What is architectural photography?

What is architectural photography?

World Architecture Festival
APA Photography

The First Photo: Nicéphore Niépce’s ‘View from the Window at Le Gras 1826/27

There is a distinction between architectural photography and photographing architecture.

Niepce's ‘view from a window’ is clearly an image of architecture and a seminal image in the history of photography.

It pioneered a technical breakthrough.

Today Andreas Gursky is listed as a photographer of architecture and he certainly brings his own interpretation and technical wizardry to his architectural subjects.

There are beautiful photographs of walls by a photographer that associates himself with architectural photography.

There are myriad photographers on Instagram adding architecture and architectural to their profiles.

Many creating one off stunning images and gaining large followings.

But would you commission them?

The distinction being these are photographers using architecture as a vehicle and not photographing architecture to tell the specific architecture’s story.

The architectural photographer must engage the viewer, to take them through the building, with minimal distortion or exaggeration. Sense of place, that is the building in context, understanding and showing the building in use (if allowed) and importantly they must explain spacial relationships.

Over time a building may become known via a single 'hero' image, but a single image alone will not persuade a judge or client.

Immersive CGI's can be used to get a project 'off the ground' but to be honest about the success of a finished building, still images remain the universal vocabulary.

Thank you WAF , STO AG , Aluprof UK , Iris Ceramica and xSpaces for your support.

APA reaches architectural and photographic communities worldwide. Interested in becoming an APA supporter or sponsor? E: lynne@archphotoawards.com or damien.stgeorge@emap.com

Looking at a still photograph is proactive. You decide to look and for how long, to linger and explore the image or walk away. All too often even still images are flashed in front of us momentarily reducing our involvement to a passive onlooker. We are in danger of accepting bad and mediocre imagery as normal, we are looking but not seeing. Photographs of architecture capture more than a building, they create a legacy in time and place.

Lynne Bryant
Founder: The Architectural Photography Awards / archphotoawards.com

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