As a photographer, architecture offers many a challenge. There are a number of factors that come together to make photographing the exterior of a building technically very demanding. Much of the time you are at the mercy of the elements. It can often take several visits to the location to discover the best time of day or conditions to dramatise the geometric forms of the building. Even then it can be a waiting game for the sky to clear and sunlight strike. Patience is clearly a virtue in this regard.
It never ceases to amaze some people how excited I get about a slab of concrete!
My view is that effective architectural photography for all its technical challenges, is about telling, and sometimes selling, a story. Depending on your standpoint the desired image can vary significantly. For the architect, it is typically revealing the original design intent and capturing the building in context of the environment and inhabitants; for construction companies and developers it might be the magnitude or ‘landmark’ factor of the structure; whereas publishers and editors often focus on the artistry and textural elements of the architecture. Like all problem-solving, it begins with clear communication and a complete understanding of your brief, long before the camera comes out of the bag.
Interiors are another story altogether. It’s a real irony how many lights it can take to make an interior feel like it’s naturally lit! It helps that I have a passion for architecture and urban design. Having spent a great deal of time working with architects I have a clear understanding of what makes them tick and the thought process that goes into designing a project from the butter paper to blueprint.
I have many favourites locally from the brightly coloured sculptural forms of Denton Corker Marshall, the geometrics of Lab Architecture and Glenn Murcutt’s sensitivity to the Australian environment. When travelling internationally, projects by Koolhass, Gehry, Foster and Rogers invariably make it onto my shot list. That said, whatever the built form, be it a distribution warehouse or an urban town house, I get a kick out of documenting its structure. It never ceases to amaze some people how excited I get about a slab of concrete!