Advertising photographs, photographs of new buildings or tourist photographs... These days, architectural photography is everywhere.
The GADCOLLECTION Gallery represents many artists offering architectural photography.
What is architectural photography?
Architectural photography is a kind of photography. It is about capturing through photography, a building, a construction or an architectural element. In principle, architectural photography should faithfully reflect the building by capturing the light. However, while being faithful to the construction photographed, the photographer also transcribes his personal vision of the work. The interest is therefore twofold.
Cássio Vasconcellos, Pont au double, Series: Nocturnes à Paris
Brief history of architectural photography
Following the invention of photography in the early 19th century, architecture quickly became a subject of inspiration. Indeed, the daguerreotypes, devices then used, required a long exposure time. The buildings then appeared as the dream subjects, leading photographers to be passionate about architectural curves and lines.
The "heliographic mission", created in 1851, is the first French architectural photography project. The aim was to inventory national historic monuments. The photographers selected, such as Gustave Le Gray or Edouard Baldus, are the first big names in architectural photography.
Edouard Baldus, Les Arènes d'Arles, 1851
In the 20th century, architectural photographers translated architectural advances into photographs. Lucien Hervé, for example, followed and photographed the work of Le Corbusier. Nowadays, architectural photography accompanies urban transformations while questioning contemporary buildings.
Black and white architectural photography
Providing a timeless character, black and white photographs have never been neglected by architectural photographers despite the arrival of color photography.
Thus, artists like George TICE have chosen black and white to question American culture through the photography of its buildings. Likewise, Jean-Claude GAUTRAND photographed Paris in black and white in the second half of the 20th century. These timeless photographs invite to projection.
Alessandro PIREDDA is a photographer who captures historical monuments, illuminated on one side or by a beam of light. They are then hardly revealed. This play with light leads him to emphasize only the desired architectural element and thus reveal a particular aspect of the building.
The photography of abandoned urban buildings: urbex photography
Urbex photography is a new form of architectural photography that appeared at the end of the 20th century. Urbex (urban exploration) is a practice aimed at exploring abandoned places. The photographs taken during these explorations reflect an architecture that has stood the test of time. They question human constructions and their ephemeral character. The photographs of the abandoned buildings on Ellis Island by Stephen WILKES are a good illustration of this.
To read our article on urbex photography click here.
Stephen Wilkes, E5 Curved corridor, Series : Ellis Island
Stephen Wilkes, E71 Window study recreation, Série : Ellis Island
Likewise, Romain VEILLON is a French photographer who has traveled the world in search of abandoned buildings to photograph. His work on the abandoned city of Kolmanskop in Namibia or on abandoned Italian palaces are invitations to travel.
Romain Veillon, Ask the dust, Namibia, 1, Series : Kolmanskop
Romain Veillon, Vivalto, Série : Forgotten Palaces
The importance of image composition
The choice in the composition of the image by the photographer determines the tone of the photograph and the atmosphere it will give off.
The photography of urban areas: a wide framing in height
Architectural photography is instinctively associated with photographs of large urban complexes or great monuments. These photographs reflect the power of the buildings and their majesty. These are photographs generally taken at height and with a wide framing so as not to betray the curves of the buildings.
The Shanghai series by Cássio VASCONCELLOS is representative of this type of architectural photography. The photographs are taken at a safe distance and at the height of the towers. By capturing these buildings through the mist, he paints a personal portrait of this city.
Cássio Vasconcellos, Shanghai 10, Series : Shanghai
Stefano CERIO generally chooses wide frames to serve his work, questioning places of leisure around the world. In this way, these photographs of unused monumental attractions manage to particularly impress the viewer.
Stefano Cerio, Treausure island pirate kingdom, Quingdao, 2015, Series : Chinese fun
In his Day to Night series, Stephen WILKES offers a fresh take on architectural photography. From the same angle of view, he takes a thousand photographs of a building in one day. By assembling these images, he obtains a photograph showing him from day to night.
Stephen Wilkes, Tour de France, Paris, Series : Day to Night
Stephen Wilkes, Campanile di San Marco, Venice, Series: Day to Night
Intimate architectural photography: focusing on a detail
The photographer can just as well opt for a tight, more intimate shot. This type of framing allows the artist to focus on an architectural element and to sublimate it. Likewise, he can choose an offset framing in order to bring a new vision.
In his series Nocturnes à Paris, Cássio VASCONCELLOS opts for off-center and tight shots focusing on one or more details of Parisian monuments. These photographs therefore offer original plans.
Cássio Vasconcellos, Opéra, Series : Nocturnes à Paris