Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Art of Architectural Photography 8-10-2015

Amazingly, and I do not use that word lightly, New York City is still a treasure trove of architectural details.  The juxtaposition of old and new architecture in the CITY is often jarring, especially when no attempt is made to reconcile building style or even purpose within an area.  Take for example a row of brownstones c. 1900 and, end the visual line with a glass and metal cube bank or drug store.  The brownstones are graceful with ornamentation of stylized designs around the windows and doorways.  There are stately columns with carved capitols at the entryway and intricate wrought iron or sculpted stone railings.  Then the eye is diverted to a recently erected antiseptic glass structure lacking any sort of character other than a business logo.

NYC once encapsulated elegance in architecture and architectural detail.  Materials were freely used and lavished with ornamentation.  Several reasons caused the rise of relatively inexpensive ornament-free structures in recent years.  Practically speaking, the City has grown enormously and the need for workable space with it.  The artfully constructed buildings of the past are now deemed (perhaps rightfully) inefficient in offering maximum space and acceptable technology logistics. Cost is a prevailing factor in almost all construction decisions today.  In yesteryear there was apparently money to spend and much thought given to the look of the City.  It seems that today people with the purse strings are looking only at the bottom line.  Finally, the master masons, sculptors, craftsmen and artisans are not the legions they once were.  The waves of immigrants seeking a new life in New York in the 1800's and early 1900's no longer bring their expertise in artistic building with them to the City.  And those whose grandparents or great-grandparents were artisans have rarely followed in their ancestors' footsteps.

When I chance upon architecture beautified with architectural detail, I stop to reflect, with respect, on the marvelous past that New York City enjoyed in its architecture and design.  And, once in a while I will be buoyed by a new building that hosts my eye to the pleasures of exquisite architecture, art and craft.   

 Black and white architectural photography

To learn more visit:
                                 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Art of Architectural Photography 7-25-2015

There are two types of people: those who reread books, rewatch movies and TV shows and, in general love to peel back layers and layers of surface meaning to find new meanings.  And there are those who see it once and move on.  Nothing wrong with that, but I'm one of the former.  I could watch a movie like Moonstruck or Babette's Feast or Key Largo and so many others over and over again.  The characters in the plays of Ibsen, the poetry of Frost (narrator) and the Agatha Chrystie mysteries (even though I KNOW how it ends!) become dear friends and companions.  That is how I am about art and architecture.  To see a treasured painting or a building about which I am passionate repeatedly lends new meaning to the work.  Every time a see an artwork I love, I view it anew.

The statue of Atlas at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan always surprises and mesmerizes me.  It is perfect in its lines, power, balance and form.  To look at negative space as well as the mighty bronze sculpture, is to see a wondrous encapsulation of the City's complexity and style.  Look through the  delicate and massive globe towards the fragile, elegant and hopeful spires of St. Patrick's Cathedral to realize a stunning composition.

This image is not new for me or many others.  However, each time I see it its aesthetic is breathtaking.


Black and white Architectural Photography
To learn more please visit:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_%28statue%29
http://www.roamingdownunder.com/revisiting.php
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Patrick%27s_Cathedral_%28Manhattan%29

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Art of Architectural Photography 7-19-2015

Interiors are often a reflection of the facade of a building.  In particular, interiors may mirror the style and period of the structure; however, there are instances when an interior can emphasize the exterior of a building by using design elements that are complementary but completely different.  For example, enter a Victorian house and see a Bauhaus interior.  The styles may be very disparate but completely compatible.  It is all in the execution of the designer, craftsman and architect, who work together to produce a cohesive whole.

For the most part, interiors have a far greater influence on inhabitants and visitors than do exteriors.  The exterior is noted, may be studied, but then people usually enter the building for a longer time than they spend outside.  Here, such structures as pyramids, gazebos and the like are excepted.  Homes, offices, warehouses, restaurants and other such places command far more of our attention once we are inside.  To this point, the interior impacts us greatly and in many ways.  There is a psychology related to the environments in which we live, work and spend leisure time.  

In many places there are buildings that, although harmonious with their surroundings, are unique.  One such structure is Alwyn Court in New York City.  The early 20th century French Renaissance building is intricately ornamented and very dissimilar to the surrounding buildings on the street.  It is a standout in any context.  Alwyn Court houses Petrossian, a fine dining restaurant.  Enter Petrossian and experience a stunning decor that reflects Art Deco elements and a sleekness that is totally unexpected from the elaborate building facade.  This exterior/interior encounter is a visual treat that emphasizes architecture, design and craftsmanship at the most sophisticated and finest levels. 

Sepia Interior Design Photography

To learn more visit:

                                                       


Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Art of Architectural Photography 7-2-2015

Monochromatic images are a way to focus singularly on subject.  Color, while extremely beautiful in its scope and infinite possibilities, may cause the viewer to be distracted from the real intent of the photograph.  Of course, this is a very personal choice: color or monochrome.

Another way to focus on a subject is to abstract it.  Although this may seem contradictory, abstraction often brings out the very essence of a focal point.  In order to abstract, the photographer/artist must understand completely the essence of the thing that is  central to the work.  This knowledge of the subject expands to include form, line, composition to create the abstraction.

This Opera House dome is breathtaking when viewed in person.  Photographs of the ceiling are often visually busy and complicated with distractions.  I chose to abstract the subject while retaining elements of the stunning architectural embellishments.  Sepia monochrome seemed a soft background to make the individual elements pop.

Sepia Architectural Photography


To learn more visit:
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/black-and-white-photography/
http://masteringphoto.com/black-and-white-vs-color-photography/
http://thevirtualinstructor.com/types-of-art.html 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Art of Architectural Photography June-21-2015

Few experiences can be as aesthetically captivating as entering a place of worship, to say nothing of the religious engagement.  The hushed and holey atmosphere, which is suffused with a light that orchestrates an emotional association to worship and faith, provides many sensory experiences.  The shafts and swirls of light, often rich textures, ornamentation (or lack of it), frequently musty aromas, enveloping sense of sacredness and muffled sounds in these places: churches, synagogues, mosques, shrines are carefully architected to create uniquely particular feelings for the visitor.

Throughout time, the clergy, architects, builders, engineers and designers sought to use light to enhance, emphasize and define space.  Religious structures particularly were infused with a mysterious smokey light or luminously falling shafts of light that illuminated and emphasized the sacred areas and articles of worship.  Whether light played over prayer books, the statuary, images or the alter itself, light has always been channeled as a vehicle for messages from above.  The Incas constructed Machu Pitchu to receive a single shaft of light just once a year, as well as to burnish the entrances to what historians believe to be Inca holey places.  Gothic Churches were designed so that the devine light poured into the nave of the church to illuminate the way to the alter.  However the light was transmitted, it added enormously to the religious experience.  

Light has many uses and allures.  Employing light to augment religious experiences creates wonder, great beauty and an impact possibly like no other.

Sepia Architectural Photography

 
To learn more about light and religious structures visit:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_architecture
http://sunearthday.nasa.gov/2005/images/ao_poster.pdf
http://reviewofreligions.org/2306/ancient-sun-worship/

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Art of Architectural Photography 6-13-2015

Serendipity is marvelous!  Just when you think you are never going to find something new, there IT IS.....staring at you through your lens!

On a recent trip to latest NYC "hot spot," Long Island City, I was thrilled to see the skyline in a fresh way.  We parked on an upper floor of a municipal lot for a night on the town, Queens style.  Through the gaps in the concrete structure of the parking lot, I saw Oz: my personal interpretation of Manhattan.  I was transfixed by the sight of the stunning view of Manhattan bathed in lights.  Night lights are always alluring and this jewel-like presentation is no exception.

When ever I leave my house, a point and shoot camera is in my bag or pocket.  That way, when serendipity calls, I'm ready!

Black and White Architectural Photography

To learn more visit:
http://www.favrify.com/new-york-skyline/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Architecture_of_New_York_City

https://derekstadler.wordpress.com/portfolio-2/collections-photography/maspeth-from-small-dutch-community-to-part-of-the-great-metropolis-final/the-history-of-long-island-city-details-of-its-short-lived-days-as-both-an-incorporated-municipality-and-the-major-western-terminus-of-the-long-island-rail-road/



Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Art of Architectural Photography 6-7-2015

I am fascinated with and inspired by light in any form.  And, as usual, my insights into light and its many configurations have a way of presenting when I am not looking for comprehension.  I came across a wonderfully profound aspect of light in an odd but familiar context quite by chance. When I was in college, I took a geology course.  One of the classes took place in a cave (!!) where we looked at natural rock formations.  The cave was very dim and our professor eschewed flashlights in favor of studying the rocky surfaces and outcroppings au natural.  It was OK but on that field trip an incident occurred that changed my perception about seeing and understanding all that is visual.  There was a hole in the top of the cave and for some reason I looked up just as a drop of water, gilded with light fell through the gloom.  It enchants me still, thinking of that single beam of golden light descending through the dim cave.  All at once I could fathom the glorification of light by the ancients.  Comprehend the beauty of natural light in its many guises.  The experience reinforced my desire to use light as the most pervasive element in my work.

While natural light is sublime, electric and other artificial light sources have their charm and value.  Often old electric fixtures can create unusual or even unique lighting scenarios.  This hallway graced by magnificent and imposing old chandeliers offers light that casts wonderful pools and shadows.  The "noise" prompted by the darkness and the artificial rays is fog like and gives an aura of mystery.  That, coupled with the antique furnishings gives a time-travel-to-another-age feeling to me.  Light can transport as well as illuminate.

Sepia Architectural Photography

To learn more about the properties of light visit:
http://computer.howstuffworks.com/3dgraphics4.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perspective_%28graphical%29 
http://www.nightlase.com.au/education/optics/light.htm