For an upcoming club photographic competition, the subject is ‘Architecture’. Here are some thoughts on the definition of architecture and what I would be thinking of when both submitting and critiquing. It’s not an exhaustive discussion on the subject and is not meant to be but a starting point.
Some of the very first photographs were of buildings Fox Talbert’s Latticed Windows for example
No doubt this was in part because of the long exposures required, and that buildings rarely move, but buildings have an important place in society. Not least photography gave a vehicle by which a build could come to the person.
Architectural photography has a notable commercial aspect but is also now an established photographic genre of its own. The design of buildings is both a form cultural and artistic expression. Sometimes in sympathy with the status quo, but other times breaking deliberately from it.
Both internal and external images of structures are permitted, and the structures do not have buildings intended for habitation; Bridges, Cranes, and Industrial complexes for example. People and nature do not have to be excluded and can be used effectively as part of the composition. The main subject does need to be the architecture
Technically photography of this type is challenging, as the buildings need to represented faithfully and yet aesthetically pleasing. For primary classes aim for exposure, together with verticals. Buildings should not appear to be falling over or distorted – this can be difficult to achieve even for experienced photographers so try using wide shots and make a good attempt.
A large depth of field is often required to convey the full structure.
In more advanced classes, photographer input is also needed. Find the art within the structure or seek to enhanced or add to the architects’ vision. Alternative forms of input would be putting the structure into historical, social or cultural context.
- Wide angle shot, long exposure
- Deliberately having the vertical lines converging
- Finding art in the architecture, one building reflected in another
- Using reflections, and showing a building in its context
- Shooting from a different angle
- Contrasting old and new
- Different lighting and seizing the moment
- Wikipedia has a brief but succinct introduction.
- A good discussion of the artistic side with some links to notable photographers
- Some general tips on architectural photography