Since the dawn of time (or thereabouts), photographing architecture has mostly involved choosing an appropriate viewpoint, carefully selecting a certain moment in time and constructing a specific set of circumstances to give voice to the story of a design. While it is certainly possible to convincingly compress three dimensions down into two, trying to convey some sense of time within still images has always been a little more esoteric a pursuit. Not to suggest that portraying the passage of time can’t be done. Just that the available tools have been somewhat limited for the still photographer.
Recent advances in technology have provided an opportunity to capture and present architectural ideas in a variety of interesting ways. I firmly believe that the skills inherent in producing great architectural images will continue to be of paramount importance. All the astounding new photographic technology in the world is only useful with a creative and experienced eye guiding it.
“Moving pictures do not necessarily have to move.”
Peter Greenaway 1981
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Extending the time period over which a photograph is experienced can be achieved using Time Lapse techniques where a large number of images are captured and condensed into a short period of time. Even without moving the camera’s singular viewpoint, some sense of the activity around a building or within a space can offer a broader story of the context within which a project exists.
The Bund, Shanghai NBBJ
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Red Bull Arena, New Jersey Rossetti
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Powerful optical and computing solutions now mean that real-time video footage can be more easily be captured, manipulated and distributed, providing photographers and architects with new opportunities to tell their stories.
ILUMA, Singapore WOHA
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Whereas in the past, a feeling of movement was more often an implied virtue in otherwise static objects, current designs are incorporating dynamic and interactive facades that bring a whole new dimension to the experience of a place. And in doing so, require a whole new language within the imagery being created to describe them.
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The next layer of complexity to explore is releasing the camera from its static viewpoint.
But that’s a whole other story…