How we see it. More views of our worlds. The Book.
My photos and an article on Long Exposure Architectural Photography published in the “How We See It – MoreViews Of Our Worlds” book. The article speaks about how I see long exposure architectural photography, why it is different from other genres, why it addresses to a rather reduced in number public and how to better understand a and love it.
More contributors in this new edition compared to the first one “How We See It – Our Views Of Our Worlds”, 75 female photographers and writers this time, all trying to enchant you with their artistic creations.
The book is available in large format as well as in small format and PDF. All proceeds go once more to the NOW Love Your Body Foundation.
Here is the full text of my published article:
“Long Exposure Architectural Photography – a perfectionist’s art form – how to identify with it”
The world’s first photograph, “View from the Window at Le Gras” by Nicéphore Niépce, was an architectural photograph. It was taken from the Niépce’s window by exposing for several hours a bitumen-coated plate and it was showing his house and the surroundings. This was happening almost 200 years ago, in 1826 and that makes architectural photography the genre with the longest history among all styles of photography. Just a trivia or not, the fact is that architecture was always one of the most fascinating and challenging subjects in photography. Revealing the beauty and expressing the complexity of a building in an image is a challenge for the photographer and a fascinating thing to discover for the viewer.
Architectural photography can be seen as a perfectionist’s art form because it requires a precision that is not necessary for other styles of photography and also a subtle aesthetic understanding of natural light and of how it interacts with volumes and surfaces. Also, it requires a solid understanding of the theory of photography and a good eye for geometry in order to be done in a right and interesting way.
Giving a two-dimensional life to a three-dimensional object that is not very recognizable to the human eye (no building ever will be as familiar to our eyes as a tree or a flower) and managing to present it in such a way as to make the eye overcome the estrangement and want to come closer, requires a deep understanding of space, an ease in recognizing the sculptural qualities of a building, and the knowledge of how to present them with the most simplicity so the viewer’s eye won’t feel overloaded and uneasy. Making the viewer identify himself with an unfamiliar object, as for instance, a modern building is, requires far more object study, precision and subtlety in composition, care for proportions and light rendering and also the courage to attempt it.
This holds even truer in the case of long exposure and abstract architectural photography, which are perhaps the styles that bring out the most in a modern building, but where the result is something completely different from what the viewer is used to see around him in his day-to-day life, thus far harder to identify with.
I like to compare the effect that a long exposure abstract architectural photograph has on the viewer with the effect a deconstructivist building has when seen for the first time. The first reaction of the viewer will be surprise then curiosity and in the end the word he will use to describe it will most probably”be ”interesting”. One will rarely hear the word “beautiful” when talking about abstract art, architecture, photography especially from the less trained viewer, and that because he cannot identify with the subject.
This is though not happening with classical architecture and even in the case of classical modern architecture this is a phenomenon far less likely to occur than in the case of more recent architectural objects. And that because modern and contemporary architecture has not been here long enough to be able to pass into the collective conscience, into the basic vocabulary and the typical and general imagery of society. In other words, it is too new and like all new things, it finds resistance in being accepted and loved.
This is exactly the role of the photographer dealing with subjects from the area of modern architecture: to educate the viewer and help him identify with a new subject and with an abstract way of presenting it. Not easy, but someone has to do it. There was always someone doing the first steps in every phase in the history of art. And it was never easy to make a new art form be accepted, with examples of resistance that sometimes go beyond any stretch of the imagination and we can even talk about cases of destroying objects of art that were considered too radical. Not exactly the case, but interesting to know where not being accustomed to a new form of art can lead.
Long exposure abstract architectural photography is an art form, and is indeed a fairly new art form, just like long exposure fine art photography in general. That means its place in the world of art and in the mind of the common viewer is still fragile and its statute not yet established, and if one takes a look around, it will be evident that the large public (the public outside the photographic circles) is still not aware of what exactly long exposure fine art photography is, and even less aware about the architectural side of it.
Most of the times this kind of photography is very personal and many times the final image has little to do with the real object seen in its original environment, from which it just keeps the main idea and tries to convey it by using volumes, light and time. Long exposure architectural photography is not a traditional form of photography, it bears much more inside it from the artist’s mind and soul and less from the reality he is capturing,
But of course, there are also the trained viewers of long exposure abstract architectural photography. These trained viewers will understand that abstract is the first expression of life and nature and that techniques like long exposure try not to estrange us from the object and its surroundings, but on the contrary to connect us with it through the invisible dimension that is time and which LE photography transforms into a visible component. And also to connect us with the unseen part of our minds, the part that is controlling us without us being able to control it.
For those who pass the line of estrangement and step out of their comfort zone without fear it will come much easier to understand more in-depth the magic of showing such a stable and immovable subject as a building on a background that represents just the opposite: the movement of the world and the passing of time,. For those viewers, the real beauty of this extreme art form will be evident and overwhelming.”