The architecture we choose to photograph, and how we photograph it says what we think, feel and believe. My photography is the world of architecture made visible through my unique experience and vision as an architect and photographer: for me architecture and its photography are inextricably connected. – Brian Lewis
Architects and their clients, consultants and contractors invest a great deal of time and energy in creating architecture. It therefore follows that architecture be promoted with the appropriate level of care and skill. Architectural photography has evolved as an effective means of communicating the value of building designs and their contribution to the built environment, culture and society. The impact of stunning architectural photography is a most effective means of promoting the value of architecture. Sensitive architectural photography can also help to explain the design intent and features of a building and so help the public better understand the value of good design.
The public has access to centuries of vernacular, traditional and colonial architecture. In order for contemporary architecture to become better accepted the public needs to be educated of its benefits and become more familiar with excellent examples. Architects in general, but particularly those in the Caribbean, need to promote their work in the public domain. Contemporary architecture, in particular, needs to be marketed so that the public can see what is available and what can be done.
In order to achieve these objectives the architectural photographer must develop the skill and artistic interpretation of the architect’s design intent and to express the emotional impression intended by the author of the design. The architectural photographer may seek to transcend the mere recording of the building to become a source or instrument to evoke an empathy with the design and thus create an image that achieves a level of art in itself. The artistic and freedon of expression allow the architectural photographer that unique challenge to discover the genius loci [the spirit of the place] of a work of architecture and then to express that in such a way that inspires the emotions of the viewer and helps in the understanding of and appreciation of the work of architecture and the author’s intent. Although there never seems to be enough time to rest and meditate the essence of the building at different times of the day and from various angles the architectural photography needs to contemplate and search for hidden meaning and less predictable features. High quality architectural photography demanded by international publications requires high-resolution images, perspective control cameras and special lighting equipment.
There are various means of marketing contemporary architecture; among them are the more traditional means such as brochures, publications in the news media, book and magazine publications, exhibitions, public lectures and presentations. Today there are a number of new opportunities for promotion in the electronic media such as web sites, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and a whole range of evolving social media applications. Having access to international magazines and publications is an excellent vehicle for Caribbean architects to promote their worth in seeking recognition, but at present such opportunities are limited.
In conclusion a thorough understanding of design along with a comprehensive technical and artistic ability to capture the design intent and emotional contribution of architecture are essential requirement for making a choice of an architectural photographer.