Tag Archives: No. 1

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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Series and Numbers

White Trees, Series 3, No. 1

White Trees, Series 3, No. 1

Sometimes, I’m asked why I don’t get more creative with the titles to my images.  For example, the title for the image in this post, “White Trees, Series 3, No. 1,” probably wouldn’t be considered as being particularly inspired or creative.

There’s a reason for that.  I’m a firm believer in the idea that the value of a photograph should come strictly from within the four corners of the image itself.  I generally feel that when you supply a photograph with supplementary information – such as a creative title, explanatory text, a bio of the photographer, etc. – that at best such information distracts from the impact of the image itself, and at worst it becomes a crutch to prop up an otherwise weak image.

Having a mundane title is like an informational dead end for the viewer.  There’s nothing there for the viewer to latch on to.  Attention is directed back to the photograph itself, and the image stands or fails on its own merits.

For those who are curious, I’ve divided the White Trees images into three (so far) series based on location.  Series 1 was photographed in Rocky Mountain National Park, Series 2 at the Mount Goliath Natural Area, and Series 3 at the Windy Ridge Bristlecone Pine Scenic Area, all in Colorado.  Within each series, photographs are numbered in the order I work on and finish them, not in the order they were captured.

But of course, to keep things interesting, even I break my own rules.  That’s why the Series 1 images indeed each do have a more descriptive title.  There just was something about the trees at the Rocky Mountain National Park location that made me see them as having human characteristics, and I named them accordingly.  You can see the names in the White Trees gallery on this website if you’re interested.

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