Architecture Photography: symmetry challenge

I love big cities. I love all about it. The chaos, the movement, the streets, the dirtiness, the night, the financial centers, the inhabitants. All that give life to my work. And I also love the buildings within it.

New and ancient London, a paradise for any architecture lover. The Gherkin in the financial district area and the Big Ben Clock at The Houses of Parliament. Which one you prefer?

The big cities are always in constant urban development. The mix of past and future aligned with the sharpest minds brings us the most exquisite architecture. Old monuments and skyscrapers decorate postcards, books and even our living rooms (addicted to home decor, anyone?).
Architecture is always one step ahead of us, and today we see around the world the greatest architects defying engineering and science as once masters such as Oscar Niemeyer, Walter Gropius and Antoni Gaudí did.

The magnificent Antoni Gaudí's architecture all over Barcelona.

Photos 1,2, 4, 7 La Pedrera, Casa Milà; Photos 3,8 La Sagrada Familia; Photos 5,6 Park Güell


Fortunately, as an architecture lover, I can through my lens, document it and bring pieces of the most beautiful buildings out there and share with everyone. The photography is a great way to represent architecture artistically.
So today I ask you, do you like architecture photography? How do you feel about it? Fascinated or with tedious? Skyscrapers, massive buildings, minimalism, geometry, cubes, roofs, glasses, marble, roughness still, suspensions, light structures, textures, symmetry and more! I find fascinating the way that these monumental buildings can cause such emotion in all of us (well, at least a big part of us).

To photograph architecture is not an easy thing to do. Honestly? I was not a very fond of it. But, things change and my opinion about it changed. And today I find it not only to be a pleasure and a challenge to photograph, but also a mix of experiments and entertainment where my creativity meets my biggest passion: black and white photography.

As a fine art photographer, my vision is completely personal about the subject. To mix fine art photography and architecture photography can be an arduous work. After all, fine art is all about beauty and aesthetics.
So I want you to be inspired with my shots and contemplate the magnificence of such beautiful works of art through my perception. It is about my imagination, my intellectual side and how I see it. It also can be pretty abstract, mysterious, cold. And I love it. Tower blocks depicted as poignant dreams. To never know how it will end my photography journey intrigues and excites me all the way. Walk with me.


Abstract

Recurrent pattern always work. I like to think in an abstract way when wondering about architectures themes. Symmetry is indicate to gain well structures results, but as we know, the symmetry can be challenging. Sometimes little details can lost the balance of the whole picture. The light can add drama to your lines. Play with it! Play with the sunset, the blue hour and, the totally black night. Different lights add different moods to the architecture photography. The night light can be a great component. Of course it all depends of what kind of emotion you want to provoke. What kind of initial impression do you want to pass to your public? The contrast of black sky with the light within the buildings can be alluring.

Venice and its spectacular architecture, one of the most beautiful cities in the world is also one with its most exquisite architecture


Composition

In order to avoid boring and tedious photos about architecture, we need to keep an eye on the composition. There are numerous techniques to set a good architecture photo, but for me what always works is to follow the vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines. The lines can be used as arrows pointing to a specific subject inside the photography. The ‘escape lines’ invite the spectator to walk within the image. Plus, to photograph the same scene in both formats: landscape and portrait, which gives me the possibility to check later which version works better visually.

São Paulo is an amazing city for shooting architecture, express yourself, just go out there and live it! Clockwise:

1. Copan Building; 2. Copan Building; 3.São Paulo downtown; 4. Paulista Avenue; 5. Martinelli Building; 6. Instituto Tomie Ohtake ; 7. FIESP building; 8. São Paulo downtown; 9. Renaissance Hotel; 10. Instituto Tomie Ohtake ; 11. Paulista Avenue; 12. Ruy Ohtake Building; 13. São Paulo downtown; 14. Jardim Paulista.


Perspective

Change frequently the perspective to see how different angles can affect the composition as a whole. Perspective changes everything. It provokes the emotion, the mood, the feeling about the statement that your photography represents. To focus on details can also bring you a distinctive perspective. And I find it very interesting. To always photography the bigger picture about some building can end up as a tedious photography, but focusing on the details can turn your picture from boring to exceptional.


Modern or Older?

That is a tough decision. Architecture surrounds our daily life, we just don’t realize that. The place you are sitting now, inside a new or an old building, took time, engineering, planning, architecture and probably years to be accomplished. I love the new business London as much as I love the older one. I just can’t decide whether I prefer new or older architecture, and guess what, I don’t have to. I embrace both styles. Each has its beauty and fascination.

Florence Cathedral, formally the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. Began to be built in 1296 and finished in 1436. Dramatic sky, contrasting black and white and different angles.


Outdoors/Indoors

I’m not a big fan of indoors architecture photography, but depending on the place and the structure, it’s worth it. It also requires more ability as, will the location have light in or not? Or, if not, will you be able to photograph it with external light? Indoors can be tricky, but also amusing. When I think about indoor architecture photography, the first thing that comes to my mind is amazing ceilings, staircases and doors.

Indoors can be very amusement and Paris offers many options. Clockwise: Chagall ceiling at Ópera Garnier, Louvre Pyramid, Arc de Triomphe, Galeries Lafayette.


Skyscrapers

Skyscrapers represents power to me. All those businesses centers in the main cities are fascinating. To look up and see giant towers makes me feel tiny as an ant! The structure of giant blocks in harmony with dramatic skies fascinates me.
Such subject is amazing to photograph: spires, towers, windows, reflection, facades, structure, texture. Add to all that, symmetry, which can be striking in skyscrapers. It creates a strong statement about your photo. Plus, a bit of movement and dynamism will increase the atmosphere about it.

Berlin fascinates in all ways possible, and its architecture is dazzling!


Below

Photo 1 and 5: The amazing roof construction (looks like an alien-ship somehow) at the Sony Center in Berlin, with seven adjoining buildings made of still and glass, Helmut Jahn; Photo 2: The Philharmonic Concert Hall in Berlin, complementary constructions on polygonal plans; Photo 3: DB Building at Potsdamer Platz; Photo 4: The cultural venue Tempodrom in Berlin, a concrete construction with twelve still supports, magnificent; Photo 6: The Television Tower, feted as 'work of the workers' by architect Hermann Henselmann, was completed in 1969.


Places where to find great architecture

The world is full of great architecture to photograph. Sometimes the building itself does not have to be a famous monument, instead, that simple building around the corner can bring fantastic results.
Better yet, depending the city you are, you will have a lot of geographic influence. Meaning, a lot of different architecture. For instance, Spain. The country has passed for so many happenings, and its architecture along with it. Celtic, Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque, Moorish, just to name a few. So go out there and explore it!

Here where I live in Brazil, we have great places to photograph architecture (not to mention great architecture names, as Tomie Ohtake and Niemeyer): São Paulo, Brasília, Rio de Janeiro. Other cities I have been to and I highly recommend: Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, NY, Copenhagen, Moscow, Santiago, Venice, Brussels, London. Of course there are tons of cities out there. I’m just pointing out some examples I find very interesting. As I said, the building around the corner can be the breakpoint photo on your career.

Bauhaus anyone? This year marks 100 years of the launch of the amazing visionary project of Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus School. I think everyone who loves architecture, design arts and history knows about it. Thus, a lot of what we know about architecture photography has the influence of Bauhaus.


Square / Triangle / Circle - Bauhaus influence

Photos taken in Santiago,Chile


Wide Angle Lens

Wide angle lens is perfect for this theme as it enables photographers to frame entire block buildings within its location. Also make possible to emphasize the subject giving it an exaggerated perspective.
As for myself, I’m not a paranoid gear photographer. As a matter of fact, I’ve spent a lot of money already in lens and cameras to find out that a pair of good lens, a good camera, studies/reading and practice is all you need to take excellent shots.

Russia is unique. The language is unique. The currency is different. And surely its architecture is to say the least, impressive. Clockwise: Radisson Royal Hotel; Saint Basil's Cathedral; The International Business Center; Monument to the Conqueros of Space (Soviet architecture is amazing) and a dark silhouette from Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.


Distortion

Distortion is a common problem in architecture photography. You go out, you shoot a lot. You bring 100 images to your computer. And that one you thought was perfect, turned out it was not what you expected. Yeah, it can happen. But gladly you still can be able to correct it with Photoshop or Lightroom. It happens to all of us. That’s why sometimes I stay for a long time in one spot trying different angles, compositions, day or night. The less correction, the better.

The iconic and groundbreaking architecture in Copenhagen is a must visit for every photographer. Different from everything and everywhere, Danish magnificent architecture is one of a kind! Clockwise: 1. Axel Towers; 2. The Royal Danish Playhouse; 3. The Black Diamond - The Royal Library


Timing

Architecture does not move or go anywhere. Take your time to photograph, focus on quality instead quantity. A pair of good lenses and a few techniques can bring the best creative shots. Enjoy that particular moment. Architecture photography is all about concentration, not about speed. And shoot, shoot a lot!

Paris is no doubt one of my favorite spots to photography architecture, so many good locations everywhere! New and old at its best! First 2 photos La Défense; and Centre Pompidou

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