I am a Minneapolis-based architectural photographer. I studied architecture in the late 1960’s, and received my Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Minnesota in 1973. I have worked as a practicing architect for over thirty years.
My interest in architectural photography dates to 1972 when I acquired my first large format camera - a 4”x5” Kodak Masterview with a 90mm Schneider Angulon lens. Much later, as an in-house photographer, I documented over fifty completed projects for Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. (MSR), prior to launching my architectural photography practice. I am now providing architectural photography services for a growing list of clients in Minnesota and beyond.
My work has been publishedin a variety of books and periodicals and has been exhibited at the Universityof Minnesota, College of Design. I've worked utilizing both the 4”x5” format (film) and direct digital capture with perspective correction lenses. In 2010 I co-founded IDE[A] - Imaging the Designed Environment [Architecture] - a Minneapolis-based architectural photography collaborative consisting of seven Minneapolis photographers and film-makers.
METHODS & APPROACH
I do not see myself as a documentary photographer. My strong preference is deliberate and thoughtful interpretation of design, architecture and the built environment. I utilize the "eye" and the sensibilities that I've developed as a practicing architect to inform my work. I make images, rather than taking photos, utilizing specialized photographic tools, both hardware and software.
Usually my clients provide me a set of site and/or floor plans, rough photos, and a list of desired views, from which I prepare my quote and plan a shoot. Generally I like to do a walk-around on-site prior to a shoot, to get a sense of the landscape, the space, the lighting and the camera positions. I do this with or without my client, depending on the client’s availability and preferences.
On the day of a shoot for interior spaces involving any degree of day-lighting, I generally do a quick walk-around, before setting up, to assess the lighting conditions at the outset. This gives me a quick mental notion of the shot sequencing. I then continue to be mindful of the lighting as the shoot progresses, modifying the shot sequence if/as required, given unforeseen or serendipitous circumstances.
I’ve done photo shoots both with my client on site, or in some cases without, given unique circumstances where my client relationship is close, and my client has a high degree of confidence in my eye, and my compositional capabilities.
I’ve also done photo shoots with or without an assistant, depending on circumstances. My wife, Kathi, who has become quite experienced in managing the “housekeeping” and staging that’s a part of virtually every interior shoot, often assists. Generally, I do not bring along props or furnishings to stage a shoot, though I will work with them, when provided by the client, at the client’s election. Occasionally I engage an experienced colleague, fellow photographer, and collaborator to assist for particularly demanding projects that require specialized technical skills on the part of the assistant, or when a client requires that I do so.
I shot the Minneapolis offices of the Olson ad agency for Gensler using an experienced, full-time assistant (colleague and collaborator Pete VonDeLinde), as they required. This was a three-day shoot, averaging 14 hours per day, yielding sixty-five finished images. Gensler had two representatives on site for most of that shoot. My rate for an assistant, when required, varies, depending on circumstances and skills required.
I generally use supplemental lighting on residential interiors. However, in my experience, I’ve observed that most commercial and institutional interiors do not require supplemental lighting. It becomes a question of the dynamic contrast range in the scene, which if too severe would warrant the use of some type of supplemental lighting, corresponding in color temperature to the predominant lighting in the space. An experienced assistant would be capable of managing any supplemental lighting, as required.
I shoot almost exclusively with tilt-shift lenses, varying from super-wide through moderate telephoto, to manage perspective, and to fine tune composition without changing camera position, once a shot has been established. To optimize image composition, and evaluation, I shoot wirelessly tethered to an iPad, which also allows me to manage camera settings, and to shoot remote from the camera when advantageous.