Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson stated once that “there is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment.” In the establishment of an apartment for a photographer in Knoxville, Tennessee, several of his photographs were sectioned to begin to understand the separate moments that happen within each of these captures. Bresson’s photos establish movement and stasis, geometry, irony, and a clear relationship between the subjects and he who watches.
The location of the apartment is an empty infill site that currently has created a void in the dense urban fabric of North Knoxville. The facade becomes the lens for which the photographer and the pedestrian begin to activate a relationship, much as Bresson achieves with his photographs. Composed of operable panels and glass, the facade transforms, sliding up and down as individual panels rotate to create aperture; this sequence is dependent on the function of the photographer’s establishment, both signaling the accessibility of the street level galleries and framing two juxtaposed gazes between the public and private nature of street and of structure.
The galleries become a void within a parallel space, terminated only by glazing and the shifting paneling, allowing a connection to be realized from the street to an under-utilized exterior space at the rear of the site. The apartment exists as an adjacent slot through the space, creating visual connections between private and public. Moments such as these establish a new set of “decisive moments,” creating depth and opposition in constructed planes which would normally exist two separate urban life and the seclusion of the artist.
Critic: Robert French