Seeing It is Feeling It

Denver Convention Center No. 1 Denver, Colorado 2013

Denver Convention Center No. 1
Denver, Colorado 2013

Do you like architectural photography?  I really do, so it came as a surprise to me the first time I realized that not everyone does.  I’ve wondered for a while why some people seem to really appreciate architectural subjects, and others, well, not so much.

One possibility may relate to what you see when you look at an architectural image.  Is it just a building to you?  A collection of steel, glass and concrete?  Basically just a photograph of an everyday, commonly observed subject?

If so, then I can see where architectural photography wouldn’t be anything special.

To me, however, good architectural photography is so much more than that.  It’s about power, dynamism, and movement.  The lines, shapes, and patterns of the architecture, when done well by the photographer, are visual building blocks that translate into weights, balances, and motions that impart an almost physical feeling that exists apart from the architecture itself.  Seeing images like this feels like shrinking yourself down to the size of the photograph and riding through it like a roller coaster.

It’s sort of like appreciating music.  If you listen to a song, and all you hear is a collection of arranged and organized sounds, then music may not really be your thing.  But if you listen to a song and hear not only the sounds, but get a deeper feeling from or about what you’re hearing, then you’re experiencing the music on a level that’s more than simply receiving and processing auditory information, like you would for a traffic report or a fire alarm.  The best music has the quality of grabbing you and bringing you along for a ride through the rhythms, harmonies, and melodies of the piece.

A good architectural photograph is like that for me.  It’s not just a matter of seeing it, but feeling it as well.

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