David Burdeny’s work is characterized by strong composition and exceptional photographic quality. It is truly a combination of artistry, technology and knowledge. He creates each architectural photograph from a single, often very long, exposure of up to several minutes in low lit interiors. Using very high resolution cameras that capture a wide dynamic range of shadow and highlight detail, far more than that of a typical digital camera, he sets about capturing buildings of historical importance.
When photographing interiors, Burdeny captures them just as they are found, though he does move fire extinguishers and other extraneous contemporary distractions out of the way. He relies only on natural light plus ambient lighting which is part of a room’s decoration, such as in chandeliers, sconces or lamps.
Given the vagaries of mixed light sources (daylight and lightbulbs, for instance, each give off a different color light), post-production adjustments to the color channels (highlight, mid tones and shadows) become necessary. Burdeny spends a great number of hours adjusting the intensity and color balance of each image in readiness for printing. While these changes may seem minute, they can take hours to weeks of intensive computer time to render each image as seamlessly the eye sees it. Each channel is addressed separately and the degree to which each is adjusted is often too subtle to see on the monitor. As a result, Burdeny runs continuous test prints to gauge his progress. Surprisingly, from an amateur perspective, the less color in an image, the harder it is to get the image properly balanced. Getting white balance right often requires the use of dozens of full-size proofs because, as the image is scaled, the apparent white balance appears to change and additional adjustments have to be made accordingly. Thus, each series of a single photograph in different size editions, has a different white balance layer according to the needs of the size as a requirement to make them all appear the same when viewed next to each other.
The saltern series are photographed aerially and the colors are the result of algae. As the salinity increases in the salt pans, the algae changes from a green to red. The red ponds are generally at max suspension and are the ones soon to be drained and harvested.
The raw immediacy and lived experience of taking a photograph matters as much to me as how I compose the frame. It is my private personal connection to these places and the emotional or intellectual intrigue that grips me through the process that I hope resonates in the print. I seek to
capture the mood and promise, silence and solitude in that extended moment of awareness. In my earlier architectural practice and now my photography career, I'm fascinated by the opportunity to invest symbols and narrative into built form or see the metaphor in a material space. I have an abiding interest in thresholds and liminality - places that seem somehow a bridge between the concrete and the ephemeral, elevated above time, hallowed. The sublime resides even in an ordinary space. And while the wondrous capabilities of the digital process permits an extraordinary level of clarity, detail and sensuality to be ingrained into an image, I like to think that there is a mystery at the heart of all my photographs, an appeal for the viewer to keep looking and see more.