The story behind the “Borrow, Build, Abandon” exhibition at Modern Jago
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Talented photographer Jamie McGregor Smith is exhibiting his work in Modern Jago’s airy upper space.
Jamie’s work is heavily influenced by industrial landscapes and he’s published work with the Guardian, Telegraph, FT and Wallpaper. As well as Modern Jago, he’s exhibited with the likes of HOST and AOP.
“Borrow, Build, Abandon – Athenian Adventures in Concrete and Steel” features an impressive series of images depicting the once glorious Olympic stadiums and parks over seven years on and sadly now in a state of abandonment and disrepair.
We grabbed Jamie for a chat about his work and what inspired him to spend a week travelling around Athens and the surrounding area.
“It wasn’t all bad,” says Jamie, “The Olympics saw a brand new metro system and motorway created, which both helped to improve the city and curtail their pollution problems. However the money invested in these sites due to mismanagement and lack of foresight has left these buildings abandoned.”
Jamie felt that with our the London Olympics taking place in 2012 and an impressive set of structures and stadiums being created, it was the perfect moment to investigate what can happen following a games: “Olympics games construction highlights our continued trend of public borrowing for structures that have a limited shelf-life,” says Smith, adding, “Mistakes learnt from the relics of defunct industrialised cities must encourage the possibility that all future construction could have functionally adaptable architecture.”
However, he feels we are slowly learning and hopes that London’s Olympic structures may not suffer the same fate. “In the last 20 years this mistake has happened again and again with each Olympics. I think London has done better with half of the structures being temporary and sites such as the Aquatics Center and the Velodrome will see definite use. We’ve done quite a good job.”
As a freelancer, Jamie is able to explore his creative ideas, which is a huge bonus for him, “I think of a theme or story that a photographer has not captured yet and I get some funds together and explore these ideas. It always reminds me of the passion and creativity that led me into photography originally.”
His next project is looking at industrial change closer to home, this time in Middlesbrough. “I’m looking at the city, landscapes and the people following a huge downturn in employment - especially since the decline in the steel and shipbuilding industries.”
We can’t wait to see what Jamie has in store next and we’re delighted to share some of his inspiring and thought provoking images with Modern Jago visitors. You can view more of Jamie’s work at jamiemcgregorsmith.com
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