This edition of Story of an Image is not necessarily a showcase of how you should go about creating a beautiful image, but rather an exercise in being resourceful if you ever find yourself unprepared and without the proper tools. This is the story of a somewhat random outing in Shanghai which led to the creation of one of my favorite images I have ever taken.
With Independence Day in America having just passed, I was feeling nostalgic when considering what I wanted to share with our audience this month. I decided to go back to my academic roots. Being from the South, I recalled how nearby Auburn University’s Rural Studio, and in particular its visionary co-founder, Samuel ‘Sambo’ Mockbee, were so inspirational to me during my architecture studies way back when.
Icons of the modernist movement, Charles and Ray Eames, taught us to see the world differently. “Eventually, everything connects – people, ideas, objects…the quality of the connections is the key to quality” Charles Eames famously stated. Over their remarkable career, the Eames cultivated a design process where ‘learning by doing’ was their mantra and who vowed to never to delegate understanding.
Shanghai is known for its glitz and glamor – a showpiece city exemplifying China’s thriving economy and emergence as a global superpower. Its iconic skyline defines the city internationally and, compared to some of its ancient counterparts, many of which have rich histories dating back thousands of years, Shanghai is a Chinese city that is sometimes thought of as having little history at all.
For those of us who came to photography after already working in another profession, we know how liberating a feeling it is to finally free yourself from your original job to pursue your passion. Why not take that a step further, and truly zero in and direct all your energy into what it is you enjoy most.
In the middle of last month, Chinese tech company DJI made somewhat of a surprise announcement when they unveiled a new drone – the DJI Air 2S. This unexpected upgrade brings with it a larger, 1-inch sensor able to capture 20-megapixel images and record in 5.4k – specs previously reserved only for larger drones.
The second installment of my recently created Story of an Image series takes us to the western Chinese city of Chongqing – a massive, uninhibited metropolis that most people outside China may not have even heard of. While my previous article took you through my thought process for a non-commissioned portfolio capture, this time we’re on the clock working for global design firm, Woods Bagot, tasked with photographing both the exterior as well as the interior public areas of their Guohua International Financial Center project.
I have always viewed architectural visualization and architectural photography as two sides of the same coin. They bookend the architectural representation process, the former being created at the very outset, while the latter wraps up the project’s design and construction journey.
While I continue to wait (now, somewhat impatiently) for DJI to release the latest edition of their Mavic Pro series, I thought I’d share a video Dezeen produced about the impact drones will have (or perhaps already are having) on our lives and the way we relate to each other across space and the cities we live in.
So you’ve made the decision to pursue your passion for photographing architecture. Fantastic news! Your dreams of hopping from one beautiful building to another, capturing it as only you can, and getting paid for it are about to come true. But you’ve got one major problem – you don’t have any clients.
Sanjog Mhatre is an architecture photographer based in India. Now based in the country’s second-most populous city, Mumbai, Sanjog has at the ripe age of only 23 years, already photographed dozens (132 to be exact!) of the tallest and most significant buildings in this supercity of 20 million people.
Recently I came across a portfolio review video from Rishabh Wadhwa’s YouTube channel, BlessedArch. Together with Mariana Cabugueira Custodio dos Santos, a Portuguese architect working for Zaha Hadid Architects in London, they review and critique architectural portfolios.
While the criteria between an architectural portfolio and a photography portfolio are not one and the same, I believe there are a lot of parallels between the two.
A year after transitioning from architecture to architectural photography full-time, I wanted to share some initial thoughts comparing and contrasting the two professions. Hopefully, this will resonate with others who have, or are considering, making a similar sort of career transition.
Let’s face it, 2020 was rough. And while the new year will by no means see a complete return to anything resembling normal – there are certainly reasons to be hopeful. Vaccines are already beginning to be distributed in many countries and, more specific to our line of work, the construction industry seems to be picking back up.
What do you get when you bring together a hotel brand known for producing design excellence to traditionally less-traveled locales, a gorgeous, geographically-unique location, and an architecture firm known for designing some of the most extraordinary cultural buildings in the world’s most populous country?
As I continue to mature as a photographer, I am finding that I learn most from fellow peers who share a more in-depth analysis about a single image – taking us through their thought process in how they constructed the image and why they chose a certain composition or a particular way to light the scene.
Qi Xi is a Shanghai-based landscape architectural photographer. He and I met earlier this year at a mutual friend’s art salon where we both presented some of our respective work. Qi has been capturing some of the most significant landscape architectural designs all across China and I absolutely love his work.
German photographer, Hans Georg (HG) Esch is one of the world’s most acclaimed architectural photographers. HG Esch lives and works in Hennef / Stadt Blankenberg, Germany, but his work spans the globe, with a particular emphasis on some of the most significant projects in China. So when I saw that he had photographed the recently completed supertall CITIC Tower in Beijing, I knew I wanted to interview him to gain some insight into his process as well as share the gorgeous imagery with our audience.
Israeli-Canadian architect, Moshe Safdie, first visited China in 1973. Little did he know then, that nearly five decades later, he would realize one of the largest, most audacious architectural projects not only in China but on the entire planet.
Raffles City Chongqing is the latest city-defining mega-project designed by Safdie, one that has been beautifully captured by Chinese-American filmmaker Jia Li.
German architect Ole Scheeren’s TED talk from a few years ago has inspired me both as an architect and a photographer. Founder and principal of the architecture firm that bears his name, Büro Ole Scheeren, Scheeren’s talk underscores his belief that ‘form follows fiction’ and that buildings must do much more than simply provide form to accommodate functional needs.