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Architecture in Photography

The photographer’s eye

The photographic documentation of buildings poses great challenges to any photographer. The incorporation of many buildings in a heavily built-up urban environment often demands the adoption of extremely high standpoints for photographing their façades. Perspective shots that show parts of façades seen from a sharp angle are also possible. It is left to the photographer’s discretion to show how much context he wants to include in his photos and what details he wishes to emphasize in close-up shots. That’s why the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner, in his foreword to Helmut Gernsheim’s pioneering study Focus on Architecture and Sculpture. An original approach to the photography of architecture and sculpture (1949), speaks of the “photographer’s privilege”, i.e. the privilege he has in his photographs to provide the observer with an initial visual key to understanding the architecture being documented. His colleague, Heinrich Klotz, founding director of the Frankfurt Architectural Museum, also had to come to terms with this “privilege” and its impact on the description of architectural history. In his text Über das Abbilden von Bauten * (On the reproduction of buildings), published in *Architectura-Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Baukunst in 1971, he reflected perceptively on the reciprocity between photography and architectural theory.


Unidentified photographer: Cathedral, Florence, around 1871, albumin print, 23,6 x 17,8 cm (KHI, inv. no. 108889)

Robert Rive: Cathedral, Orvieto, before 1881, albumin print, 25,2-25,3 x 19,1 cm (KHI, inv. no. 400957)

Romualdo Moscioni: St. Peter’s Square, Rome, before 1903, albumin print, 12,4 x 17,3 cm (KHI, inv. no. 616038/08)

Hilde Lotz-Bauer: Palazzo del Bargello, Florence, before 1943, barytpaper, 18,2 x 24 cm (KHI, inv. no. 378134)

Fratelli Alinari: Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Florence, around 1890, gelatine-silver print, 19,7 x 25,5 cm (KHI, inv. no. 56412)

Hilde Lotz-Bauer: Santa Maria Novella, Florence, before 1943, barytpaper, 16,7 x 21,9 cm (KHI, inv. no. 382255)

Francesco Arese Visconti: Piazza dei Cavalieri, Pisa, 2009, print on R-C Paper, 19,4 x 28,6 cm (KHI, inv. no. 606411)

Francesco Arese Visconti: Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri, Pisa, 2009, stampa su carta politenata, 24,4 x 21,8 cm (KHI, inv. no. 606412)

Hilde Lotz-Bauer: Palazzo Rucellai, Florence, before 1940, barytpaper1 5,6 x 11,9 cm (KHI, inv. no. 382291)

Roberto Sigismondi: Palazzo Apolloni, Colle di Val d'Elsa, 2002, print on R-C Paper, 21,7 x 17,9 cm (KHI, inv. no. 586496)

Romualdo Moscioni: Palazzo Terzulli, Corato, 1891/1892, albumin print, 38,1 x 25,7cm (KHI, inv. no. 4266)

Paolo Lombardi: Palazzo Brogi, Siena, before 1899, gelatine-silver print, 19,8 x 25,8 cm (KHI, inv. no. 68320)




© KHI in Florence | 24.09.2020 00:01:26