Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 3-30-2014

My last post concerned the architecture of nature and how masterful architects incorporate nature's tutelage into their building designs.
Another way that architects combine the genius of nature's patterns and schemes into their own visions is by using natural materials and organically inspired ornamentation to enhance architecture.
The Art Nouveau movement, initiated in Europe in the late 1800's/early 1900's, was based on using natural, organic embellishment in lavish ways to adorn architecture.  Plasterwork, stone carvings, metal work and wood compositions resembled sinuous vines, stylized flowers, idealized forms that appeared to grow around a window, doorway or facade of a building.  These present as architectural embroidery: so fanciful and fluid are the designs.
Art Nouveau is wonderfully evident in the lobby of this Berlin building.  The art tracery of the metal doors echoes the back garden, which can be seen through the hallway.  The use of marble with its naturally veined organic markings adds to the Art Nouveau design of the interior.  Plaster frieze work is in wonderful accord with the natural architectural theme of the space.  Finally, the lights and darks mirror nature's contrasts to create beauty and graceful style.

Black and white architectural photography: Apartment House Lobby.  Berlin, Germany

To read more about Art Nouveau Architecture and Design visit these links:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 3-22-2014

Nature is the best architect.  Structure is defined by the organic growth of organic elements in the natural world.  The process by which nature combines stone, wood, water, foliage harmoniously in patterns is dynamic and infinitely subtle.  Many architects have used nature for inspiration, notably Frank Lloyd Wright.  Wright's fusing of nature with his magnificent architecture is a testament to his reverence of the natural world. Another master architect, Mies van der Rohe  was deeply devoted to having a harmonious relationship with nature in his Bauhaus architecture, creating as did Wright a confluence between natural structure and human structures.  Further, Philip Johnson's Glass House sought to incorporate nature into the house through its groundbreaking transparent exterior, which makes the house seem to "float" in the landscape. These architects knew that there are always abundant examples in which line, form, function, rhythm and composition may be learned from nature; one only has to observe and copy freely.

At the end of winter, branches that are beginning to come alive with foliage create a fretwork against  a landscape that still has vestiges of snow.  The outcroppings of rock provide texture against the patchwork of earth, snow and faded grass. These natural architectural elements provide wonderful subjects for my photography.  They are especially compelling and effective when presented in the black and white architectural photograph.  I recently walked through Manhattan's jewel: Central Park.  In a City teaming with people, business, skyscrapers and vehicles, the beautifully designed park is a respire from the chaos that surrounds it.  There I observed nature in tandem with Olmstead's architecture.

Central Park, NYC: Black and white architectural photograph

 To read more about Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe and Phillip Johnson's linking nature and architecture visit these links:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 3-19-2014

It is always my honor and pleasure to be published in the marvelous Black Star Rising:

With Color, Less is More

I learned to develop black and white photography in my college darkroom decades ago. Back then, we didn’t shoot or develop color photographs. Instead, we hand-tinted black and whites if we wanted to colorize our images.
Continue reading: 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 3-16-2014

Architectural elements are appealing in anything: clothing, furnishings, transit and a host of other categories that fall under the creative umbrella.  And, of course buildings are all about architecture.  Architectural elements strongly influence not only the exterior of the structure but the interior as well.  Interior design certainly is part of architecture's success, but frequently is offered second billing to the outer art of the building.  The interior of the architecture augments the exterior of the structure in creating a wonderfully harmonious work of architecture.  However, interior need not necessarily conform to the style of the building's front.  Sometimes the interior may surprise.  A modern building has an antique focused interior and a Gothic edifice exhibits Bauhaus furnishings.  These are successfully realized but not as frequently as adhering to the architectural style of a building's facade, as in Federal out+Federal in.  I must admit I like surprises and an eclectic look is appealing to my aesthetic perspective.

Recently I was in NYC's iconic department store, Macy's on 6th Avenue and 34th Street.  The building's exterior is a amalgamation of styles from Palladian to added Art Deco and other period embellishments.  The interior of the huge flagship department store has lately undergone modernization.  The previous architectural interior design, filled with interesting detailing and nooks has been vanquished in favor of a more open, modern style.  However, touches of the century+ year old interior is captured in this architectural-style display, which incorporates bygone elements into an arresting way to draw attention to merchandise.  I appreciated the unusual use of items to create a visual work that is old and new; unusual and familiar and wonderfully artful in its use of architectural design.

Architectural Department Store Display: NYC, Black and White Architectural Photography

Read more about Macy's transformation:

Read more about architectural department store displays:

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 3-8-2014

Aside from the point, the line is the most basic element of all visual art.  In fact the line underscores the theme in every art: sculpture, painting, dance, music, literature, poetry et al.  By far the line is the most expressive artistic aspect of an art work as well.  Not necessarily bound by form or function, the line may curve, glide straight, distort itself and inscribe subject or not.  Lines are only restrained by the artist's imagination. However, in order to successfully interact with the other elements of an artwork, the line must accommodate each component of the art in which it exists.
In the black and white architectural photograph of escalators, the lines are a decided focus.  They sweep through the piece with rhythm and their movement emphasizes the darks and lights.  Essentially the lines move the eye around the photograph in a way that echoes the hypnotic up and down flow of the escalators.

Escalators: Midtown Manhattan


Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 2-6-2014

 I was honored to have my article and photographs posted as a guest blogger for

Trinity Church and surrounding buildings: Wall Street area, NYC  photo by Ellen Fisch

The Changing New York City Architecture

March 4, 2014
                         The changing scene of New York City’s architecture and design went into high gear at the beginning of the Millennium....   read more.....

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 3-3-2014

Black and white architectural photography relies on light, form, line and composition.  Because the "distractions" of color are removed, monochromatic images use texture and pattern as accents to enhance the photograph.  I was initially struck by the power and majesty of the architecture in this entry to a building in Munich, Germany.  The beauty and substance of the soaring pillars that support the elaborately detailed ceiling and propel the eye to the doors create an impressively grand composition. But, this type of image is given intimacy by the textures of marble, stone tiles and decorative details.  The checkerboard flooring and repeating floral ornamentation offer exquisite embroidery to the architecture.  The hanging lights and ceiling design provide punctuation the gives pause to the eye's being channeled directly to the end of the passageway.  The patterns and textures of the architecture work marvelously well together to create diversion in a composition that might otherwise be overwhelming in its grandeur.  

Black and White architectural photograph