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. I became proficient with a 4”x5” format view camera and used both Calumet and Sinar cameras throughout my career as an architect. To a great extent, view camera technique informs my way of framing and capturing architectural subject matter.
Later, as an in-house photographer at Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. (MSR), I documented over fifty of their completed projects prior to launching my architectural photography practice. I’ve been providing architectural photography services as a professional for nearly ten years.
My work has been published in a variety of books and periodicals and has been exhibited at the University of Minnesota, College of Design. I've worked professionally 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 often add lighting on residential interiors. However, in my experience, the environmental lighting in most commercial and institutional interiors is such that they do not usually require supplemental lighting. It’s a question of the dynamic contrast range in the scene. If too severe, some type of supplemental lighting or multiple-exposure image compositing is 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.
HOME PAGE IMAGES
1 - Corporate Offices, Border States Electric | Fargo, ND | HGA
2 - Abbey Church, St. John's University | Collegeville, MN | Marcel Breuer
3 - American Enterprise Group (AEG) | Des Moines, IA | SOM, Gordon Bunshaft
4 - Carleton College, Anderson Hall | Northfield, MN | EYP Architecture & Engineering
5 - Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, 1963 | New Haven, CT | SOM, Gordon Bunshaft
6 - University of Minnesota, Bell Museum of Natural History | St. Paul, MN | Perkins+Will
7 - Christ Church Lutheran, Education Wing | Minneapolis, MN | Eero Saarinen
8 - Minneapolis City Hall | Minneapolis, MN | Long & Kees
9 - University of California, San Diego, Geisel Library | San Diego, CA | William Pereira Associates
10 - Goose Creek Safety Rest Area | Harris, MN | VJAA
11 - Hilton Hotel | Rochester, MN | HGA
12 - Grande Arche de la Defense | Paris, France | Johann Otto von Spreckelsen
13 - Lakewood Garden Mausoleum | Minneapolis, MN | HGA
14 - Salk Institute | La Jolla, CA | Louis Kahn
15 - UM, Science, Teaching & Student Services | Minneapolis, MN | Kohn, Pedersen, Fox with HGA
16 - University of Minnesota Health Sciences Education Center | Minneapolis, MN | Perkins+Will
17 - Westwood Hills Nature Center | St. Louis Park, MN | HGA
18 - York Hall, Revelle College, UCSD | San Diego, CA | Donald Neptune & Joseph Thomas