Phil Coffey is an architect and a photographer. Phil finds that both roles connect him to people: spending time with communities allows him to engage and empathise with an ambition to understand different ways of life, bringing greater richness to his photography and indirectly associated architectural interventions. Vast, uninhabited landscapes also take on new forms: the eye is constantly searching for the composition, the moment, for certain planes to be in shadow or light and textures to be observed. All compositions are made in light and that light can be fleeting.
Phil’s first experience of serious travel was to Mostar to record the aftermath of the war in Bosnia. Recording the beautiful landscapes and war-torn communities with a camera led to a lifelong passion for understanding people and place. Before moving to the Mackintosh School of Architecture, Phil used a scholarship from Cardiff University to spend eight weeks travelling the United States. From Colorado Springs across to the Los Angeles, he visited many seminal modern buildings and the ever-changing terrain of western America. Phil has since travelled to over 60 countries to experience and photograph extraordinary people and places.
Phil is the founding director of Coffey Architects based in Clerkenwell, London and finds time in a busy schedule to undertake regular photographic projects which both inspire and inform the work of the practice through empathy, context and light.
‘Phil’s photography is predicated on his hunger for experience, for travel, for engagement. He seeks constantly to explore and to discover. Phil has no idle relationship with the world, his is a profound and very real connection with us and with our lives. He would travel, seek out new places, enquire and learnwithout photography, but in photography Phil has found a perfect means to channel his curiosity. Photography is for Phil( like an astronomers lens, or a scientists microscope ), used to intensify his focus on place. Often when you observe a casual photographer you notice they are neither in ’the moment’ or ‘making photographs’ the camera has become a barrier to experience and a blunt instrument for expression. With Phil you notice something else, his excitement at observation and discovery is manifest in the energetic deployment of his camera, his lens is his witness, and he sees so much…In this collection of images we see a focused and determined idea about our world, formed by experience, seen in photographs…’
Timothy Soar. Photographer.
‘In the end, we would all rather be…Outside.’