Posts tagged “Architecture Photography

Light, Dappled and Shadowed, Shaken not Stirred (Three Photographs)

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Photography is all about light: quality, direction, etc. Every book on photography goes into this in detail, then moves on to time of day, studio lights etc. I think dappled light is underrated for the most part because it causes chromatic aberrtion in many colour situations and complicates exposure (because of the limited dynamic range of light cameras can see). Similarly, strong shadows can be interesting to work with. All good ideas worth exploring.

 


Making a Photo (Three Photographs)

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In an earlier post this week I wrote about why buildings fall backwards and distort when taking photographs of them unless you use a tilt-shift lenses or position yourself in an ideal if difficult position (that is dead center of the building which maybe many stories up). I also used the phrase “making a photograph”. Here I have totally ignored a few basics, the building is by no means straight and the colors are to some degree exaggerated (though the second photo except for sharpening is out of the camera, flare and all). The building has a Gotham-like design that I tried to accentuate. The making of a photograph means having an idea about the outcome when taking the photograph, implementing what we can in camera, and finishing it off in the editing phase. In this case the same venue afforded me several possible approaches, three of which are here.


Why Buildings Bend and Lean (Two Photographs)

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In these photographs I have tried my best to keep lines straight and the buildings from leaning back. The science of optics dictates that if you are not shooting straight on at the middle of a building it will lean backwards. Tilt shift lenses fix this to a great degree but at a considerable cost, it’s cheaper to use the transform and lens correction tools in software like Lightroom to straighten and correct these issues (works for most but not all situations). These Fuji XT-2 photos were a lot of work to straighten to the degree I could. These issues are common and while photographers try their best to fix them they are a part of the making of a photograph and a challenge in architectural and interior photography.


An Awkward Building Part 2 (Three Photographs)

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On Wednesday I did a set of photographs of Old City Hall, this set is of the open-ended courtyard at the rear of the building which is seldom used. The three-piece sculpture is called Objective Memory. I will quote the artist’s statement because in the many years I walked past none of this was clear to me. “Catherine Widgery’s three-part outdoor sculpture offers a whimsical look at the relationship between nature and the human order of things. A polar bear atop a pyramid of star constellations, a man inside a rocket ship-like cone and a tree enclosed in a metal cylinder — all complement the building’s design while playfully inviting observers to reflect on the timeless balance between nature and people.”


An Awkward Building (Three Photographs)

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Once upon a time this building was a rectangle of concrete on an island near where the Rideau River meets the Ottawa River. From 1958 to 2000 it was the City Hall (the first air-conditioned building in the capital). Moishe Safdie was hired to design an extension in 1988. His idea was to create a semi-enclosed courtyard in the back, also adding the towers for effect. When the cost was seen as too high and the towers too ornate; the design was changed to what you see here (though in fairness I have not done any shooting of the front entrance). In 2001, it was sold to the Federal Government and became popularly known as Old City Hall, the official name changed to its street address then to a politician’s name but it’s still Old City Hall to it its denizens. My next post on this building will focus on the odd use made of the courtyard.

 

 


Looking Back at Brutalism (Two Photographs)

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The architectural expression “brutalism” comes from Le Courboiser’s love of “brut” meaning raw and specifically raw concrete. Some called it late 60’s mid 70‘s modern. I always associated it with Leaders who wanted to look strong. The first photo is of a recently renovated federal building that used to be an insurance company. The inside has mosaics and other brash ornamentation that is a wonder to look at, completely at odds with the exterior you see here. The second is part of an old hospital and this part of the building seems to have been bolted on in an expansion of the building. Exteriors can be deceiving but certainly an interesting photographic subject.

 


Urban Brutalism (Three Photographs)

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Every modern city has in its practical and efficient modern architecture, some element of brutal minimalism. You can add fancy lamps and benches, but it’s still minimally finished steel and concrete. Acidic critique aside, getting photos of this type to have impact is an art. They can help to clarify thinking about light, leading lines, the use of shadows, contrast, mid tones and highlights. Margaret-Bourke White took the photo for the cover of Life Magazine’s first issue; it was from a story about a dam. You can see it here: Bourke Photo. I was given a copy of that magazine many years ago and that cover photo is something that I am reminded of often. It is both brutalist and beautiful.