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Selwyn Pullan: Photographing Mid-Century Westcoast Modernism

West Vancouver Museum
West Vancouver BC – Oct 10-Dec 15, 2012

Selwyn Pullan, Gershon Residence (1959)

Selwyn Pullan, Gershon Residence (1959), photograph [West Vancouver Museum, West Vancouver BC, Oct 10-Dec 15] © Selwyn Pullan / Courtesy West Vancouver Museum

Selwyn Pullan, Phillips Residence, West Vancouver

Selwyn Pullan, Phillips Residence, West Vancouver [West Vancouver Museum, West Vancouver BC, Oct 10-Dec 15] © Selwyn Pullan / Courtesy West Vancouver Museum

Selwyn Pullan was a pre-eminent photographer of what came to be known as West Coast Modernism in architecture. Many of its finest examples were built in British Columbia, especially in West Vancouver. Pullan photographed the work of British Columbia's leading architects, including Barry Downs, Arthur Erickson, Fred Hollingsworth, Ned Pratt and Ron Thom. By emphasizing the sleek sculptural arrangements and dramatic settings of their buildings, Pullan projected a sense of the homes as elegant planes and spaces.

The West Vancouver Museum exhibition highlights the launch of the book Photographing Mid-Century West Coast Modernism. The exhibit and the book showcase Pullan’s photos of prominent architects as well as seminal buildings.

A fan of natural light, Pullan posed his subjects carefully, choosing clothes and props and making their surroundings look natural. As Barry Downs described it, “He had an intuitive way of capturing the emotional qualities of a space.”

Sought after by popular magazines of the day, his images helped architects vie for awards. More importantly, professional journals featuring photos by Pullan and others provided a significant context for inter-architectural critique and discussion in a pre-digital era.

www.westvancouvermuseum.ca

Mia Johnson


 Sun, Nov 4, 2012