Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Art of Architectural Photography 12-28-2013

Artifacts of a culture are the subject of art for me.  Throughout history humans created and left artifacts for various reasons.  I often think of myself as a flaneur, roaming about different places and taking photographs of what appeals to me. As I explore, I have a strong inclination to shoot artifacts from older architecture: doorknobs and knockers; hinges; lintels; window frames and carvings of all types.  New York City, while ever changing affords me the opportunity to find many details of architecture from the past.  I love taking photos of metal as I go about my photography travels,  although it is hard to shoot.  Frequently the highlights are blown out.  Light and pattern can be distorted because of reflection.  Photographing metal at an angle can help as can filters, exposure and other technique/equipment.  Important, too, is always composition.  This metal detail is located in Chelsea Market, a place which began its life as a factory.  The circular shapes and texture create an interesting contrast that is alluring for me.  I also appreciate the way that light is evident even in the darkest darks.

Black and White Metal Architectural Detail, NYC


Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Art of Architectural Photography 12-22-2013

Every place provides inspiration.  I recently traveled to Europe and was thrilled to see the "old" architecture and cobbled streets that I love.  However, modern architecture provides insights and motivation.  I carry my camera everywhere.  The LUMIX DMC -LX7 is small enough to easily take along and its low-light shooting capabilities are good for interiors.  When I saw this mulit-level geometric configuration I used my LUMIX to capture different views, all the while abstracting the images in my mind.  Abstraction can be very helpful when shooting any genre.  It is especially useful in completing finished photographs so that the forms can be in focus and not the small details that often mar an image.  For example, the artist must build the structure of the head before putting the pinpoints of light in the eyes.  Abstraction helps any visual artist/photographer discover the building blocks and allow the basic forms to emerge.  Abstraction also provides excellent information about the lights and darks.  Frequently straight lined modern structures are more easily abstracted than older more complex architecture.  Here is my abstraction of a modern interior.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Art of Architectural Photography 12-15-2013

One of the most beautiful buildings in Manhattan is The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen's home at 20 West 44th Street in the heart of New York City.  I was fortunate to photograph the building for an exhibit of my photography and a talk I gave in The General Society's marvelous Library two years ago.
On December 11, 2013 PBS Live from the Artists Den filmed Vampire Weekend preforming live at The General Society's Library.  I was delighted that one of my black and white photographs was chosen by Live from the Artists Den to be used as a poster as promotion for Vampire Weekend in concert!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Art of Architectural Photography 12-8-2013

  Composition is a foundation of all visual art.  Form, texture, line, light and dark must work together compositionally to give an overall feeling to the work.  The essential concept of composition is to keep the eye interested and moving throughout the image.  Regardless of subject, the composition should work as a whole.  From florals to images of war, superior artworks are composed to create parts that equate to the whole in relevant ways.
     Art Deco is a marvelous medium with which to emphasize composition.  In this sepia photograph of an Art Deco lobby in Miami, the strong lines of the genre compliment the architecture and exterior scenery.  Plant shapes are a popular motif in Art Deco and the actual live palm tree echoes this theme. The use of warm sepia tones also accentuates the vibe of the photograph.

"Miami Light"
Sepia Architectural Art Photograph: Miami, Florida

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Art of Architectural Photography 12-2-2013

Essential to the art of architectural photography or any art is the communication between the photographer/artist and the viewer.  I believe this is the basis of my photography.  The dialogue begins when I first see my subject.  I then take the picture and later create an image that conveys that about the architecture which I would like to tell others.  I always shoot in color because color provides more reference for me.  Later I convert my photographs to black and white or sepia using the color tonalities as a guide.  Fundamental is the art of the architecture and above all else: the light.  Light is magical and marvelous.  Capturing the light is challenging and the ultimate reward.  My photographic aesthetic revolves around light and that is what, above all else, I want to communicate through my art.

In the two black and white photographs the light emphasizes the architecture while drawing the eye towards the doorway.  Compositionally, the light provides contrast and fluidity.

Durrell United Methodist Church: Bethlehem, NH
                                  Bethlehem Hebrew Congregation: Bethlehem, NH