photograph isn’t really finished until it’s on paper.
The biggest challenge has most definitely been selecting the images! I could easily have chosen 50 favourites instead of the 20 that made the cut.
I’ve tried to curate a group of images that show a nice variety of building styles, places, and atmospheres, but also function well as a whole body of work.
What’s next for Drew Echberg?
Right now I’m not thinking much further ahead than making sure everything is ready for opening night!
However, I do like the idea of putting this series into book form, which would enable me to include a lot of stuff that it was very hard to leave out of the exhibition.
I also have a lot of strange landscapes that I’d love to exhibit at some stage down the track!
‘Buildings By Humans’ by Drew Echberg
April 25th to May 20th
Opening April 25th 6:30pm-8pm
Open Wednesday to Sunday 11am-5pm