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The Shooters

A picture is still worth a thousand kilobytes of text. Architectural photography requires a special skill set — technical and aesthetic mastery, of course, but also the ability to understand design intentions and to translate them from a threedimensional experience to a two-dimensional statement.

The following photographs represent the work of some of the region’s leading architectural photographers, who continue to shape our understanding of the built environment. These images were all commissioned commercial work; many of these photographers also have active careers as fine artists and book authors.

Straitsview Barn (vertical detail), San Juan Island, Washington. Designed by Thompson and Rose Architects, now Charles Rose Architects and Maryann Thompson Architects. Photograph by Chuck Choi.<br /><br />This shot has a wealth of elements, brought together with great light. It is a detail, but manages to convey a sense of the space, showing both the inside and the outside. It reveals materials, textures, and construction methods as well. Photos such as this are rarely ever planned; they can only be found.

Click above to view Choi images.

Genzyme Headquarters, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Designed by Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner. Photograph by Anton Grassl/Esto.<br /><br />Even though architecture is static, what makes a good architectural photograph is a moment. Seeing a group of people taking the stairs through a labyrinth of floors, platforms, and levels is one of those moments.

Click above to view Grassl images.

Marine Guard Entrance to United States Embassy Compound in Amman, Jordan. Designed by Perry Dean Rogers & Partners. Photograph by Richard Mandlekorn.<br /><br />There is something so elemental and pure about this shallow curved wall and the native materials used to construct it; and how, just for a very few minutes in the day, it catches the sun and is so perfectly defined.<br /><br />I spent ten days shooting this expansive, multi-faceted project located on the outskirts of Amman with Charles Rogers, an architect with whom I had the singular privilege of working for twenty years. In addition to being my client, Charles worked side-by-side with me on all shoots of his projects – here, it was dawn to dusk each day, followed by long dinners at Charles's favored local discoveries – a shoot filled with great images as well as good memories shared with a good friend I will long remember.

Click above to view Mandlekorn images.

Hancock Tower from the Mass Pike, Boston. Designed by I.M. Pei and Partners, Architects; Henry N. Cobb, design partner. Photograph by Steve Rosenthal.<br /><br />The Hancock Tower represented an unusual photographic challenge. On a clear, sunny day, when many buildings are sculpted by crisp shadows, the Hancock simply disappears into the sky; conversely, with a threatening sky, it comes to life, presenting a constantly changing façade. As I was setting up the camera for this photograph, I glimpsed a gleaming reflection which immediately disappeared. My assistant and I waited for what seemed like an endless, freezing two hours for something like it to happen once more. I was able to get a few clicks of the shutter before it disappeared again.

Click above to view Rosenthal images.

Slarsky living room, Boston. Designed by designLAB architects. Photograph by Eric Roth.<br /><br />The Slarsky living room is bright and graphic, mostly black and white with hints of color. This photo is about strong forms. I love the feel of traditional and modern merging, telling us that good traditional can look modern and vice versa: in other words, good design is timeless. The children are very emotive and look John Singer Sargent-like.

Click above to view Roth images.

W Hotel, Boston. Photographed for Bentel and Bentel Architects. Photograph by Peter Vanderwarker.<br /><br />My friend, John Shields, is married to a lovely Swiss woman who wears smashing red capes. I asked her to pose for this view.

Click above to view Vanderwarker images.

Read the related article: The Message in the Medium

Top image: Photo by Peter Vanderwarker.