Architectural Photography for Beginners: Tips from Frederic Chaubin
French photographer Frederic Chaubin had a lecture at the Bird In Flight Photo School on May 23 entitled What Does Architectural Photography Speak About. Before the event, Chaubin, who published a book about Soviet architecture, shared some tips on making memorable architectural photographs.
French photographer, editor-in-chief of Citizen K magazine. In 2011, his book USSR was named the best publication on architecture at the International Art, Book, and Film Festival in Perpignan.
— When you have a personal obsession you usually find a medium that helps to express it. I’ve personally always deeply felt the fluid interactions that take place between the present and the past, the blurred lines between what is and what has been. I’m fascinated about traces and this is what photography is dealing with.
Architecture, in a sensitive way, is also totally connected with this puzzling dimension of time. What William Faulkner meant when he wrote: “The past is not dead. It’s not even the past…” This is precisely true about architecture photography.
We belong to a culture of images and icons. Today everybody intuitively knows the rules of composition. You can easily master architecture photography. If shapes and volumes are enough then it’s okay. But to reach beyond is more rewarding. The real achievement is to bring emotion into such pictures. A good photo is the one that takes you behind the mirror, that tells you more than what it shows. To get someone puzzled in front of a building’s photo is the real challenge.
Architecture carries the main, central account of history and culture, it tells a lot literally but tells it even more when deciphered. It opens incredibly deep perspectives. This deciphering task is in some ways romantic, this storytelling, is for me what architecture photography is about.