Architectural photography ten quotes to discover and enjoy it
Updated: Mar 10
It is possible to have an artistic or merely documentary approach; academic or journalistic; systematic or intuitive. It is possible to focus on the architectural fact or use it almost as an excuse to reflect the life that surrounds it. It is also possible to be at the service of the work and the architect or to look for something personal and purely photographic. These quotes and photos of their authors give us a glimpse of some of the motivations behind an architectural image. It is interesting how some of these photographers have different ideas for this work. "I look at my work in a way that is analogous to a musician who is given a score to play and has to bring it to life and make the piece as good as it can be."
"My work is documentation around architecture, what people do in that space, the relationship with the environment. I try to document these kinds of things. I'm not interested in super clean photos of the building. Architects are obsessed with their buildings, and I'm interested in the surroundings. But somehow, we complement each other. We meet halfway. I have worked for some architects in Holland. I wouldn't say I liked it. Everything was spotless, no people, bright sun. I was much more interested in documentary photography."
"I suppose that my experience and training as a painter has been decisive (...). My photographs retain characteristics more characteristic of painting than of traditional photography". "The photographic medium is a tool for experimentation rather than a preconceived idea. Photography, as a language, does not speak of the outside world but the inside, of the subjective and therefore personal world, acting as a camera obscura that returns an inverted image; showing the visibility of the invisible".
"For me, a house only makes sense in a moment, an hour, an instant. This makes the photo interesting not only for architects because it shows the project but also for people like my mother. She is not an architect because she can see a beautiful photograph, not just an architectural photograph. It's more than that, and that was something new. This genre of photography is different from the boring architectural photography of the past that only documents elevations. Photography doesn't interest me if it only depicts architecture. The people in my photographs are like actors, and the houses are like a stage. That's how I see my work: an open narrative".
"The task of the photographer is the same as that of the architect, which is to make the space habitable, adding emotions and endowing the construction with practical and aesthetic functions. That is why, when the architect recognizes his work, saying that the photographs have given him new perspectives, it is the greatest reward he can get. Architectural photography is an applied art that must follow the architect's gaze, superimposing his own on it, always to add, looking for the spatial axes where the work multiplies, approaching its greatest expressive potential".
"Any photograph ceases to be just another photo when you take it out of context. Any element you photograph ceases to be what it is when you frame it and take it out of its reality. With architectural photography, what you do is document another author's work. I like to say that I am a documentalist at the architect's service to show his work. Another question is what I get out of that work, which will be better or worse, depending on who sees it, but mainly what I do is document work.
From the work you are expected to do, I manage to take some incredible photos, and that in a way is the added value of your work, which the author of the work itself does not expect because he had never imagined it. So, therefore, if you get those images, they are probably the most striking images for the architect, because the other ones you know you are going to do, they are the clear ones".
"Digital photography is the great democratizer that has made it possible for anyone to take a perfect photo. To make it better you have to go all out, and we have to move the furniture around, which a lot of people don't do. What makes a great interior photo is rearranging the table for a particular camera angle.
"Normally, buildings have incoming and outgoing light on the facades. Therefore, it was tough to capture an entire front without losing detail in the deep blacks or the highlights when the sun shines directly on the show. What is the best light for photography? The difference between harsh shadows and highlights disappears if you wait until the whole facade is in shadow. The rest of the elements in the photo, which do receive direct light, destroy the overall balance of the photo, and the visual noise increases. (...) That's when I started looking for a soft light that was bright enough but without creating shadows. And I made the remarkable discovery that this universal light is found every day 20 minutes before sunrise and after sunset. Even after sunset, when the sun has set behind the horizon, there is still enough light reflected in the sky to illuminate the ground. The contrast is quickly softened. But the west facades still receive slightly more light, so there is no loss of volume".