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:



  1. Great essay Ellen. I immediately saw that the subject was the Chrysler Building as soon as the image appeared on my screen.

  2. Thank you, Nick. Much appreciated!

  3. Quality not quantity is your trade mark. I can't believe a photo can be so crisp and ethereal at the same time.

  4. Thank you for our kind words. For me, they validate my efforts.