Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Future Talks by RTF, a platform where we engage with the trailblazers who breathe life into the world of design, architecture, and art. Today, we are privileged to introduce you to an individual whose vision, creativity, and talents have left an indelible mark on these very domains.

Paul Clemence, our distinguished guest, is an award-winning photographer, artist, and writer, renowned for his exploration of the intricate intersections of design, art, and architecture. His contributions extend beyond the realm of international fine art, as he is also an accomplished author. Notably, his book, “Mies van der Rohe’s FARNSWORTH HOUSE,” stands as the most comprehensive photographic documentation of this iconic modern residential design. A selection of his photographs from this project has even found a place in the Mies van der Rohe Archives housed at MoMa.

Whether through his writing or photography, Paul has graced the pages of prestigious arts, architecture, design, and lifestyle publications such as Designboom, Metropolis, Archdaily, Architizer, Casa Vogue Brasil, The Design Edit, Dezeen, Wallpaper, Architects & Artisans, and Arch20. His extensive body of work includes capturing the essence of architectural marvels designed by luminaries like Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, I.M. Pei, Renzo Piano, Bjarke Ingels, Lina Bo Bardi, Luis Barragán, Oscar Niemeyer, Ruy Ohtake, Le Corbusier, Herzog & de Meuron, Aires & Mateus, Barozzi Veiga, and Peter Zumthor, among others.

Paul Clemence’s photographic style is characterized by the masterful use of light and abstraction, allowing him to craft unforgettable, evocative images of these iconic structures. His distinctive approach has led to an impressive body of work celebrated worldwide.

In addition to his professional endeavors, Paul has curated a vibrant online community through his Facebook photo blog, “Architecture Photography.” What began as a personal online portfolio has evolved into a social media phenomenon, connecting over 1.1 million followers worldwide, fostering a community of architecture and photography enthusiasts.

Originally hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Paul now calls Brooklyn, New York, his home and workplace. We are truly honored to have Paul Clemence as our guest today, and we invite you to explore his remarkable journey in the realms of art, design, and architecture. You can connect with him on Facebook at, or follow his work on Instagram @photobyclemence and his website Join us as we embark on a fascinating exploration of the world of design and architecture through the lens of a true visionary.

Join us as we explore the realms of architectural photography with Paul Clemence.

RTF: Please tell us about yourself, your background, and how you ended up being an architectural photographer.

Paul: I was born in the United Sates, at Hackensack, New Jersey, but was raised in Niterói,a city across the bay from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There, in Rio, I graduated in Architecture from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

I always liked photography, but it was while in university that I began to connect that with my architecture interest, blending my two passions. Initially photography was more of a tool, to document my school models or buildings that I liked. But even then, I began paying attention to what would be exactly the best angle to capture a building, to capture and express the architect’s design intention.

Upon graduating I moved to Miami Beach and my professional path went a different way, but I was still always photographing Architecture as a hobby. Gradually I began to get more and more into abstraction, fascinated by how often a simple abstract detail can inform so much about the design. Eventually,  that hobby matured into an artistic and professional career.

Blue Bar at Camino Real Polanco, architect Ricardo Legoretta, Mexico City, photo by Paul Clemence

RTF: Why do you think it’s important for designers to get featured? What makes a project worthy of getting featured?

Paul: Getting a project featured is essential for architects and designers! That’s how they get their vision and concepts to a broader audience. Getting your work known plays a major part in being taken seriously as a professional. And I don’t mean in terms of marketing, of publicity that can get other projects (although that too) but in terms of respectability, of relevance.

This has always been the case, way before the development of social media. Social media just accelerated this, changed the format. (And made that process more neurotic!)

Regarding the second part of your question, I always say you can’t have a so called “iconic” project without an equally iconic photograph of it! Photography is such an effective way to communicate! Many architects understand that, but I think the majority still see photography as just a “documentation” of the project, almost like an archiving tool, and not an expressive medium. But the bottom line is that is not enough to have a great idea – you must have a great way of presenting it as well. Just like anything else, presentation is everything!

And with the speed and volume of subjects available today, I can guarantee you that regardless of how wonderfully sustainable, ethical, your design is, if you don’t have a wow photo of it, it could easily slip through an editor’s filter.

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Curtain wall at Tomie Ohtake Institute, architect Ruy Ohtake, São Paulo, Brazil -photo by Paul Clemence

RTF: What have you been working on currently?

Paul: Well, it has been a very busy year! At the moment I have a textile photo installation piece at Oscar Niemeyer’s landmark project for the Pampulha Modern Ensemble, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The piece, printed in voile and measuring 2.6 x 8.4 meters, is installed at the Casa do Baile pavilion. The image is a photo of the lagoon next to the building, so the installation plays with the idea of bringing the outside in that was so central to Modernism. The installation is part of an exhibit celebrating the complex’s 80th anniversary this year.

And then I am in the process of editing a photo essay that I shot this Summer focusing on Swiss art museums. This essay will be made into a book and exhibit that will be shown in Miami this December during Art Basel week.

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MEG-Musée d’ethnographie de Genève , architects Graber Pulver Architekten AG, Geneva, Switzerland- photo by Paul Clemence

RTF: Tell us about your recent travels

Paul: I was in Europe for most of the Summer and was all over the place (Paris, Berlin, Como, Switzerland). I got to see some seriously iconic architecture (Ville Savoye, Jewish Museum, Neue Galerie, Novartis Pavilion, Rolex Learning Center). But I also had the opportunity, while in Switzerland, to spend quite a bit of time in Geneva, which allowed me to do one of my favorite things, which is to just walk around and discover what makes a city what it is ( in terms of Architecture), what is the DNA of its built landscape. And Geneva definitely provided a lot of inspiration for that, including projects by Jean Nouvel, Ugo Brunoni, Shigeru Ban, Frances Keré and the brand-new structure by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the new Science Gateway building at CERN ( European Center for Nuclear Research).

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Berlin State Library, architect Hans Scharoun and Edgar Wisniewski, photo by Paul Clemence

RTF: Which is your favorite work so far and why?

Paul: That is such a hard question. But I think I would say is an essay I was commissioned to do in Cuiabá, Brazil. The project was to document the historic landmarks of this city, the western most capital in Brazil. It’s an area quite removed from Brazil’s cultural centers, a place with very little established visual references so it was very liberating, quite a special experience to develop a portfolio sort of out of nothing! (and the light there was phenomenal!)

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Modern Mirage photo textile installation by Paul Clemence at Casa do Baile, Pampulha Modern Complex- photo by Mateus Lustosa
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Modern Mirage photo textile installation by Paul Clemence at Casa do Baile, Pampulha Modern Complex- photo by Mateus Lustosa

RTF: In recent times, we have witnessed an increasing shift to documenting projects in a video storytelling format, What are your thoughts about it?

Paul: I think every way of documenting a project is valid: aerial photography, drone, video, stills. Videos, and I have made some, with my partner Axel Stasny, of course are ideal to capture that feeling of moving through space so essential to Architecture. But still images also very much express space, and if maybe not as comprehensive documentary as film, in a way it’s even more engaging cause it leaves us with that mystery of “what else?”, what would it feel like to move and experience that space, – that irresistible perennial human craving for more. The film tells you everything, eliminates mystery, and that’s both good and bad.

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Modern Mirage series-Sway- Casa do Baile © Paul Clemence
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Modern Mirage series- Liquefy – Pampulha Art Museum, photo by Paul Clemence

RTF: The media landscape has transformed significantly over the years, how has that impacted your work?

Paul: I think we live in a curious time, where I think we have more outlets than ever before but at the same time independent (often personal) digital social media platforms and blogs are a serious competitor for eyeballs, for attention. This in turn has affected magazines’ budgets and thus the economic model of these businesses, and consequently the livelihood of the media professional, – all parts suffer and are constantly having to rethink strategies. At the same time this new media landscape is for sure more democratic than before. More people now have a chance to be part of it, it’s much more accessible.  The tricky part is that the algorithms seem to now be the discerning factor, the clicks, rather than qualified, experienced editors. So, the question is how we balance this accessibility and still keep the quality of content.  For me personally, this new landscape has indeed given my work a much broader exposure ( specially through  my blog ARCHI-PHOTO) and that in turn has brought me many new opportunities, so it’s a  mixed bag.

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The Science Gateway building, by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Geneva, Switzerland, photo by Paul Clemence
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The Science Gateway building, by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Geneva, Switzerland, photo by Paul Clemence

RTF: What is the most crucial skill set to become an architectural photographer?

Paul: First, obviously, a good eye, meaning a good visual sense. A trained, experienced visual sense. A good sense of space! Then for sure lots of patience, cause, as in most creative disciplines, the actual “creative” part, the fun part, is but a small part of the craft.

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Brick detail architect Mario Botta, Lugano, Switzerland photo by Paul Clemence

RTF: What is your advice to budding architectural photographers?

Paul: Develop your point of view, what you want to say with your photos.

It’s not an easy career, there will be a lot of work, frustrations, trial and errors, challenges, rejections, so if you are not doing something that deeply expresses you, you will be bound to be discouraged. But if you get that one (or hopefully many, many more) image out that truly expresses your ideas and then people connect with it then all will be worthwhile.

RTF: What is the most rewarding aspect of being an architectural photographer?

Paul: Well for me is the very simple fact of getting to enjoy and experience all these amazing spaces! I am a “space junkie”, always looking, observing space, whether it’s the coffee shop next door, my friend’s home, an unexpected urban pocket square or some high profile piece of architecture.

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Interior Casa Amalia, by architect  Agustín Hernández, Mexico City, photo by Paul Clemence

RTF: Do you face any challenges when dealing with architects regarding documenting their work?

Paul: I don’t often work directly with architects, the type of projects I usually shoot I do it independently, on my own, for either publishing or my fine art portfolio. But when I do work with architects, I think the challenge is keeping a balance between what they want you to capture and the photographer’s freedom to discover the building, to explore angles. But I think that’s a good challenge, an inspiring challenge and one that both photographer and architect can learn from.

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O6A LOT Housing by SAM architecture + Querkraft, Paris, France – photo by Paul Clemence

RTF: What are the upcoming trends in architectural photography?

Paul: I am not much into trends; I think we have to create our own trends. But I definitely hope that the cloudy day, overcast sky trend ends soon, – it makes everything sad and bland, takes away the excitement and joy of architecture.

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UNIC residential tower by studio MAD, Paris, France – photo by Paul Clemence

RTF: How do you foresee the scope of this profession for aspiring architectural photographers?

Paul: It is a changing landscape, with all these ever evolving softwares, now Photoshop AI, etc, so it is easier and easier for anyone to produce a good picture. So increasingly it will be more and more important to have a personal edge that distinguishes your work, something that makes it personal, that only you could have done, not just an AI app.

The technological advances in the field will also affect the market, the economic model, and this will require a personal approach also to how one establish themselves professionally. This will be challenging, but also offer a lot of opportunities!

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VERDE-window grill, Cuiaba, Brazil  – photo by Paul Clemence

Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. It has been a pleasure getting to know about you and your work.


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.