In this new exhibition, Centro Verso, photographer Tom Blachford has turned his lens to the Melbourne skyline to capture a series of sci-fi inspired architectural images. The glistening purple and blue tones of these photographs, taken from a 57-storey high rooftop, create the illusion of multiple cities being reflected in the collage.‘I found that by simply flipping images shot from a very high perspective it completely short-circuited your brain’s ability to interpret the city, the year, or even if these were single images (most people thought they were composites),’ says Tom.
The photos in Centro Verso have been taken in Tom’s signature night-time style, but this technique posed unique challenges compared to his previous experiences in Palm Springs. ‘I developed an aesthetic of shooting by moonlight that could only actually work in a place like Palm Springs (no street lights, no cloud and no high-density design). Any other cities had too much light pollution, so I couldn’t use the same techniques,‘ he says. ‘This pushed me to explore other styles, and required looking to other references and inspiration. I fell in love with the neon-noir genre of film and the cyberpunk aesthetic of Japanese anime, digital art and video games.’
While technically more difficult to achieve, Melbourne’s grid layout and strict CBD height regulations did have its own benefits. Tom explains, ‘One interesting point is that in researching where I want to take this concept next, it’s been incredibly hard to find a city that will yield that same kind of results. Melbourne’s eight-storey high restricted ‘hospitality and shopping’ precinct running around Bourke Street means I can capture a foreground of meandering buildings and rooftops with a background of highly condensed skyscrapers…Most cities are either too scattered or too dense from most views to obtain this kind of view.’
For the first time, Tom has also stepped outside the medium of photography to produce five large-scale, one-off sculptures to accompany this exhibition. ‘The sculptures have ended up being a showcase of over 60 original building designs that I created from scratch, which were inspired by a catalogue of images of soviet and communist ruins,’ Tom says. These sculptures will be suspended from the gallery’s ceiling during the exhibition, creating the feeling that viewers are looking into an infinite metropolis above.
Centro Verso is Tom’s first hometown exhibition in three years. Since the whirlwind initial launch of his Midnight Modern series in 2016, the photographer has exhibited his work in Sydney, New York and London.
Friday November 22nd – Sunday December 8th, 12pm-6pm (closed Mondays)
5/25 Easey Street