Monday, December 29, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 12-29-2014

Although I majored in photography and architectural drawing in college, I wanted to be a painter.  I followed the dream and painted for forty years.  I drew a lot as well.  For me, drawing is the foundation of painting and as as such, it demands constant practice.  I love to draw.  Looking at a blank paper exhilarates me for I can imagine my sharp or blunt, dark or light pencil delineating space.  The first line becomes an anchor that supports the next and so on. Building, so to speak, the image. Therefore, when I came to digital photography I was excited at the prospect.  In digital I could draw in the computer in post production.  Photoshop became my sketchpad and the Wacom Tablet's stylus my pencil.

When I painted full time, I was a representational painter.  In college and grad school and at the Art Students League I learned about color and abstracting and expressionism through painting and drawing.  And I, who studied formally during the 60's and 70's, painted abstract art.  Big canvases of color and form.  But my heart was with the realism with which I had become familiar as a child visiting the Brooklyn Museum almost every week-end.  Sargent, Eakins, Ogden Pleissner, George Bellows at the Brooklyn; book images of works by Michelangelo, Rubens, Durer, Velasquez; and the great illustrators like Gibson, Rockwell and Leyendecker  and so many more influenced me in the way I created and saw.

As an architectural photographer I remain influenced by realism and dreams.  When I see a building, I am reminded of its glory days and think of the craftsmanship it took to create the brickwork, ornamental balustrades, ironwork and the overall design.  I frequently think of post production when taking the photographs, but sometimes I am overcome by the beauty I recognize beyond the wear and tear flaws of what currently exists.  Such was the case with this wonderful old apartment building majestically situated overlooking Moshula Parkway in the Bronx.  I was so taken with the marvelous brickwork, design, et al. that I overlooked the huge amount of post production drawing involved in "restoring" the building.  I include the Before so that you can see how the building, window air conditioners, hanging wires, graffiti and signs, looked in its current state.  However, I saw the structure as it appears in the After black and white photograph.  The After was a few weeks of intense Photoshopping and around 10 Gs over 5 images with multiple layers.  Occasionally, like in this instance, I don't see dangling wires, graffiti, window air conditioners, and litter.  The time I spent realizing the way I wanted the wonderful old Bronx apartment building to look was well worth it for me!



Black and white architectural photography

To learn more about Bronx architecture visit:

To learn more about Photoshop visit:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 12-23-2014

I love eclectic visuals.  Although I admire the smooth unadorned sweep of an alabaster bowl or an elegant crisp edge of a beveled glass object, I am exhilarated when my eye stops at odd angles, curlicues, textures, light playing on surfaces et al.  The thing about a multifaceted architectural work as opposed to a steel box is the ability for the viewer to wonder.  Wonder at why the architect used wood or marble.  Why the building is frosted with plaster rosettes.  Why the windows are stained glass or mullioned panes.  I especially love statuary on a facade.  Who were these spirits, people, animals!

The surrounding area of a building also intrigues me.  Cobble stone courtyards, slate paved streets, trees or grass.  The exterior may tell the story of the interior.  In the case of this building, the interior was equally as grand as the marvelously embellished facade.  The textures, materials, seemingly modern glass top/skylight work together as a visual feast.  Rarely are such traditional building techniques complemented with a contemporary alteration.  The design of the structure allows wonderful lights and darks to play over the surfaces creating an even more elaborate, yet perfectly in sync composition.

Black and white architectural photography: Germany

To read more about architectural contrasts visit:

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Art of Architectural Architecture 11-30-2014

There are those people who love cities and others who appreciate the quiet countryside.  The architecture in cities can be spectacular or ordinary.  Nature's architecture, the same.  Where there are mountains, white-water rivers, blooming foliage and grand vistas, settlements of people exist so that these sights can be part of daily life.  Too, there are people who prefer the muted landscapes of long grasses on flat plains.  Cities, also may be characterized by tall glass and steel skyscrapers or by ornamented lower buildings with "character."

Personally, I love the element of surprise.  On a dive in the pristine landscape, I delight in coming across a 19th Century Federal brick building apparently constructed or commissioned by the landowner.  A clapboard house with a wide lapped porch perched on a cliff enchants me (I always look for the widow's walk!).  Elaborately gnarled trees; naturally constructed intricate rock formations as well as a perfectly constructed flowers found in a city are all architecturally enticing to my lens.  The juxtaposition of nature's genius for architecture as well as humans' creativity and artistic building has been my inspiration all along. 

The combination of nature IN the city is a twofer I can't resist!  On a recent shoot in the Bronx, I visited Mosholu Parkway on foot.  Frequently I have driven along this beautiful road to get from one place to another and have always marveled at the wide expanses of park ribbonned into the highway lanes.  The boarders of deco apartment buildings face a single service lane.  Then a broad, tree-lined grassy stretch, followed by three traffic lanes.  This configuration is mirrored and the entire parkway is truly a park.  Last week I took the opportunity to explore the area with my cameras.  As I walked along the road, I encountered hills, brilliant flowers and foliage, stately trees, wonderful deco buildings with names like Delacourt, Oliver and Park Lane Court and old fashioned street lights.  Finally I came to a beautiful concrete elevated train station that spanned Mosholu Parkway.  City and country combined architecture in ways that revel in the complexities of creation.

Sepia architectural photography

To learn more about Mosholu Parkway and parks in cities visit:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 11-12-2014

There is something so appealing about glass.  Glass allows light in.  It also has a certain glow factor that draws us to it.  Whether glass is used as building material, ornamental substance or the many other uses glass has, the undeniable allure of glass has motivated its employment for centuries.

Reflections also inspire our imaginations.  Water reflections, reflections in glass, images in metal: all created by light and attractively rippled to give the eye an opportunity to follow the arc of refracted light.  Reflections are captured in a moment and then altered by light so that their essence is ever changing.

Glass and reflections are a fascinating combination: bound in light, these inspire creativity.

Sepia architectural photography

To learn more about glass and light visit:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 11-4-2014

There is something so appealing about looking through a window.  Looking into as well as out of a window gives me a sense of wonder.  Perhaps that is why I am a photographer.  Looking beyond the frame always seems magical to me and sparks my imagination to create my own world.

When I was a child, my family's narrow row house was in Borough Park, Brooklyn.  Down the street, on the corner, stood and still stands a small Roman Catholic Church.  Looking through the windows of the church held such mysterous beauty.  The exterior was stone and in the Gothic style.The interior was very dark with light streaming through jewel toned stained glass windows.  The glowing light made marvelous pools of colors within the velvety black space.  From the outside the reds, blues and yellows of the glass Biblical scenes shone like gems through the heavily mullioned casemet windows.
Smells of incense, candles and flowers drifted through the portals with organ music and Latin hymn singing.  Powerful sensory images for a child.

These have stayed with me and from time to time I chance upon a reminder like this beautiful Gothic Church in Brooklyn that I saw recently.  The colors of the stained glass gleaming from inside took me back to my childhood and inspired the same creative spark as long ago.

Black and white architectural photography.

To learn more about Gothic Church architecture and stained glass visit:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 10-26-2014

Light is that marvelous substance that provides the shadows, highlights, lines, forms and focus to whatever you are looking at.  You may be viewing at a grand vista or an egg on a table, the light creates that which impacts your eye.  Light describes the subject and each place has its own special light.  Fortunately, I have been able to observe the different qualities of light in places where architects, artists and photographers captured the unique qualities that "their" light offered. For example, I was glad to travel to Sweden several years ago to see architecture, paintings, sculpture and photographs in the natural light in which they were produced.  One can really understand artworks when observing the light that directly affects artists and their subjects.  The cool, crystalline light of the northern countries, such as Canada, Sweden, Wales.  The hot, vibrant light of Spain. Some places surprise: Scotland truly has a "heathery" light and I found that Cornish, New Hampshire has a "buttery," glowing light. 

Then, too, available light may alter the perception of the individual work of architecture, art and other aesthetic.  When looking at an artwork, you are naturally influenced by the light that illuminates it.  Many public buildings have added glass walls and skylights to bring more natural light into the building.  Architecture is frequently positioned to be lit to its best advantage by ambient light.  Such power does light and its capture have that since the beginning of time, peoples have been trying to maximize its amazing characteristics by channeling it into their own creations.

Skylights, around since Roman times and probably before, were invented for just such a purpose: make use of light to illuminate and elevate the subject or important art in the structure.  Many modern buildings have incorporated skylights into their architecture and this provides natural light, even moon light.  I find the varied designs of skylights intriguing and, for the most part beautiful.  The light that comes through the skylights is, of course, marvelous.

Black and white architectural photography

To read more about skylights visit:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 10-18-2014

My passion for architecture is not focused on any one style or period in particular.  I just love buildings, structures, ornamentation, building materials, railings, et al.   I must admit a fondness, however, for Art Deco.  The wonderfully imaginative perspective of architects such as Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright and Josef Hoffmann inspires my architectural photography and motivates me to look at my subjects in new ways.

Architecture that is designated as Art Deco in NYC is frequently lavished with ornamentation that is dynamic, compelling and enormously engaging.  The Art Deco genre originally abstracted traditional design and incorporated geometric motifs related to the machine age into architecture, art, fashion, jewelry and many other aesthetics.  It is a style that energizes the viewer.  The bold symmetry of Art Deco, such as that of the design that makes NYC's Chrysler Building instantly recognizable and powerfully iconic, gives it a unique look.  One that is intensely appealing to me.  

A recent article about Cubism also interested me greatly.  Cubism abstracts, yet has a very structural style.  The forms and lines of Cubist paintings create an Art Deco feel for me.  The genres definitely overlap.  It was from the influences of Art Deco and Cubism that I decided to abstract an already abstracted photograph I took some months ago.  In looking at the image I was struck by the forms and the design they created when juxtaposed with each other.  The horizontal initial shot was then further altered into the vertical.  As I manipulated the image, Art Deco elements began to appear. 

It's all about point of view.

Architectural photography
Architectural photography

For more information about Art Deco and Cubism visit: 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 10-2-2014

In visiting many of the NYC department stores, I cannot help notice the lack of interior design that once reflected the taste and style of the clientele.  For the most part stores are now either metal and glass open spaces with racks of discounted merchandise exhibiting the space's only color, pattern and texture or the current ubiquitous "warehouse" look that is supposed (I suppose) to subliminally suggest huge bargains to shoppers.  I don't think that warehouse interior design comes cheap and the merchandise is not always inexpensive either.

There are, of course exceptions.  My last blog was about Henri Bendel, a veritable bastion of grace and beauty.  The store's interior wood paneling alone is a lost luxury that may never be replicated in a commercial space.  The elegant interior is complimented by the stunning exterior that seems to be a throwback to another age.  Lalique windows are set into the building's facade like jewels and the elaborate Art Deco ornamentation throughout the store bespeaks glamor, a sense of style and a shopper who is discerning.  Amazingly, the entrance to the Ladies' Lounge is, in fact itself a beautiful Lounge with Barcelona chairs and glossy books (!) on sleek glass tables.  The room says, "Sit a while; relax before continuing your shopping."  In the snatch-and-run of today's experiences in stores, how refreshing and evocative of a time when one could stop for a few minutes to enjoy!

       Black and white architectural photography & Sepia architectural photography

To learn more about Bendel's please visit:

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 9-12-2014

Attention to architectural detail has diminished over the years for a variety of reasons.  Cost, lack of artisans, fast pace of life have all significantly contributed to paucity of the beautifully designed additions that afforded style and grace to many past architectural genres.  Fortunately there are still evidences of the detailing that was taken for granted not so long ago.  It may be seen in preserved architectural gems if you look carefully.  When I was a child, I looked forward to a trip to department stores not only for their wares but for extraordinary design and extravagant architectural detailing. 

Years ago shopping was a fashionable (literally and figuratively) activity.  Both men and women dressed for the occasion of a day out in the shops, especially one spent in those glamorous department stores in major cities.  My childhood was marked by special afternoons of taking the subway to the dowager stores of NYC: A&S and Martins in Brooklyn; B. Altman's, Bergdorf Goodman's, Best & Co., Macy's in Manhattan and, that mecca of bargains,  Alexander's in the Bronx.  There were others as well, each with its own distinctive merchandise; each with a "look."  The architecture reflected the  style and price tags of the stock as did the little touches, such as fresh flowers "on the floor" and hand milled soaps in the rest rooms. Logo shopping bags and carriers were a status symbol long before branding became the IN thing.  Bonwit Teller's floral decorated bag was so pretty that I kept it in the back of my closet for years!  And of course there were tea rooms or luncheon parlous in the stores.  After a long day of shopping, a cup of tea and tray of bites was definitely in order.

Few of these stores, filled with architectural detail treasures such as brass elevator doors that were heavily embossed; inlaid wood display cases and marble tiled floors, have survived.  Bergdorf Goodman still characterizes grandeur and haute style with its lavish attention to preserving a store that is frosted with architectural details.  My first job was at Bergdorf Goodman's and it is still a treat to visit this venerable department store.  Down the street from Bergdorf's on Fifth Avenue, is Henri Bendel's.  On a recent trip to Bendel's I was captivated by some of the interior decor designs that add a dimension to the ambiance unparallelled in most of today's architectural designs.  In the tread-mill world of current shopping venues it is marvelous to find the stunning echoes of the past.


To learn more about department store architecture, architectural detail and history visit:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 9-7-2014

There is something so thrilling and appealing about a pop-up carnival.  On a hot summer's night, neon frosted rides appear in vacant lots surrounded by food trucks.  From distances, the colorfully brilliant lights, aromas of spicy/sweet fried fair foods, and the cries of pleasure from the merrymakers beckon like sirens.  There is an elusive architecture created and constructed by fleeting seasonal spontineity.  It is an architecture of movement, imagination, memory that is built on our link to childhood.  Neon is its core element just as light defines all architecture.

Black and white architectural photography with color.

To read more about night lights, architecture and neon visit:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 9-2-2014

I have been a photographer of architecture for many years.  I am drawn to buildings, details and materials for their beauty, purpose, history and solid presence in the landscape.  I also am passionate about the construction aspect of architecture.  The problem solving, tools, machines and plans that go in to creating a structure intrigue me. 

My Dad taught me a lot about tools and machinery.  Although he was an English teacher by trade, my Dad was raised by a master jewelry maker.  Tools were in his blood.  My maternal Grandfather was a tailor so I guess I inherited a love of art, craft, design and building from both sides.  My Dad was always tinkering around our house.  Fixing the faucet or building a bookcase (to shelve his Shakespeare), Dad would decide he needed another gadget to complete the job. "Come, Ellen," he would say, "let's take a walk to the hardware store."  These outings were memorable for being with my Dad and in the wonders I saw housed in the narrow, dimly lit store.  Rows of every imaginable utensil, mechanism, gizmo shone from the floor to ceiling racks, impacting my imagination with marvelous notions.

Too, the  old row house in which we lived had been built in the early 1900's.  Metal grates, old fashioned spindles, elaborate brass and cut-glass doorknobs, and intricate tile work defined our rather modest home.  In those days, craft and art were part of any building.  In our basement, the big, black old fashioned furnace was an object of mystery and delight for me.  It was detailed with swirls, gold letters and jutting pipes.  I would visit it with awe. 

Recently I had the pleasure of touring a wood shop where stunning moldings and other beautiful wood objects are created.  As ever, I was drawn to the machinery and tools, as well as the wonderful works of wood.  And, majestically in its own alcove stood a furnace that brought back so many memories.  It's powerfully solid presence struck me as magnificent in its design and its purpose.

 Black and white architectural photography

To learn more about furnaces visit:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 8-26-2014

I am pleased and honored to be hosting a webinar for Tiffen Dfx tomorrow, Wednesday August 27, 2014 at 12 PM est.

For more information please visit:

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 8-16-2014

Light is integral to all visuals.  And light is the basic component of photography.  Yet light is elusive, mysterious, not easy to grasp either figuratively or literally.  Light is beautiful in its power and its ability to unify.  It is decorative, illuminating and creative.  Light can be harsh or soft; blinding or guiding; relevant or discordant.  As a photographer light is my adversary, my friend and my teacher.

On a recent trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, I was gifted with a day of varying light patterns.  The day started out cloudy.  Often a cloudy day provides the "best" conditions during which to photograph outdoors because there is no glare. My day then became gloriously sunny giving me a chance to shoot shafts of sunlight sifting through leaves and creating shapes on walkways.  Still later, humidity caused my lens to occasionally fog up.  (Not necessarily a bad thing, fog, if used to its advantage as a diffuser.)  The different lighting options gave me natural lighting opportunities to hone in on some macro photography I had been wanting to do.  Later, I enjoyed walking on the dappled sun/shade paths the Gardens offer.  All was lush and dense with summer's greenery and flowers.  Each lighting scenario accentuated the colors and forms.

In every season and weather, I always love looking at the natural plantings in the Gardens.  And I am delighted with the way that the architecture of the buildings complements these beautiful plantings.  Interiors and exteriors feature lovely augmentations to the gardens.  The art deco lobby I visited that day in one of the BBG's central buildings brought forth the memories I have of Brooklyn when deco abounded.  The style was extremely popular throughout the middle decades of the twentieth century and I grew up seeing art deco detailing in numerous buildings all over NYC.  It is a marvelously adaptive design palette that emphasizes light and all of its characteristics.  The forms and lines of art deco attract and appreciate every light perogative.  It is especially enchanting to see art deco shapes of light echoing, enhancing and creating design as they are admitted through the wonderful glass deco door panels.  

 Black and white architectural photography: Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Brooklyn NYC

To learn more about light visit:

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 8-11-2014

As previously mentioned: nature is the great architect.  Molding, building, sculpting and shaping nature creates our universe.  It is from nature that many architects derive their inspiration.  Occasionally nature is glorified by the setting aside lands for the specific purpose of enjoying the majesty that nature seemingly offers effortlessly. 

One such natural place is the Flume Gorge in Lincoln, NH.  Here, a wonderful pathway created from natural wooded walkways and stairs allows visitors to follow the passage that nature creates with water, trees, vegetation and rock.  This natural marvel is for hiking, reflecting and observing nature.  There are also natural locations where humans have utilized nature's instruction to benefit commercial projects.  The Panama Canal is one such undertaking that used natural resource as a platform for architecture and building.  Whatever the case, nature in its genius for construction freely shares knowledge that we may use to better our own creations.

Sepia architectural photography: Lincoln, NH

For more information please visit:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 8-3-2014

Light and its mannerisms play a most significant part in taking a photograph and the subsequent look of the image.  Further, light appeals to our emotions.  The way that light plays on a subject can trigger different responses from viewers to photographs.  For example, a harshly lit image may cause the viewer to feel repelled or excited by the photograph.  On the other hand, a softly lit scene may appear romantic or induce a sensation of calm.

There are few scenes that can elicit the melting moment of the magic hour after a rain in the bucolic countryside.  Recently I had the pleasure of seeing such a sight from the porch of an old inn in New Hampshire.  The emotions of peace and pleasure came to mind as I snapped the shutter on the fleeting scene that the light, time of day, setting and architecture had conspired to produce.

Sepia architectural photograph: Whitefield, NH

For more about light and its effects in photography and painting visit:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 7-25-2014

The architecture that nature provides for study has influenced architects and artists from known time during which humans lived.  The caves were determined as dwellings  by their natural structure and form.  When humans began to construct buildings, they looked to nature for inspiration as well as for building materials: wood, stone, minerals.  To be near a water source was always desirable for both the erection of the structure and for convenience in living.  Light, of course was and remains of paramount importance.  Therefore, structures in natural settings frequently involve light and water in their design.

The study of natural formations inspires and elucidates.  Waterfalls emanating from undisturbed natural rock formations are beautiful; additionally, they provide a wealth of understanding in the area of certain critical principles that pertain to construction.  These involve physics, architecture, form, line, design.
"The only things in my life that compatibly exist with this grand universe are the creative works of the human spirit-" Ansel Adams.  Look to nature as the ultimate teacher.

Black and White architectural photography; Lost River Gorge: Woodstock NH

To learn more about nature, architecture and architects visit:

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 7-18-2014

The tale of the city mouse and the country mouse describes the differences in lifestyle and the contrasts that they bring.  I find a negative aspect of an artist's work can be stagnation.  If an artist is to grow and the work evolve and develop, change of scene can be a great catalyst.  Many artists throughout history traveled to refresh their senses and they incorporated that which they encountered into their art.

Each year I have traveled in the summer.  Sometimes we took mammoth car trips to Alaska, Florida or the Dakotas.  Several trips to Europe were inspirational during past Julys.   Most summers are spent in a tiny inherited cottage in Bethlehem, New Hampshire: the White Mountains.  There, the contrasts for me are enormous from my NYC life.  Visually, nature is at the heart of all that I see in New Hampshire.  Layer upon layer of mountains surround vast vistas.  Trees, shrubbery and flowers abound in a multitude of greens and the full spectrum of floral hues.  The night skies are spectacular.  Black velvet with millions of twinkling stars and memorable moons.

Most of all, I enjoy seeing the clapboard houses that are few and far between in the city.  Victorian houses nestle with Federal homes: accentuating wood construction vs. stone/brick.  There are numerous 18th and 19th Century dwellings in Bethlehem, but again and again I am attracted to the wide, wraparound porched clapboard houses wreathed in vines.  They hold the concept of home for me.

 Sepia architectural photography

To learn more about porches and clapboard architecture visit:,d.aWw 


Friday, July 11, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 7-11-2014

Some of the happiest memories of my childhood are of going to the local hardware store with my Dad.  My Dad loved to tinker and fix things around the house; it gave him pleasure to work with his hands.  Both of us viewed the hardware store as a treasure trove. My passion for architecture was surely encouraged by seeing all of the findings and supplies arrayed on the shelves in the small, dimly lit shop on bustling 18th Avenue in 1950's Brooklyn.

The hardware store was a long, narrow room; its only light seemed to emanate from a smoke wreathed bulb hanging from a wire above the counter where all the business transactions took place. The small space smelled of tobacco, oil and turpentine.  Jars of shiny brass screws and dull, silvery metal washers that looked like coins were stacked on dusty shelves.  Coils of rubber tubing and rolls of thick brown twine were piled precariously to the ceiling rafters.  Pipe parts with intricate threads and that were embossed with company names intrigued me.  Brooms, yardsticks, paint stirrers and long wooden dowels were in every corner.  The patterns, textures and forms I saw in that store still inspire me to look at architecture for its construction details.  Nails, joins, and other parts of a structure contribute to its appearance as well as its stature.

Recently I visited a plumbing supply house.  This object caught my eye and took me back to my youngest recollections of the hardware store in Brooklyn, NY.  The counter person asked me what I was taking pictures of.  "Something beautiful," I replied.

Black and White Photography

For more about hardware and hardware stores visit:


Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 7-6-2014

Seeing is the underlying fundamental of all art.  If one cannot see with the eye, there are ways to "see."  Degas saw by feel when he was blind and still creating art---though as a sculptor, when he lost his sight.  Recognizing the art is important for understanding and appreciating it.  The creator and those experiencing the art must be able to know it by sight or other sense.

Seeing also comes into play when an artist looks for subject matter for a work or body of work.  Of course, subject may be in the mind of the creator, but very few artists do not have a physical frame of reference.  Reference may be a completely unique subject or one that is recreated many times over.  Some choose to portray the same model, tree, house or what have you, again and again, while others search for new inspiration.

I like both.  When I travel, I seek out new experiences and sights.  In NYC, I frequently photograph the same architecture that fascinates and appeals to me when I see it.  The Chrysler Building is unquestionably a masterpiece of Art Deco architecture and an iconic symbol of NYC's skyscraper theme.  Its glamor and beautiful lines have characterized the sophistication and power of the City since the building was constructed in the early 1930's.  I love seeing the Chrysler Building when I am walking along 42nd Street near Grand Central Station.  I am accustomed to looking up at the repeating radiating zig-zags that light up at night and at the gargoyles fiercely protecting them.  Many times over the years I have tried to capture the feelings that I have for the Chrysler Building in original ways.

One day I chanced to see the Chrysler Build through a new window of perspective.  I was on 42nd Street but not at my usual vantage point for the Chrysler.  As I looked from  a side entrance of the New York Public Library, I saw the Chrysler shining through.  Remarkably, it was just after a cloud burst and the sun created a glow on the building.  I was charmed and thrilled to see it this way. Photography may present wonderful opportunities to see old friends in a new and different light.

Black and White architectural photography: Chrysler Building, NYC

To learn more about seeing and the Chrysler Building visit:


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 7-2-2014

      I am delighted and honored to be hosting a Webinar for incomparable Tiffen, which  provides filters and other film related products for photographers as well as the Dfx Award-Winning Plug-in and Standalone Software for Photo and Movie Editing. 

     Using DFX has broadened my ability to create and produce my architectural photographs and the software has inspired me in my work.  
     I hope you will join me on Wednesday, July 9th - 12:PM Eastern Time.  To register please click on this link for the free seminar and the chance to win a prize:

Wednesday, July 9th - 12:00 PM Eastern 
Architecture Photography: with Ellen Fisch

Remember these webinars are FREE, so space is limited and on a first come-first serve basis. 

Wednesday, July 9th-12PM EDT
Production to Post Series
with Special Guest-
Ellen Fisch
'Shooting Architecture and Finishing it in post.'
Ellen is a draftsman and a specialist in Architectural Photography. Ellen will walk us through the streets of some  historical and interesting cities and deconstruct her process of creating the final image.
One lucky attendee at this webinar will get a free Dfx software license! Sign up now, this webinar has limited spaces.


Monday, June 30, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 6-30-2014

As always, I am honored and delighted to have one of my articles published in the prestigious photography publication Black Star Rising

I hope you will enjoy reading my latest article: "In Photography, Inspiration is All Around You."

Sepia architectural photography: Germany

Black and White architectural photography: Germany

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 6-29-2014

To many there is nothing so alluring as a roof.  Up high, that soaring feeling increases perceptions of weightlessness and makes so many things seem possible.  The ancients used roof tops to point heavenward as do many houses of worship today.  A roof also tags an architectural style or can act as an ornamental "cap" to a structure.  However, from a practical point of view, open and useable roof tops have become, more than ever, an excellent way to utilize vertical spaces in crowded cities.

Those apartment dwellers who are fortunate enough to have roof access or terraces from their apartments frequently use these outdoor or glass enclosed places for gardens.  Look high up in cities and you can see trees, lush shrubs and vines suspended over busy streets below.  Vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers are often grown in these remarkably innovative roof spaces.  Those who live in areas that abound with yards may not appreciate the wonderful sense of luxury a roof garden affords the city dweller.

Commercial enterprises, such as hotels, restaurants, catering halls and department stores use roof gardens as additional stories in which guests and clients can be served.  Rooftop bars and eateries are marvelous in warm weather and they can be sensational in the crystal clarity of winter if glassed in or hosting cold weather aficionados.  Sunsets on these roofs are spectacular.  The city as a backdrop is a breathtaking sight.  Architects maximize the appeal of rooftop spaces by keeping them simply designed and fully mindful of the view.

     Sunset Rooftop: NYC

For more about elegant rooftops visit: 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 6-22-2014

Light, the essence of all art, is also a function.  To light is to use a source from which some type of illumination germinates and is directed towards a subject.  Whether the source of light highlights a small area or diffuses to bathe a room in light, one cannot ignore the beauty of the lamp.

Since the beginning of time, the sun brightened the world.  The ancients learned how to control the sunlight because, until fire was discovered, it was the only way to overcome darkness.  Fire was more easily harnessed because it could be used indoors and at night.  Finally, lamps were made and true "lighting" was developed into a source of illumination and also decor.  Lighting fixtures are as elaborate as a room-sized chandelier hung with thousands of crystals and candles, such as the one in the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna or as simple as an electric bulb suspended from the ceiling on a wire.  

Any light source attracts me like the proverbial moth to a flame.  When I saw this wrought iron chandelier, I was captivated by its massive design and yet it seemed to hover effortlessly over the grand hallway in which it hangs casting light as well as shadows.  I have always been a keen devotee of Man Ray's photography, which sometimes abstracted the "ordinary" or elevated the "common."  With Man Ray on my shoulder, I looked at the chandelier from various angles.  I thought how elegantly abstracted the shapes created by this light fixture were as I looked straight up into it.  

The black and white photograph may be viewed as an abstract that incorporates grays as diffusions or as a lamp with light and shadow. Or in any way that you like!

Black and white architectural photography: NYC

To learn more about the art of chandeliers visit:

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Monday, June 16, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 6-16-2014

I have felt the romantic allure of trains since I was a small child.  Trains symbolized travel and the unknown adventures that unfold as the tracks and miles are eaten up by the Iron Horse.  I was quite young when I began taking the train around Brooklyn by myself: 7 or 8.  I had to visit the dentist and assorted other "fixers" on my own because my parents worked during the day.  Even more mysterious than the trains themselves where the train platforms.  Mysterious and I might add scary: dark tunnels that held only pinpoints of light and mystifying sounds.  These elevated wooden see-the-street-from-above or black-hole-subway stations were far more frightening surely that the Horror movies I dragged my younger brothers to. 

However, the elation of a train ride was probably all vastly increased by the chilling aspect of my perceived danger at the prospect.  The one constant that enabled the waiting for the trains was the wonderful signage signaling the station and architecture of the platforms.  The elevated consisted of huge metal stanchions that were riveted with large shiny bolts.  Although I was terrified when I sneaked peeks through the wooden slated platform, the elegant patterns of light and shadow fascinated me.  But above all travel experiences for an 8-year-old Brooklynite was descending to the underground and the very real prospect of a deserted station.  On these occasions, I fixated on the subway tiles.  These are magnificently crafted and put together in stunning designs.  Still I am transfixed when I see the old tiles today.  The Deco numbers and letters; the elegant arrangement of parts to form an announcement of place.

NYC has updated and repaired many of the subway stations.  Thankfully, the subway tiles are close replicas of their former selves.  The tiles echo the enchantment of train travel for me and tell of exciting places that are just beyond the turnstile.

NYC Subway Tiles: Black and White Photography

To learn more about NYC subway tiles visit:


Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 6-8-2014

In a way, architecture is the structure of any design.  When designing a work, one is building it based on  the principles of art.  Nature, the master architect, designs nature based on structure and form, essential to any building project.

The genre of still life is composed of objects, frequently including but not necessarily flowers, placed in juxtaposition to each other to form a pleasing arrangement.  This concept also is integral to architecture in the sense that elements must compliment each other and work well together to create a well balanced and appealing building.

At a French restaurant in NYC on a frigid night this past winter, I was delighted with the single bloom on my table.  In photographing the flower, I incorporated part of the crystal candle container for a wisp of romance and to show that it is night.  Nature has structured the petals of the rose into a design that is endlessly intricate and beautiful.  How lovely to study architecture in this way!

 Sepia still life as architectural photography: NYC

To learn more about still life and architecture; nature as architect please visit:


Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 6-1-2014

Architecture can be as simple as a cube.  A box that is functional and will stand the test of time.  On the other hand, architecture may be devised as an elaborately detailed statement by the architect.  Of course, a cube is a statement in itself and the modernists of the Bauhaus certainly presented cubes as a most beautiful design form.  The clean lines appeal to many as a conceptualization of clear and uncluttered space.  Bauhaus architecture greatly appeals to me, but I also love architectural eye candy that more ornate genres of architecture incorporate into design .

Architectural eye candy are the embellishments of glass, stone carvings, brick patterns and the like.  Visually metal architectural jewelry delights me.  The fanciful or bold uses of iron, steel, copper, bronze and even precious metals like gold and silver add an ornamental aspect to interiors and exteriors of buildings that creates another dimension to the architecture. 

In this hallway, the wrought iron railing carries the eye down the stairs yet punctuates the space with a complex and open design.  The repeating curves and swirls of the iron compliment the round and arched window frames.  The many elements of architecture in this sepia architectural photograph are enhanced by the emphasis on lights and darks.

Architectural sepia photograph: NYC

To read more about ornamental railings visit:

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 5-26-2014

There are many facets of an artwork.  The work may be visually pleasing; commemorate an event or person(s); promote a belief; advertise a product.  The connection of the artist with the viewer gives an image the different meanings and elicits the responses from each.  Many examples of architecture, photography, painting and other arts evoke memories.  Perhaps these are some of the most powerfully effective works because they may be viewed on a deeper level.
Photography is a medium that expressly is used to record and chronicle.  Events, people, art, anything that can be viewed is subject matter for the lens.  The images taken by the camera can conjure memories in a way that is immediate and graphic.  In many cases photography is a deliberate medium for just that: bringing forth the past for present and future considerations.  A photograph that can provide a key to the past, in any context, is an impressive tool as well as a vehicle to provide beauty and aesthetic gratification. 
The two entrances of a school in NYC brought back many memories of my childhood.  Although many buildings are being replaced or updated in NYC, these remain just as they were years ago.  I can visualize clearly children entering the doors for a day of school in the 1950's as easily as I can see these portals today.  The architecture is at once straight forward and complex.  The combination of building materials blends together in the recognizable school facade.  Bricks, limestone, metalwork, and marble create a feeling of substance and worth.  The decorative capitols on the columns, archway, doors and brickwork add notes of grandeur as do the artfully mounted globe lights.  The signage and religious symbol of the cross are forthright and dominant in the appearance of the building.  The most influential signs are those which are not embellished and clearly identified.  The worn steps note the passage of the many children who have entered these doorways.


Black and white architectural photography: Two School Entrances, NYC

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Friday, May 23, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 5-23-2014

So much of photography involves seeing and the personal connection to that which is seen.  Throughout my life, I have been captivated by many sights, some familiar and some new to me.  Frequently I notice these in passing.  Other times I seek out certain buildings or structures. For example, when I am in Manhattan I never fail to take time to admire the Empire State Building.  It appears as a sentential, rising from midtown to announce its presence over NYC.  Other architecture, such as the Royal Swedish Opera House in Stockholm or the Villa Borghese in Rome, were marvelous to see while I was traveling and their magnificent architecture remains fixed memories of beauty and grace. 
As a child, I repeatedly accompanied my Mother to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Perhaps it was there that my seeing was honed. I return to this day to see the  genius architecture of nature in the many flowers, trees, leaves and the McKim, Mead & White magnificent design for the main BBG buildings erected in 1917.  The Japanese Gardens, rose gardens and other wonderfully planned spaces of the gardens still draw me to Brooklyn. There are other attractions at the BBG, too. The Children's Garden, which celebrates its 100 year was where I learned to plant and to appreciate the earth's bounty. The lessons that influenced so many aspects of my photography were cultivated early on in Brooklyn. I am grateful that currently my family also includes the Gardens as a source of inspiration and tranquility, as well as a font of learning just as I did and still do. 
My family and I are delighted to be referenced in a Wall Street Journal article about the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens' Children's Gardens.  

Sepia photograph: Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Brooklyn NYC

 To learn about my and my family's relationship with the BBG, especially the Children's Garden visit:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 5-13-2014

One note design is wonderful in its simplicity and purity, but I also appreciate a mix of materials and aesthetics in capturing an architectural image.  Every element of a photograph must be carefully considered if it is to represent the subject.  The more components there are to the exposure, the more they must integrate to form one perception.
On a night in Munich, I saw this entryway illuminated and majestic. The lacy wrought iron gates provide a lovely counterpoint to the carved stone column capitals.  The ribbed arches bring the eye around the image, while the hanging lamps provide punctuation and glow.  Finally, the cobblestones and slates on the ground add the textural elements to balance the elaborate upper portions of the photograph.  I used sepia for this architectural photograph because it heightened the romantic and somewhat mysterious atmosphere of the night. 
The many elements of design, texture, light, architecture and form create an image of intrigue and beauty.  I was glad to be there to capture my impression of this enchanting place.

Sepia architectural photography: Munich, Germany

To read more about materials in architecture visit:$FILE/English.pdf

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 5-2-2014

In all of us there is a bit of the voyeur, in the sense that we love the unique and intriguing experience of seeing things indirectly. The idea of viewing the subject through another dimension is enormously appealing.  It is the essence of movies, literature, and other arts: we observe vicariously or second hand.  Photographers, especially, like to look through the the camera lens and see their subjects "in" the camera so to speak.

The concept of looking at something via the imagination is even more appealing and is an extension of voyeurism.  The American painter, Edward Hopper enthralls us with his paintings that invite the viewer to come inside a window or door.  The Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico, whose works that take the eye through arches and around corners,  was a student of the philosopher Nietzsche who said:
"Art is not merely the imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest."  In other words, art surpasses reality in its presentation of the artist's conceptualization.

Both Hopper and Chirico involve the viewer in seeing through one component into the next and further, as did Alfred Hitchcock in the film Rear Window.  These caused me to realize the importance of adding the appearance of  beyond in my photography.  Doorways, portals, arches, windows are pathways to journeys of inventiveness.

Black and White architectural photograph: Munich, Germany.

To learn more about seeing through and beyond visit:
Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest.