Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 4-27-2014

In all of art there is a focus.  Dance, music, painting, architecture, sculpture, photography, literature et al call attention to a dominant thought that the artist wishes to communicate.  This idea may be of historic, humanitarian or heroic interest, such as the monuments, books or paintings that commemorate wars, scientific advances and regarding those individuals who change the world with their enormous influences.  Or the focus of a work may be a quiet joy that the artist wishes to express for its sheer beauty.
The Joyce Kilmer poem Trees was memorized by many school children in the 1950's.  I was one of them and the poem certainly impacted the way I forever after looked at trees.  As I have said in the past, nature is the supreme architect and trees are among the natural creations that have long inspired architects and artists.  Upon viewing this splendid old tree set against imposing architecture, I was glad to spend a few moments simply looking at its beauty. The marvelous wrought iron fence, with it serpentine and linear design, echoes the fine lines of the tree's organic form.  As stately and graceful as the architecture that provided a backdrop for it, the tree was a wonderful focal point for my camera.

Sepia photograph: Munich, Germany

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 4-20-2014

There are wonders around every corner.  This is why photography is so appealing to so many people.  You have only to look and fascinating subjects will present themselves.  Perhaps a flower attracts your attention. Or a bird, cloud, rainbow.  Snap the shutter and it is yours to look at whenever you please. 
My passion has always been architecture.  I frequently stop to take photographs of buildings while I walk around.  A small camera is always with me for such moments.  Hurrying through the beautiful Gendarmenmarkt area of Berlin, I was on my way to a restaurant when I saw this imposing doorway.  The night light and shadows; artificial illumination; marvelous mix of stone and ornamental metal; and the see-through quality of the scene immediately captured me.  I paused to take several shots that will be reminders of a lovely evening in an alluring city.

Sepia photograph of architecture: Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 4-12-2014

The anticipation of photographing architectural icons is always an inspiring prospect.  These unique and remarkable structures, visions of creative minds,  must also rely on functionality.  It is true that there are architectural rarities that forfeit the practical for looks alone, but for the most part form follows function.  One of my primary considerations in photographing known architecture landmarks is  to discover a new aspect of the structure.  Instantly recognizable buildings are a challenge to present in that they are usually accepted at a glance.  The viewer has seen the building so many times that the slightest suggestion of it recalls previous impressions.  Really engaging the viewer then becomes problematic.  As a photographer, I try to bring something new and creative to each image and then communicate that to the viewer.  Show and Tell as it were: seeing something about the architecture that appeals to me and giving others the chance to interact with that uniqueness as well.
The Empire State Building is an example of an iconic structure that has a global profile.  The beautifully majestic Art Deco building exemplifies a people, a city and a way of life.  Capturing this totality in a fresh way is daunting.  I have taken hundreds of shots of the Empire State Building.  Mostly they record the impression most people perceive.  However, from a 6th story window in midtown, I saw something new.  The window frame and the angle I needed to use to capture the image put the building in a different context for me.  Always open to options, I appreciated an unexpected way to see the renowned Empire State Building.

Black and White photography: Empire State Building, NYC

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Art of Architectural Photography 4-6-2014

Building "jewelry" has always greatly appealed to me.  The metals used to accessorize architectural deign and craft may add greatly to the complexity of the exterior and the interior of a structure in numerous aesthetic and functional ways.  Elegant wrought iron railings and window grills, glowing brass plaques, polished steel plates and casings add shine and contrast to other building materials, such as plaster, wood and stone.  The jewelry aspect of these metal complements creates a wealth of visual eye candy in every type of space.  Industrial buildings as well as luxurious period mansions usually all have some glint of gold or silver.
Recently I was riding in a beautifully wood paneled elevator in a NYC department store. I became fascinated by the stunningly crafted brass control panel.  Each aspect of the plate is meticulously and beautifully designed for visual appeal and functionality. Architectural jewelry at its best.

 Sepia photograph architecture detail: New York City

For more about use of metals in architecture see: