We want to highlight the current architectural photographers that are best known for their modern architectural work. These photographers have been inspired by those previously mentioned, the “pioneers” of photography and are worthy to be mentioned for any aspiring photographer. Each of our nine favourites have been selected due to originality and interesting backgrounds.
Most sought out Architectural Photographers
The most fascinating thing about Iwan Baan is that he has no architecture background. All of his photography is sought out through the eyes of an individual and he presents this to his work. He was the first to achieve the Julius Schulman Award for photography and has since been reached out by famous architects to photograph their work. The meaning behind his work is merely to capture the intangible elements that surround the structure; why people are there and what the area is used for. He wants to show that there is more to a building than simply the building itself. Another interesting element to Baan is how often he is on the road, constantly traveling and required by architects world-wide without changing is style;
He is the most sought out architectural photographer and there is no doubt why. His most famous work was when there was a power cut in New York and Baan decided to fly up a helicopter to capture the blackout across the cityscape. This demonstrates his determination into capturing the perfect shot and how spontaneous and fast thinking he is to come up with a new idea.
As a self-taught photographer, Gallardo has fallen in love with photography since 2012 and has become a well-known name in the architectural photography profession since. He has also worked with many famous architects. There is a reason why, within his work, Gallardo makes sure that the structure is taken form as many points as possible, including before the structure was developed into its functional building. This not only creates a story of progression for the viewer but allows the architect to show off their skills as to how they created such a photogenic building.
From studying photography, Roland Halbe has been a free-lance photographer since the 80s and is still currently active as a modern day photographer. He works with numerous of big architectural firms and has featured in many major architectural magazines. His work is unlike any others as his photographs are taken far away from the architectural structure yet finds the perfect angle to present, not only how it fits within the scene but how it stands out form everything else. He links the colours of the sky to set the mood of the picture, as if this is the voice of the architectural structure. Halbe uses creativity in a very intelligent way and creates an image even better than what the human eye could interpret. There is a reason why he is sought by so many famous architects.
Los angles based photographer, Mike Kelly is one of the modern day architectural photographers that is worthy of a mention. He photographs striking modern day architectural structures, wide spaced rooms and large buildings. He manages to create a view point that embodies the full potential of the building, providing detail the human eye could never interpret, providing all the floors within the frame. Very similar to Julius Shulman, he effectively uses people (and dogs) within his images to provide the full extent of the structure and to prove that they’re larger than life. Kelly also has two books of his own, one entirely dedicated to photos taken from a helicopter. Well known for twilight shots – illuminates the building in a natural way to provide more life at this time. Kelley once said that he uses the weather to almost exaggerate the mood of the photo. “If it’s raining, we’ll add to that”. This provides a very natural approach to his photographs.
He is also fairly popular due to the online tutorials he provides. He is not one for hiding his work and how he does it and is willing to teach aspiring photographers his techniques. He is well known for being a major part of Fstoppers.com, a website designed as a community for photographers, where they can access online tutorials, information on photography an enter contests. This has become a large part of Kelley’s success in his photography profession.
Different to Baan, Princen was originally an architect who turned to photography after realising the impact photography can have an a person. He learnt it was a way to reach out in an artistic way to others and had more meaning than architecture itself. That’s why he decided to photograph more and more as he felt a larger contribution to society within the architectural photography side as opposed to the architectural profession. Photography, as Princen believes, can be adapted to ones individual spin that fully creates a sense of the structure that you couldn’t visual by simply looking at it. He is known for photographing urban landscapes and within his photographs he develops an ambiguous sense of the scene, by creating a perception that wouldn’t be visible to you if the structure was present in front of you. He famously said:
“I go out to find photographs in which the artificial and the natural take each other’s forms”.
This is to say he wants to switch world with the man-made and natural surroundings and how they blend into another.
Huffton and Crow
As duo photographers ourselves we can relate to the works of Huffton and Crow and how they create architectural photography around the world, contemporary exterior and interior. They provide a lot of thought when shooting and have moved to digital photography as soon as it first came about. They said that this type of photography allows them more work abroad as it is easier to reach to others. This is certainly true, as some of their work within one of their projects dragged the attention of Zaha Hadid’s firm, which lead towards a great opportunity for Huffton and Crow. The work they do within architecture is to compose a scene of human activity. “The architecture becomes the backdrop to human behaviour”. This shows the style they are trying to create – almost a cinematic scene frozen in one. They are not shy of experimenting with something new, as they have been known for using drone photography and believe they it is something that will kick off in the future. With working as a pair, both see the large benefits that come with a photography partnership. They can share knowledge and ideas and have learnt to push each other, gain he best from another. This is certainly true form our own experience too, from having two perspectives. Here’s a great interview discussing how Hufton and Crow shot the world’s largest airport in Bejing.
Michael J Lee
As a Boston based Architectural Photographer, Michael J Lee has published many books and won various awards. He has been working in this profession for 28 years and has become one of the most well-known photographers, working with the country’s leading professionals. He cleverly knows how to balance light and colour to perfectly orchestrate a masterpiece of photography. Lee provides the perfect colour combinations and allows for everything to fit perfectly within the frame. This does show his strong background in design and how he has the perception of a designer when within his shoots. He came from an interior design background and from moving onto photography he tries to be as involved as possible, as he embodies the eyes of a designer and a photographer.
He has also has provided tips on how to capture the perfect interior shot:
- You can’t move the architecture – but you can move the furniture.
- Don’t just take the photo as it is – fit the cameras frame.
- Scale the furniture right by the placement of the camera. Most shots are taken from the perception of sitting.
For more tips from the great Michael J Lee visit this informative podcast interview by Prime Focus Lab, where he delves into all the good stuff!
Unique Architectural Photographers
The main thing about Moby that I found so interesting is that, as we all know, he is not only originally a musician with a large creative upbringing, with his grandfather a photographer and his mother a painter; he was surrounded by visual arts. He has a great interest in both photography and music. But the thing about photography that is most important to him is the emotional response one person can have towards simply one image. It evokes a feeling and tell a story as we as humans are relating this to something familiar and trying to interpret and make sense of it all.
Within his own architectural photography he tries to covey the loneliness of being on tour as a musician. He captures anonymous places and the complete isolation within these places. He mixes the loved LA American dream with a realistic interpretation which has a great effect on any viewer.
Although it is clear to us that this is merely a hobby more than a serious profession.
Teklan Evelina Severin
Compared to the other architectural photographers mentioned, Severin has a very bright and artistic approach with her use of colour. She uses a variety of colour combinations, contrast such as pink and red to have a striking appearance. Severin believes that the bold colours of her work truly clarifies the surroundings. In my opinion, it’s almost created in a cartoon fashion with the minimalistic styles used. The colours used are primary and is contrasted by other primary colours which almost makes the image seem unrealistic. She has a very effective and very unique spin on architectural photography and can be described as abstract photography. Anyone could recognise her work in links to, “Ikea”, a brand well known for their bright and unique style. She originally started with a different style and technique with
“hard to please clients…the work was very slow and limiting”.
This provoked her to implement her own style and works and become the extravagant photographer she is today.
Overall, through the mention of all these photographers, there is such a variety of styles and techniques that can be adapted. We hope their work has provided some inspiration for aspiring photographers and likeminded individuals.