While much of the world is learning to live with the virus, China is continuing to pursue its zero-COVID policy which has seen varying levels of lockdowns across the vast country. None more severe than the one taking place in Shanghai right now, where nearly all of its 26 million residents remain stuck at home in a lockdown that has made headlines across the globe.
As I sit here about to enter the fourth week of mandatory stay-at-home lockdown in Shanghai, I have had a lot of time to think about where I am in my career as a photographer and inevitably, scroll through social media to compare where my perceived competitors are as well. This, as most of us know, is a recipe for imposter syndrome disaster.
Dubbed one of the most important chairs of the 20th century, the Cesca chair quickly became a design icon, showcased in museum collections and movie sets across the globe.
Born out of the German art school, the Bauhaus, Marcel Breuer conceived of the chair (then called the B-32) in the late 1920s.
It is the escape scene at the end of Shawshank Redemption. Andy Dufresne stands in the rain, his arms outstretched, looking up into the night sky with the camera rising up above him as the music crescendos. Do you see it? It is cinematic moments like these that can become indelibly imprinted in our minds and both consciously and subconsciously influence and inspire our artistic choices and our communication of visual ideas.
My career began some 20 years ago as a staff photographer for an advertising agency. I was a part of countless brand discoveries where we started from scratch and developed a company’s brand strategy. The style of photography was selected to match the brand that had been devised based on market research, customer analytics, demographics, unique selling propositions and what would resonate on an emotional level to inspire a consumer to buy.
Last year I wrote an article entitled, Architecture Versus Photography as a Profession: 5 Takeaways a Year After the Transition that summarized some of my initial observations between working as an architect and then a photographer. Since then, several of my architect friends and former colleagues have told me that they felt the article leaned a bit towards photography as my preferred profession.
This edition of Story of an Image keeps us here in Shanghai and takes a look at a building that people seem to either love or hate: Tian An 1000 Trees designed by London-based Heatherwick Studio. This is the story of an image that was actually taken while on assignment to film the project.
Like many, I started my photography business without a clue of where I wanted to take it, without a support system, and quite frankly, without enough cash in my bank accounts. I was a frustrated artist in a dead-end job, looking to create a brighter future for myself. I also wanted to enjoy what I did, rather than dread every morning commute that led me to a cubicle.
As architectural photographers, we are not wanting for options to get our work recognized. Awards for architectural photography are abundant, with new contests seemingly popping up each year.
Last year was the first year that I decided to submit some of my work to these competitions. I found the process of looking for and reviewing all the information and criteria for the various contests a bit onerous and time-consuming.
Behind-the-scenes content is some of the most enjoyable and informative to consume in my opinion. I love seeing how other photographers go about their business and find this is a great way to quickly pick up new ways of working that I may be able to incorporate into my own work.
Along those lines, everyone’s favorite modern furniture distributor, Design Within Reach, created a short time-lapse film showcasing how they go about creating their product imagery from the ground up.
While he isn’t specifically in the architectural or interiors niche, Joel Grimes is an impressive photographer.
His portraits, landscapes, and composite images are of the highest quality. You could think of him as a performer in the Champions League of Photographers (sorry, I am European, so translated for my American friends: the Superbowl).
One of my goals for the new year is to endeavor to figure out what the heck an NFT is, and how, if at all, it could affect or benefit my work as a photographer. As luck may have it, a serendipitous scroll through my Instagram feed led me to a recent article on the subject by one of our favorite photographers here at APAlmanac, our good friend Peter Molick.
Like all of you, I am constantly trying to push myself to improve as a photographer. Honing our craft is paramount to our continued success and part of the fun of our profession. With that in mind, this year I am looking forward to sharing ideas and techniques that have aided me in my ongoing pursuit of perfection.
Just writing about my first book – Budapest Architecture – here makes my heart beat fast.
Before I jump into sharing the how behind this project, I think it is important to tell you the why. Since you’re reading this post on Mike Kelley’s APALMANAC, I assume you’ve already come across his book New Architecture Los Angeles.
Melbourne’s Southbank by Beulah Tower is poised to become the tallest building in the southern hemisphere once completed. The two-tower megadevelopment will eventually rise to 366 meters (1,200 feet) and transform Australia’s ‘garden city.’
The project was born out of an international competition held back in 2018 which was eventually won by a co-authored design by UN Studio and Cox Architecture.
This latest edition of Story of an Image brings us back to Shanghai as we take a look at an image from a commissioned shoot of Foxconn’s Headquarters building designed by KRIS YAO | ARTECH. The spotlighted image ended up being the final piece of a puzzle to placing the building in its context for the viewer.
There’s a reason Canon’s 17mm TS-E tilt-shift lens has a dedicated spot in so many of our bags. When space is limited, it can be a lifesaver for us architectural photographers. Whether it’s photographing a bathroom in a tight space, or a high-rise building in a dense urban city center, this lens has proven invaluable to me on many occasions.
As we approach the twentieth anniversary of the attacks carried out on September 11th, 2001, I continue to be affected by the ability of architecture to encourage the public’s memory to endure and, in the best examples, help them heal as well. The National September 11 Memorial in New York City is one such example.
One of the many reasons I have enjoyed being an ex-pat in Asia is the abundance of markets you can find throughout the region. Whether it’s the textile markets in India, or the fish markets of Japan, or the floating markets found in Southeast Asia, they make commerce fun, and visiting one is a great way to get a glimpse of the local culture, its people, and the items they cherish.
It’s (finally) Olympics time again, and you know what that means – it’s time to talk Olympics venue architecture – a topic fraught with divergent opinions on whether or not it makes sense to hold the games (and thus house said games) in a different city every couple of years. The economic and environmental impacts of the games aside, the Olympic Games have given rise to some of the most iconic architecture this planet has ever seen.