Construction of Arts Centre: Interior by Peter BloomfieldBarbican Centre
Photographer Peter Bloomfield was commissioned by Henry Wrong - the first Managing Director of the Barbican Centre - to photograph the final stages of the arts centre’s construction up to its opening in 1982.
Moving in Trees into the Conservatory. (1980) by Peter BloomfieldBarbican Centre
Photograph of Barbican Bomb Site Overlooking RailwayBarbican Centre
As a schoolboy Peter Bloomfield used to ride his bicycle round the bombsites of the City of London during the Second World War. As he rode around, he would take note of the names of the destroyed streets.
Photograph of Construction of the Barbican CentreBarbican Centre
It was good preparation for photographing the emergence of the Barbican Centre and Estate from the rubble decades later.
The Barbican Centre (1979-11-22/1979-11-22) by Peter BloomfieldBarbican Centre
Bloomfield started off taking pictures of the Barbican site using an old-fashioned looking camera, made by the Gandolfi company.
Camera used by Teenie Harris (mid 20th century) by Graflex Inc., 1887 - 1973Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
It meant putting a black cloth over his head as he took the photographs, to stop light getting in and ruining the images.
The Barbican Centre (1980-03-08/1980-03-08) by Peter BloomfieldBarbican Centre
Later he switched his camera to a more portable Sinar Monorail.
Photographic Contact Sheet of Arts Centre Interiors. (1979) by Peter BloomfieldBarbican Centre
It was still bulky by the standards of modern digital equipment, and still involved carrying around a tripod and film.
Reflection of Barbican Centre in Lakeside (1979/1979) by Peter BloomfieldBarbican Centre
To better capture the scale and details of the evolving site, Bloomfield also moved from 5 x 4-inch film to 6 x 7, the largest available at the time.
The Barbican Centre (1980-03-12/1980-03-12) by Peter BloomfieldBarbican Centre
Peter Bloomfield’s images of the Barbican site were rediscovered in 2016, and published as a book titled Building the Brutal.
Barbican Hall Sound Desk (1982) by Peter BloomfieldBarbican Centre