The art of seeing in architectural photography

Architecture is subject to a different type of photography. Thanks to our prolific use of the internet and social media platforms, I have been able to witness so many different architectural wonders that I have been allowed a small glimpse into the vision of different architects all around the world. So many beautiful and interesting design that I very much doubt that I would be able to see them all myself.

Architecture is both functional and aesthetic. It is not only a shelter but it’s visual aesthetic also affects us and it’s environment. The visual aspects a building is the first thing that we see and it is what impresses and moves us the most.

For millennia, architectural styles have gone through changes leaving traces of earlier civilisation. The architecture of ancient civilisations provides insight into the daily lives, belief systems, hierarchies and aspirations of the people, as well as a sense of connection.

Greek architecture is among the most distinctive in the world, with its wide columns, focus on symmetry, and aspects of the Ancient Greek mythology serving as decoration. The masterpieces of Greek architecture are temples built for worship of their pantheon, the stadiums and theatres designed for competitions and plays. The ancient Greeks adapted temple design for their own use but amphitheaters and stadiums were entirely their own own innovation and among their unique contributions to world culture. To this day, many modern day stadiums and similar structures are still modeled upon their design.

The human eye sees much of the same way as a 50mm lens. Although the human eye has an advantage on the dynamic sensor of the camera, it cannot zoom in or out.

During my earlier stage in photography, I had nothing more than the kit lens on my Nikon D40. I believe it was the 18 – 55mm. Financial reasons kept me from buying any additional lenses. Although, I thought this was a major constraint, it truly wasn’t.

Owning just one lens, I soon realised that I needed to physically approach my subjects to better fill the frame. I also learned that changing my point of view could invoke a greater sense of participation with my subjects. During these times, you will find me at odd angles on the street trying to capture my images. I also vividly remember the first time I looked up and saw patterns form right in front of my eyes. These are nothing new but they new ways that I was learning to really see around me. I simply could not resist capturing this point of view. I learned that the quickest way to expand one’s vision is by doing necessary eye exercises.

The first thing I see when I see my subject is an image, a full capture. It is offered to you with the help of light, shadow, line, surface, texture and perspective. However, there’s no reasons to stick to traditional forms, breaking out of the norm is always good for our creativity.

When photographing I try my best to understand the work of the architect and what he or she is trying to convey. Following that mindset, I try to capture what speaks to me. The details or a new site that stands out to me and that might be overlooked.

Unless we are talking about abstracts where function is overlooked to the benefit of form, shape and light and shadows. These are a few things to remember before capturing images.

The purpose of the image should be the first thing to consider as it would dictate the approach. with personal work, your only limitation here is your mind.

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