ARCHITECTURE + PHOTOGRAPHY | Le Corbusier :: My Ronchamp ::: by Lucien Hervé

We lived in Surrey, England, for a spell. At the time I wasn’t attuned to life in Little Britain and found myself mostly in a negative mood. I did, however, substantially increase by vocabulary whilst eating take-away from Tesco (a cut above the rest) and reading the broadsheets (a definite improvement upon Canadian newspapers).

It was whilst reading one such newspaper that came across this image:

It was Le Corbusier — my hero — photographed by someone I’d strangely, given my preoccupation with LC, never heard of before: Lucien Hervé.

The photograph announced the opening of a show of Hervé’s photographs (including a lot of the master’s works) at the Michael Hoppen Gallery. So a pilgrimage was in order.  

I’d always wanted to go down to the King’s Road and visit Chelsea anyway to see if any remnants of “swinging London” were left over from the sixties. No remains were found. But we did uncover the amazing Hervé on a side street off the King’s Road.

The show at Michael Hoppen opened my eyes to a new way of seeing Le Corbusier and his work.

And I ended up spending mucho £££ (VAT thankfully refunded at the airport upon our getaway) to have a piece of Le Corbusier photographed by his chosen photographer.

This is the piece I chose from amongst the dozens on show:

I chose this one — “Maquette of Ronchamp, 1951” — because I thought it special: if I recall correctly, it was the only photograph of a Le Corbusier maquette. That alone intrigued me in a room full of photographs of completed architectural works.

I was also drawn to the photographer’s perspective: how interesting that Hervé should focus on the chapel’s roof. After all, the building is all about that soaring, seemingly free-floating roof.

I liked it, paid for it, picked it up after the show came down, lived with it in Surrey for a spell, took it on the plane home to Vancouver, and it’s been hanging over me as I sleep ever since. It was one of the smartest investments I’ve ever made.

P.S.  The invites to the shows at the Michael Hoppen Gallery are superb. (Note to the Gallery: thanks for sending them my way!)

Still Available!

The gallery still has a few Hervé prints of Ronchamp. If you’re interested, check out this PDF:


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