Essay on Photography and Architecture

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Since the invention of the art of photography, people have been trying to find better and more elaborate ways of capturing images and altering their form to gain a better understanding of the world around them (Zimmerman, 300). Through the technological advancement and the creation of experimental photography, people are now able to express their ideas and opinions in diverse ways as opposed to the previous static and direct means of photography (The British Journal of photography 145). Through the increasing creativity and detail that has accompanied photography, the field of architecture has gone a notch higher as designers are now able to envision and imagine buildings and artistic structures that become a reality with the aid of experimental photography (Elwall, 170). Although architecture presents various media, styles, and techniques that are meant to be eye-catching, people rarely appreciate art forms (Elias, 136). However, architects can take advantage of the improvement in technology alongside techniques like photo editing to attain a desired tempo and style as well as create a theme that they want to be highlighted in their work.

1.1 Introduction

Photography has played a vital role in the globalization of architectural designs and techniques and hence has bridged the gap between various architects and their designs across the world over the years. Technological advancement has brought about the element of graphic communication which has made it easier for laymen to create, edit and even share different architectural designs in the form of photography. However, the disposal of the various photographic techniques and effects also pose a threat to the otherwise thriving field of architecture (Ewing 19). There is the lack of standardized practices and descriptive approaches towards photography in architecture and hence this has led to the abuse and even misuse of architectural designs, images, and style among many people. Photography has come a long way to embrace architecture and bring about a different element of creativity and experience that further serves the function of bridging the gap between different architectural and technological approaches (Newell, 219). This research strives to analyze how photography creates a correlation between India’s and Britain’s cultural perspectives and architectural designs.

1.2 Research question

How are the current approaches to architecture and cultural affiliations shaped by photography?

1.3 Scope of the study

This study strives to highlight the correlation between photography and architecture and the contributions that they have made to their respective fields. Through the use of qualitative research and secondary sources, it shall analyze the evolution of photography and architecture to the present form. It shall further highlight how photography has improved on the architectural designs and led to the improvement of architectural techniques and style through bridging the cultural, social and economic gaps in the field of architecture across the globe. The main areas of the study are Britain and India due to the abundance of many different architectural designs within its locality.

1.4 Limitations

One of the major limitations of the study is the fact that the field of photography is detailed and has a broad history and hence within the given timeframe, it will be difficult to fully go through the research and draw a valid conclusion. One of the major challenges that photography presents is the fact that, there is no standardized way of interpreting architectural photographs as they differ from one place to another and hence this will pose a challenge when it comes to making conclusions and generalizations.

2.0 Literature review

Architects and photographers have a similarity in the sense that they both work with space. On the contrary, while architects strive to transform their creations from a two-dimensional perspective into a three-dimension form, the photographers change theirs from a three-dimension outlook into a double dimension appearance (Nilsen, 99). Architects, therefore, strive to create conceptions and later transform them into live objects while photographers transform live objects into conceptions (Stourton, 276). When a photographer finishes altering the work of an architect, he gets a finished product that encompasses the reality and conception into one space (Till, 19). Architects have often taken a key interest to establish how their images are presented on photographs. Several architects for instance often edit and airbrush the images of their architectural structures so as to obtain a desired two-dimensional photograph that communicates their ideal intentions and imagination of their photographs.

India’s culture is also iconic and exclusive in the sense that other than imitating the antique techniques and strategies it mergers to the setting. Just like in numerous additional capitals of the world, India’s culture is directly interconnected to their architectural designs which live to tell a story of their beliefs and existence (Nilsen 99). Most of the Indians hold the credence that decent architectural designs and public spaces prompt a sense of unique and vigorous living. Charles Corra for instance was one of India’s most distinguished designers that presented a new architectural strategy that has since become interconnected to their culture. The design accentuated on the use of space and the conception of enough ventilations and inlets that could let the breeze in the structure. According to most of India’s photographers and architects, both the present and current architectural designs should imitate fundamentals of art work and the natural silhouettes that the earth presents.

Britain on the other hand, has had a unique pattern of architectural design that has greatly shaped their cultural outcomes and affiliations. London’s government took the initiative of developing the public spaces in the 20th and early 21st

century and this became a cultural trait as well as a form of affiliation. The Leadenhall and the Trafalgar square in London are some of the buildings that echo and mimic Britain’s cultural affiliation. The cultural and social stratification of the ancient Britain helped shape their architectural designs through the presence of castles and cathedrals all which were symbolic and iconic. Photography helps the viewers from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to relate to the different cultural and architectural designs.

The onset of modernism, on the other hand, has equally increased the use of photography in education and hence more people feel affiliated to architectural designs through the pictures as opposed to real contact. The improvement of the visual technology has made photography h bridge between the architect's conception and the real images (Higgott, 22). Cameras are more accessible and affordable today and hence more people are able to access and edit the architectural impressions and images although this poses a challenge to the field of architecture (Spencer, 144). It, therefore, calls for the intervention of both photographers and architects to streamline and standardize the concepts of photography and architecture so as to attain a sense of equilibrium and protect the two art forms from being exploited by other people. According to Waldheim & Katerina (195), it is apparent to note the fact that at the moment, photography has become attached from architecture as it has become the standard way of expression among architects since its invention. The Liverpool Photographic Journal (125) has linked the connection between the photographs taken and the architect's perceptions as well as real-life experiences concerning the aspect of photography. Photography in architecture, therefore, depicts idealized spaces that are not vacant but occupied with real people in the real world.

3.0 Methodology

A literature review of the secondary source is one of the main points of reference in this section as it gives an in-depth understanding of the history of photography to the present. This technique gives a comprehensive approach to understanding the basics of photography and how it relates to architectural designs (Spielvoge, 2). This research is done in two parts, the first strives to analyze the purpose of photography while the second part analyzes the nature of photography and its relation to architectural designs and techniques. Direct observation is also another technique that is applied in this section as it helps obtain information easily. The main areas of focus are India and Britain which are located on different parts of the world but have a connection in culture through highlighting their architectural designs.

Photography is an international language and hence communicates the intentions of the photographer to the audience. In architecture, the photographer has as much responsibility as the designer and hence has to be rational and diligent. Photography, therefore, offers information through journals and magazines. The camera is more superior in comparison to the eye and hence helps make an improvement in telephotography through using different speeds, styles, and angles. The stylistic advancement in photography has led to the improvement in architectural designs, techniques, and perceptions in the long run. As a form of visual art, photography has come a long way to define its borders and abilities. Photography, in architecture, gives a sense of authenticity and originality as it brings out different architectural designs with their details without any alterations like in drawing or through imagination. Through the use of good photographic skills, architectural designs and techniques not only come to life but are also precise and recorded within a short time.

4.0 Conclusion

Photography in architecture has resulted in the compressing of all the world's architectural designs and features into compact spaces that can be visualized and experiences without physically traveling to the exact locations. Grabar (121) affirms that, through e-magazines, blogs and websites people get to experience the raw format, the sketches, conceptualized and even three-dimensional outlooks of various architectural designs (Beato & Lacoste, 132). Hence photography has made architecture more acceptable and understandable to ordinary people who equally learn to translate and comprehend various designs and techniques despite having limited information in architecture. Photographs, therefore manage to interpret various architectural designs at a particular time and space (Falser & Juneja, 47). Architectural designs and techniques live on years after they have been destroyed through the element of photography which gives a vivid description and sense of existence to the otherwise demolished structures.

5.0 Recommendations

Architecture is an experimental technique and hence photographers have to work closely with the architects in clearly identifying the mood and angles that are to be captured in order to add meaning and detail to the otherwise vacant spaces that are not easily comprehended. Photographers in addition to adding special visual effects could add the essence of a visual existence to their work to make them more comprehensive and rational according to the specifications of architecture. Photographers could also help link India’s culture to Britain’s through capturing the use of ancient and modern architectural designs and how they affect people’s lives.

Since photography has a lot of liberty and freedom, photographers ought to ensure that they stay within the acceptable limits of modifications to their work. With the advent of Photoshop and visual effects, more photographers might concentrate on making their captions more appealing as opposed to capturing the main ideas and elements that make the architectural styles relevant and more appealing.

Works Cited

Andrew, Higgott. "Camera Constructs: Photography, Architecture and the Modern City." (2013).

Anna Wintson. Le Corbusier was incredibly attuned to the power of photography says Barbican exhibition curator. De Zeen. (2014). Retrieved from

Baudin, Antoine. Photography, Modern Architecture and Design: The Alberto Sartoris Collection, Objects from the Vitra Design Museum; [with the Exhibition "der Blick Der Moderne", Organised by the Vitra Design Museum ... Weil Am Rhein, Vitra Design Museum, 12.3.-29.5.2005]. Lausanne: EPFL Press [u.a., 2005. (74)

David Emmanuel Noel. The importance of integrating art with architecture. 2013. Retrieved from

Elwall, Robert. Building with Light: The International History of Architectural Photography. London: Merrell, 2004.

Ewing, James. Follow the Sun: A Field Guide to Architectural Photography in the Digital Age., 2016.

Falser, Michael, and Monica Juneja. Archaeologizing' Heritage? [recurso Electrónico]: Transcultural Entanglements between Local Social Practices and Global Virtual Realities., n.d. (47)

Grabar, Oleg. Islamic Art and Beyond. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Variorum, 2006.

Lacoste, Anne, and Felice Beato. Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010. Print. (132)

Newall, Diana. Art and Its Global Histories: A Reader., 2017.

Nilsen, Micheline. Architecture in Nineteenth Century Photographs: Essays on Reading a Collection., 2011

Redstone, Elias. Shooting Space: Architecture in Contemporary Photography., 2014.

Spencer, Stephanie. Francis Bedford, Landscape Photography and Nineteenth-Century British Culture: The Artist as Entrepreneur. Farnham, Surrey, England: Burlington, VT, 2011.

Spielvogel, Jackson J. Western Civilization. Boston, Mass: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2012.

STOURTON, JAMES. "British Embassies: Their Diplomatic and Architectural History." (2013).

Till, Jeremy. Architecture Depends. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2009.

The British Journal of Photography. London: H. Greenwood, n.d.

The Liverpool Photographic Journal. Liverpool: H. Greenwood, 1854.

Waldheim, Charles, and Katerina R. Ray. Chicago Architecture: Histories, Revisions, Alternatives. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. Print. (195)

Zimmerman, Claire. Photographic Architecture in the Twentieth Century., 2014. Print. (300)

August 01, 2023




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