As a distinguished form of art and journalism, photography visually accounts for the world and its narratives. Capturing the entirety of any structure, building, or space, along with its aesthetic character, is an artistic skill under this domain practiced by both passionate and trained architectural photographers. The craft specializes in accurately representing the subject concerning various entities such as its scale, spatial and structural program, context, and function. For an essential awareness of those who have refined this art through experience and beyond, the following is a brief of 15 Architectural Photographers Worldwide You Should Know!
Duccio Malagamba, Italy
An Architect turned architectural photographer who developed his interests in the latter during his research on Spanish Contemporary Architecture. He received several commissions for his work from renowned Spanish firms during the initial days, thus making him devoted to architectural photography since 1991. With more than thirty years of professional experience, his participation includes several exhibitions, lectures, and juries apart from other accolades in the field. Malagamba describes his work as architectural reportages displaying a multi-faceted view of the subject. He has collaborated with prestigious architects and practices like Alvaro Siza, EMBT, and Coop Himmelb(l)au, among many others.
Ema Peter, Canada
With a master’s degree in art and applied photography, her pivotal interest in architectural photography was influenced by her uncle, an architect. Ema later went on to set photography standards for some of the famous hotel brands across the globe. Over fifteen years, she has worked with a few of the most prestigious architectural, interior design, and engineering firms in North America. She believes photojournalism is about capturing the soul and personality of a building, motivating her to look for invisible and unusual visual representations. Her photography is often credited with helping many firms reach award-winning status. Collaborations include firms such as BIG, Kengo Kuma and Associates, and Omar Gandhi Architects.
Ezra Stoller, USA
He started photographing buildings, models, and sculptures as an architecture student at NYU, and in 1938 graduated with a BFA in Industrial Design. Stoller focused his career on architectural photography and industrial and scientific commissions post World War II. With over sixty years of a career spanning from the late 1930s into the 1980s, his works translate the three-dimensional experience of architecture through a two-dimensional medium. A few notable iconic structures photographed include Fallingwater, the Guggenheim Museum, the Seagram Building, and the TWA Terminal. He worked closely with many of the period’s leading architects Frank Lloyd Wright, I.M. Pei, Eero Saarinen, Richard Meier, and Mies van der Rohe among others.
Hélène Binet, Switzerland
After studying photography at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Rome, Binet spent most of her formative years there. Daniel Libeskind, an architect, encouraged her to take up architectural photography as he believed she effortlessly exposed architecture’s achievements, strength, pathos, and fragility. “With analog, you feel a life,” says Binet, working exclusively with photographic film. She believes that the soul of photography is its relationship with the instant. Over thirty-five years, she has worked with David Chipperfield, Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Peter Cook, and Peter Zumthor among many others.
Iwan Baan, Netherlands
He studied photography at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. He worked in publishing and documentary photography in New York and Europe during the early years of his career. Baan worked closely with architect Rem Koolhaas in his initial days, which helped him gain recognition for his ability to portray buildings in compelling and unusual ways. Expanding both his horizons and clientele, he photographed a few prestigious projects, including the Federal Building in San Francisco by Thom Mayne, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, U.A.E., and Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI museum in Rome. Aerial shots being his work specialty, he is best known for his up-close and intimate photographs of buildings, often with people in the frame. He feels that Distractions are as important to him as the architecture as they help convey a sense of space and narrative for the respective works. Today, architects such as Herzog & de Meuron, Diller Scofidio & Renfro, Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Morphosis regularly collaborate with Baan.
Jim Stephenson, United Kingdom
He studied Architectural Technology and continued practice with firms in the UK and US. He later turned to photography and filmmaking and is credited for his films about architecture for being featured at international film festivals in London, New York, Milan, Paris, Sydney, and Istanbul. His distinct work is often embraced by a keen eye for human interaction with architecture and the built environment, be it the occupation of space or the traces left behind. Work by architects such as Zaha Hadid, Assemble, dRMM, Frances Kéré, Peter Zumthor, Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, Sou Fujimoto, and many more, including several exciting new and emerging practices, is covered by his photos and films.
Laurian Ghinitoiu, Romania
After receiving his training in architecture from Romania, Ghinitoiu moved to Germany and completed his Master’s in 2014 at Dessau International Architecture (DIA). After working for two years, he shifted his focus to photography as an instrument for documenting architecture and traveled the world for self-initiated projects and commissioned assignments. His approach is to patiently await visual and decisive moments where the designed and informal elements of the built environment coexist in an objective yet empathetic gaze. Famous collaborations include Karamuk Kuo architects, BIG, and Zaha Hadid Architects.
Leonardo Finotti, Brazil
Finotti developed an interest in photography in 1997 while studying architecture at UFU, Brazil. He decided to focus on architectural photography owing to the initial chance to photograph Studio Proap’s landscape works. This documentation intended to represent Portugal at the 8th Venice Architecture Biennale. The same initiated his collaboration with several famous architects like Oscar Niemeyer. In his photographs, the architecture is often subject to an objective evaluation. His visual research revolves around various cities and architecture, where solo and group exhibitions of his works are a part of important public and private collections.
Lucien Hervé, Hungary
Inclined to painting, music, and fashion, he first began to photograph in 1938 for a magazine. His career took a decisive turn after he met with Le Corbusier in 1949. Their collaboration continued until the architect died in 1965, with whom he had a great rapport. Corbusier described the now renowned architectural photographer to have had the soul of an architect. He approached his subjects with a perspective to convey a sense of space, texture, and structure. During his sixty-year career, he has collaborated with architects Alvar Aalto and Oscar Niemeyer and is well known for his beautiful images of Chandigarh, Brasília, or Le Thoronet.
Piet Niemann, Germany
Starting as an assistant to photographers as a nineteen-year-old, Niemann chose to pursue architectural photography considering his passion for discovering and experiencing new places and cultures. He strives to show the projects in context with their users in addition to their interactions with the architecture. Notable clients include Zaha Hadid Architects and Delugan Meissl Associated Architects.
Roland Halbe, Germany
After studying photography at IED in Cagliari, Italy, he has been a freelance architectural photographer since 1988. Halbe co-founded the world’s largest image archive for architectural and interior photography. His interpretations of built reality go beyond only documentation and are regularly published in books and famous architectural journals. Morphosis Architects, Zaha Hadid, Richard Meier, Jean Nouvel, Odile Decq, Santiago Calatrava, Coop Himmelblau, are a few of his clients.
Shoayb Khattab, United Arab Emirates
With a degree in architecture, Shoayb bridged the gap with his early interests in drawing and photography. Transforming his art obsession and passion into a profession earned him various international awards and festivals in photography and filmmaking. Inspired by his appreciation for art, he believes photography gives him opportunities to discover new angles, new perspectives, and new visions. Among many others, Foster+Partners is one of the reputed practices Shoayb has provided his services.
Simon Norfolk, Nigeria
Educated from Oxford and Bristol Universities with a degree in philosophy and sociology and documentary photography from Newport College of Art, in 1994 he switched interests from photojournalism exclusively to landscape photography. His work over the past fifteen years has been themed around a probing and stretching of the meaning of the word ‘battlefield’ in all its forms. He studies war and its effects on the physical shape of the cities and natural environments, social memory, and the psychology of societies with his photographs.
Tim Griffith, Australia
Based in Melbourne, San Francisco, and Singapore and with over thirty-five years of experience as an architectural photographer, his work is often described as an inventive and magnificent portrait of architecture. His works are widely published in a diverse range of international design journals and selected images are included in several private and public art collections around the world. Tim has worked on assignments for many of the world’s leading design firms, among them Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Ennead, WOHA, and Denton Corker Marshall.
Wayne Thom, Hong Kong
Trained in the technical craftsmanship of photography from the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, he started his career in 1968. He has captured the surfaces and depths, the shapes and textures, the contrasts and reflections of the objects of the built environment. His photography plays a significant role in understanding the buildings that best represent the Late Modernist period of architecture. He has worked with many of the 20th and 21st centuries’ significant modern architects, including A. Quincy Jones, William Pereira, Bennie Gonzales, Arthur Erickson, John Portman, Gio Ponti, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, and Bing Thom.
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