Do I need a tilt-shift lens to photograph tall buildings? It’s a question I get a lot. The quick answer is pretty straightforward. Do you want to do it professionally? If so, yes, you need one (actually you need two). Do you want to do it as a hobby? Then no, you absolutely do not need one.
I am absolutely infatuated with tall buildings. Mike Kelley has his airplanes, I’ve got my skyscrapers. Or so I thought. For more than two decades, China (where I am based) has experienced unprecedented growth in the number of constructed high-rise buildings, but alas we may be seeing the end of an era for skyscrapers in the Middle Kingdom.
When it comes to public architecture, photographers are typically tasked with capturing a building prior to it becoming fully operational or occupied. This makes sense in many ways. Larger scale architecture can take years of effort to realize, and architecture firms rightfully want to start integrating photos of the building into their marketing efforts as quickly as possible.
As the pandemic brought on by COVID-19 rages on, traveling beyond our city limits (or perhaps even our living rooms) remains an unlikely reality, at least in the short term. Given that many of us are stuck at home, with more free time on our hands than we’re used to, I wanted to share a couple of photographers’ personal projects dedicated to showcasing the role architecture can play in crafting our sense of ‘home.’
Nancy Da Campo is an Italian photographer specialized in architecture, interiors, and the built environment. Educated as an architect, Nancy combines that experience with her passion for travel to chart a unique course within the architectural photography industry. Previously based in London and Paris, and now location independent (more on that below), she has worked internationally with architects, interior designers, cultural institutions, tourism boards, as well as numerous brands.
In his recently published book, Beautified China: The Architectural Revolution, Belgian photographer Kris Provoost carefully curates dozens of the nation’s most spectacular architectural wonders. Focused on showcasing iconic projects dating back to the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the book is a photo essay providing an abstracted, stylized glimpse into some of the China’s boldest, most dynamic buildings that collectively make up what Provoost dubs ‘the architectural revolution.’