Photographing Contemporary Mexican Architecture with Ariadna Polo

Photographing Contemporary Mexican Architecture with Ariadna Polo

Project of the Week

Buckle up! Today’s Project of the Week takes us to Querétaro with architectural photographer Ariadna Polo. We’ll be taking a look at some dreamy photographs of a contemporary piece of Mexican architecture — MM House by architect Matthew Schmidt.

Ariadna kicks things off by sharing with us “It was a great session, MM House is located in a small 9 house complex that was designed by the same architect, Mathew Schmidt. That day, I photographed the MM house and some public areas of the complex. We were shooting from sunrise, some hours during the morning and then we came back in the afternoon and we shot ’till sunset.

It was a nice session because the clients left the house tidy, already set up, and prepared for the shoot. 

This house has 2 yards, one in the back that has a huge terrace for social gatherings and the other is a private yard. The whole house is full of green views, so I think the main goal was to show the relations between the exteriors and interiors and also to transmit the relaxed vibe of the project.”

Here we get a good look at that purposefully planed timing of the shoot. Very dynamic morning light sweeps hard angular shadows across the facade, which works nicely with this rectilinear design.

Ariadna makes use of one-point perspectives throughout this series, enhancing the geometric feel and leading lines that give this contemporary home its shape.

I love the patterns of light she uses. It gives us a sense of place, and allows us to imagine ourselves walking through this courtyard in the mid-morning. The coolness of the shadows play nicely with the heat and specular highlights we find on part of the facade.

Inside we are met with the same warm, hard sunlight that creates a pleasant and lively mood throughout the space.

Repetition in the timbers creates a rhythm that carries our eyes through the scene. While it’s a relatively small room, Ariadna’s perspective creates a sense of length and space. Her camera height feels good, and we are visually able to walk through the scene, not getting hung up on the bed or desk. Our attention is placed on the design of the interior elements (the beams, and that gorgeous window seat) instead of the furniture.

“Every time I arrive at a project I like to take a small tour with the architect, observe the project and the architect tells me his or her design intentions. I´m also an architect, so finding and understanding those intentions is easy for me. When I start shooting, I’m immersed in a workflow, of course, there are obvious angles, but also finding the right time to shoot those angles is a task. Some shoots are planned before and others come spontaneously. I like to think that my photographs can tell a story of how the project is felt or inhabited,” Ariadna explains.

You can see her favorite image below. “I think my favorite image ended up being a vertical shot of the private yard, with all the vegetation framing the shot and the dog coming naturally into the frame. I love that this shot expresses the whole vibe of that relaxed and quiet yard and how it is usually lived.”

There is definitely an unfussy and peaceful air about this project. With the warm glow of the interior lights, the massive open doors, it’s easy for us to understand the inviting nature of this house.

Ariadna tells us a little bit about her post-processing workflow by sharing “I do my post-production in Lightroom first, to change the color temperature, which is the most challenging thing for me, and then I use photoshop to mix the different exposures I take and retouch them a bit. I try to keep it simple to show the true colors and light of the space, although keeping it simple takes a lot of work sometimes.”

That natural look is evident, and absolutely a contributing factor in the pleasant mood of this series. I appreciate how Ariadna isn’t afraid to let parts of the image fall dark, or a bit bright for that matter. Her combinations of bright highlights and deep shadows are what keeps her images feeling real.

Set out with the goal of showing how this house interacts with its environment, and how it feels to be kicked back relaxing in nature at MM House, Ariadna frames the house with dense reaching foliage. I love the mix of triadic colors. The greens contrast with the blues and in turn the blues with the warm yellowy-oranges of the practical lights. It creates a very harmonious image that is the perfect end to this Project of the Week.

Thank you to Ariadna Polo for sharing her series on MM House with us here at APA. See more of Ariadna’s insanely gorgeous work via her website ariadnapolo.com or by hopping over to her Instagram @ariadnapolo.foto

If you have a project you’d like to be considered for Project of the Week, you can submit it here.

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