13th of June, 2012
More Than the Visual
Not surprisingly, completing my MAVA meant I came into contact with a myriad of writing on architectural photography. Most dealt with technical issues, its evolution or how architectural photography is used as a commercial tool in the media and by architects. Many were from the various well regarded magazines such as AA, Domus, Blueprint etc. But also books and video dedicated to the topic including Building With Light: The International History of Architectural Photography (Elwall, R 2004) and Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman (2009). These texts and the like certainly aided in providing a broader understanding of what architectural photography has been and is, however, it wasn’t until I came across two writings dealing with the feeling of architecture that I truly got an idea of what I was ultimately trying to achieve with my work.
The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses by Juhani Pallasmaa and The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton both explore ideas around the psychology and philosophy of architecture. The Eyes of the Skin is concerned with the
In The Architecture of Happiness, De Botton explores many ideas, but it is his thoughts on the idealization of architecture that caught my ear. He writes, “Behind a practical façade, modern architecture has never ceased trying to reflect back to its audience a selective image of who they might be, in the hope of improving upon, and molding, reality.” He goes on to say that despite the real life events that happen in and around buildings, good architecture acts as a propaganda tool in promoting to its inhabitants and others an idealized life worth striving for.