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

To learn more about school architecture visit:

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.