On photography in architecture | Santiago Carvajal

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Ezra Stoller

We will speak about the photography in the architecture as a tool to document her and to transmit it, it is not a question of an artistic photography if not rather descriptive, that it shows and reports the virtues of a work.

To document and to describe architecture by means of the photography, we must be to so much that architecture is a construction, and that construction, in a more wide sense of the word, refers to diverse forms and combinations been ordained as elements that establish a relation between them.

Of this menara, it considers then to recognize to the architecture as material construction, spatial construction, and visual construction.

1. To recognize the material construction of a work, it is to recognize the material parts (walls, windows, columns, girders, slabs, covered, etc.) that compose it, and as these they relate and interact between yes, that is to say, that height has an element with regard to other one, to what distance they are between them, of what type of materials they are composed, that sizes have some with regard to others, since they join and shape a structure, etc. (One notice that to draw also this exercise is realized, since the drawing is an act he consents of construction)

2. To recognize the spatial construction, it is to recognize as the material parts of a work they construct spaces you dare of delimiting them, and since the relations are established between spaces, to admit the high place with regard to the width, the depth with regard to the high place. For example, where this square with regard to a porch of a church or building, that sizes have the spaces, since a building relates to the street, to the path and the pedestrians or users, to what this distance a building with regard to other one, etc.

3. To recognize the visual construction, it is to recognize as the material and spatial parts of a building, be thinking points, lines and surfaces inside the setting of the photography, about admitting since these compose a tidy structure. As if it was a question of a drawing, the photographer follows with the look these lines points and surfaces while the draftsman follows them with the outline of the pencil. Here it is where the composition of a photography looks after itself, it is important to see the limits of the photographic frame, to choose the elements that one wants to show or to conceal those that they can spoil or to trouble what wants to show, to take care that the objects or elements are not cut in an inconvinient way.

Definitively it is a question of seeing and register as a few architectural elements they interact between them and with others.

Basic rules

Vertical lines look in the photography, that is to say that if it is that a building has vertical walls, in the photography must turn out to be vertical also, these lines are parallel to the lateral limits of the photography. This achieves with the height of the eye or the lens of the chamber to the same height that the aim. One notice that a qualit drawing also must contemplate this basic rule.

The previous rule of vertical lines can be obviated when a high building and the photographer photographs himself this one near the building (to not more than 6 meters), and the chamber goes up, to register the development of the building and his auction. This in photography is called a low-angle shot. An example of low-angle shot we it can find in the following one link.


Whenever a photography is done it is necessary to ask him, that is what it wants to show or to report, to analyze these situations consciously, instead of stopping at random or to the intuition.

The photography tries to arrange a few elements inside a frame to make them understandable and legible, it tries of perceiving order inside the image.

A good photographer does not try to say too many things simultaneously.

The look estructuradora of the eye is something that the photographer must impose to the image by means of the selective approach or changing the point of view in order that the details without interest disappear, hide themselves or remain subordinated to the general composition.

To take a photography is similar to the fact of drawing, since the photographer and draftsman decides where it is positioned with regard to the aim and therefore since it it sees, they select and decide, that elements appear and without that elements one does.

There turns out to be valuable the contrast of light and shades and these how they interact with the building. It can be that an element throws a shade on the floor or a wall, (for example a tree, a post, a persona, a girder, which throws a shade in the floor or wall), this gives a sense of depth to the photography.

Recommended Links

In Flickr, to look for the architects Arne Jacobsen, Mies van der rohe, Le Corbusier, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Gordon Bunshaft.

Photographers: Julius Shulman, Ezra Stoller, Nelson Kon.

Santiago Carvajal. architect

Cuenca (Ecuador). december 2013

Santiago Carvajal Ochoa

Magister en Proyectos Arquitectónicos. Profesor de la Universidad del Azuay, Cuenca Ecuador. Experto en el uso de herramientas BIM + CAD (ArchiCAD con dos licencias de uso) para desarrollo de diseño y documentación de proyectos, cursos impartidos en Cuenca, Quito y Guayaquil.

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