CNN Style contributor Tish Wrigley recently authored a fascinating article about photography and architecture. It was published on the CNN website on January 5 of this year (2016). In the piece, Wrigley detailed how a skilled photographer can do for architecture what even the best architects cannot do for themselves: make their work travel. The piece is well worth the read if you are interested in knowing what can happen when architecture and photography meet for the purposes of creating art.
Both mediums are art forms in and of themselves. We know that. Whether we are designing commercial architecture in Salt Lake City or a residential project on the other side of the state, we know that what we design will speak volumes about our firm and the communities we serve. Likewise, photographers have similar experiences. The work they create tells the world who they are as artists, yet it also brings to life subject matter that viewers may have no other means of experiencing. When you put the two together, the results can be absolutely incredible.
Buildings Don't Travel
At the core of Wrigley's article is a very real problem architects face every day: buildings don't travel. It is not as though the SLC architects we employ can pick up their buildings, throw them in a day bag, and carry them across the country to show to other people. The best we can do is create portfolios of our work. Photography is an important part of a portfolio, especially when the art form of picture taking is able to capture the essence and art form of architecture.
Portuguese photographer Fernando Guerra is one of the photography artists profiled by Wrigley. Guerra is an award-winning photographer whose recent work from Switzerland is garnering strong reviews around the world. As Guerra tells it, the work he does is by no means easy. Where you or I might take a cheap automatic camera and snap half a dozen photos in less than a minute, Guerra waited all day to get the perfect shot of the EPFL Quartier Nord at dusk.
Guerra's experience in Switzerland offers an excellent explanation of why exquisite photography can make architecture come alive as an art form. Both types of work require a commitment to taking as much time as necessary to create the best possible result. Both require a commitment to creativity, forward thinking design, and finding a way to appeal to the observer on an incredibly personal level. Those who do it well are creating more than just buildings and photographs; they are creating an intensely experiential form of art.
The Next Best Thing to Being Live
Our role as residential and commercial architects in Salt Lake City gives us the opportunity to participate in a lot of great projects. The local area is essentially our canvas. Those who appreciate our work (and live in the Salt Lake City region) can enjoy driving around and seeing all our creations live. But for those who do not live here, photography is the next best thing. Viewing pictures shot by a skilled artist can evoke the same kinds of emotions as one would experience by standing in the doorway or viewing one of the structures from the street.
We wholeheartedly agree with Tish Wrigley and the concept of bringing photography and architecture together to create stunning art. There is something about the two mediums that work incredibly well together, allowing people all over the world to experience architecture from places they will never have the opportunity to visit. As architects, we owe a lot to photographers.
1. CNN Style – http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/05/architecture/architecture-photography-art-iwan-baan/