The catcher of your eye

In a world of information overload, a picture is worth a thousand words. Architect and photographer Laura Stamers explains how pictures capture the imagination

4 min read

Architectural photography calls for a strong composition. But to me it’s essential to still leave room for the playful or spontaneous, something that the viewer will immediately grasp and understand. Being trained as both a photographer and architect, my overall approach to photography is one that integrates detail as well as a theoretical understanding of space and light. I focus on texture, colours and the tactility of materials – all essential elements of architecture, really.

To me, architecture is equal parts form and experience. So when I’m on site preparing for a new assignment, I try to focus on the relationship between the actual space and the social interaction taking place there.

The demands that an image has to be an eye catcher have only grown stronger

I’m inspired by darkness. The light is a grateful subject, but darkness is the real challenge. Through the years I have practised focusing on darkness rather than light. It’s as if there comes a point at which the understanding of light becomes the understanding of darkness. In the darkness of the playhouse or the black display boxes at an exhibition, the light becomes part of the set design, a staging element; a place where details and colours disappear, and the photograph is left for the viewer to finish.

Most photography is fundamentally documentation, especially when it comes to commercial assignments where clients usually have very specific reasons for commissioning a photographer. But photography has the ability to be more than objective certification. It’s a powerful branding and storytelling tool.

In architectural photography the space is always the primary subject, but the real branding value lies in communicating the human action, the experiences or the emotions that the space evokes. The construction company doesn’t build schools, but creative learning environments, and public street lighting is as much about creating a sense of safety as just pure accessibility.

These are the stories I try to tell. Obviously, not every client has a product or commercial solution that automatically evokes such associations. That is where the photographer as an artist can bring creative interpretation and with that brand development.

Today, everything makes a noise. The stream of words and images is constant – never-ending. The demands that an image has to be an eye catcher have only grown stronger. An architectural space is not necessarily communicated in a series or sequence anymore, but through one frozen moment, one headline. That’s an immense challenge.

Lundgaard & Tranberg, The Royal Playhouse

Lundgaard & Tranberg, The Royal Playhouse

Dorte Mandrup Lange Eng Collective Living

Dorte Mandrup Lange Eng Collective Living

COBE Taastrup Theatre

COBE Taastrup Theatre

COBE, Taastrup Theatre

COBE, Taastrup Theatre

Christensen & Co DTU Compute

Christensen & Co DTU Compute

Jean Nouvel Concert House Danish Radion

Jean Nouvel Concert House Danish Radion

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