Explore architectural light and form through the lens of Hélène Binet

Explore architectural light and form through the lens of Hélène Binet

‘Light Lines: The Architectural Photographs of Hélène Binet’, the Royal Academy of Arts’ newest exhibition in London, celebrates the Swiss-French photographer’s career and sublime work

If you are in any way related to the architecture field, then the name Hélène Binet is no doubt familiar. The Swiss-French photographer has long been a staple presence in architecture, as her lens has captured the works of some of the biggest names in the industry – Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind and Peter Zumthor, to name but a few. But it is certainly not the association with iconic architects that makes Binet’s images stand out; the photographer’s ability to capture and manipulate the relationship of shape and light into sublime photographs that translate architecture into two-dimensional, visual poetry is what makes Binet’s work so popular and truly timeless. 

The Royal Academy of Arts (RA) in London is celebrating Binet’s career so far and her impressive body and quality of work through ‘Light Lines: The Architectural Photographs of Hélène Binet’, a new show that opens in the RA’s Piccadilly premises on 23 October 2021. The exhibition comprises some 90 photographs, from hand-printed in black and white, to full colour – all showcasing Binet’s powerful framing and unique perspective. 

Hélène Binet, Le Corbusier
Hélène Binet, Le Corbusier, Canons de Lumière, Couvent Sainte-Marie de la Tourette, Eveux, France, 2007. Digital C-type print, 102 x 80 cm. Courtesy ammann // projects. © Hélène Binet

‘Our programme for the year ahead places emphasis on discovering the meaning and poetry of architecture through the work of Hélène Binet and American architect John Hejduk,’ says Vicky Richardson, the RA’s newly appointed head of architecture and Heinz curator, referring also to the large-scale display based on the work of Hejduk that is coming up in The Ronald and Rita McAulay Gallery in 2022. Indeed, notions of poetry, solitude, stillness and texture seem to be ever-present in Binet’s work. 

Travelling the world through the quietly captivating imagery of Hélène Binet is a real treat. There is also a gentle focus on the works of the late Zaha Hadid (including photographs of the MAXXI museum in Rome), with whom Binet had a close professional relationship – as she has done with other leading 20th and 21st century architects. From Zumthor to Gottfried Böhm and Le Corbusier, Binet was there, capturing some of architecture’s most iconic buildings and giving them her own, poetic take. §

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