The Arts

Architectural Photography

Good architectural photographers need to accomplish two things in their work.  They must accurately capture a structure or space in a way that accurately represents the subject, and they must do so in an aesthetically pleasing, eye-catching style.  Some architectural photographers employ specialized equipment and technologies to accomplish this, others rely more heavily on techniques.  Of course most make use of both, but regardless of whether or not they carry around loads of advanced equipment or simply search and wait for the best angles and the best light, a truly great architectural photographer can see and successfully capture both the totality of a structure, and the specific features that make it stand out. This collection presents photographers who are particularly successful at this. 

This collection brings together two types of architectural photography.  For my purposes I will refer to them as aesthetic and scholarly, though the distinction is not always clear. Aesthetic photographers tend to be more concerned about capturing a project in the most appealing manner possible in order to show a structure at its best.  Very often these photographs taken by professionals for presentation panels, touristic brochures, project reports, or for submission to journals and prize committees.  While these photographs must not misrepresent a site, the priority is on showing the site as its best.  Scholarly photography, on the other hand, is primarily used for research and teaching.  The emphasis is on accurately depicting a structure and its features.  They may not be intended to show an architectural project at its best. Indeed, the objective may be the exact opposite.  A scholarly image may be intended to capture defects in or damage to a structure.  It may also make use of lighting effects or unusual angles that are not necessarily flattering, but which effectively capture something illustrative. 

Many of the photographers in this collection are professional photographers who have built their reputation on their skills in photographing architecture; others are prominent scholars who took photographs for purposes of research or illustration of their arguments.  But regardless of the purpose for which the photographs were taken, all the artists represented in this collection are celebrated for their skills as photographers. 

The images represented here span the history of photography, from the late 19th c. to the present day.  Hence you will find a variety of formats.  Click on an authority to learn basic information about the photographers and their work.  Click the button labeled images to see their photographs.

--Michael A. Toler, Archnet Content Manager October 2018

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