Not a Blog


Looking at a still photograph is proactive. You decide to look and for how long, to linger and explore the image or walk away. All too often even still images are flashed in front of us momentarily reducing our involvement to a passive onlooker. We are in danger of accepting bad and mediocre imagery as normal, we are looking but not seeing. Photographs of architecture capture more than a building, they create a legacy in time and place.

#Lookforlonger #look4longer is what we want everyone to do.

In a world of scrolling though images on screen we miss small details that are important but not obvious, yet crucial in portraying a building to a client.

Three photographers who were shortlisted in the Architectural Photography Awards 2021 share images they want you to "look for longer".

1. Prof Alex de Rijke both an architect , Director of dRMM and the photographer of this project.


"I want people to look at these two photos and think there’s something special and surreal about this place. But the harder you look, the more you realise it’s all made with simple everyday stuff. The building is wood, colour and light, and shot on an iPhone camera."

2.Kris Provoost


'Eden of the Orient'

"I want viewers to consider the overwhelming effect the escalating density of housing development is having on population and environment as these mountainous estates envelope all but a few slivers of nature."

3.Brad Feinknopf shot for MM Architect


"Viewers inevitably fail to see, on the right, mid frame, two deer grazing in the moonlight. Once you realise their presence it elevates the shot, giving it a magical air and establishing the sense of place."

Photographer Martine Hamilton Knight                                                            Edited from a feature in the World Architecture Festival newsletter June 2022

Architectural photography is not a male preserve. Previous APA new letters may have given that impression. Internationally there are plenty of accomplished women. Let me introduce you to Martine Hamilton Knight, an architectural photographer since 1990. From the beginning she vowed to have a career in the profession she loved and have a good family life. Martine chose to work close to home with the intention of rarely being away from her native Nottingham in the UK, overnight. Although that didn't stop her accepting the occasional overseas assignment from local clients, sometimes as far afield as China. Martine's knowledge and familiarity with the East Midlands and its architecture has made her a perfect judge for several RIBA regional awards committees. While she is better known for working with contemporary architects Martine was commissioned by Yale to photographically update the Nottinghamshire edition in the esteemed Pevsner series Buildings of England. This Pevsner was first published over seventy years ago in black and white. Here are three from that huge body of work followed by #photojustonething


Southwell Minster c.1300


Boots D10 Pharmaceutical Building 1932 Architect Owen Williams


All Saints Church, West Markham

Walk the course. Always - if you arrive on site for a shoot, leave the camera in the bag until you’ve thoroughly explored. It might be the most important point in the day. You will make key judgements at this point about lighting, timing, the organisation of spaces, people - in short, everything you need to move forwards productively on a shoot. The worst thing is NOT knowing what’s around the next corner. You might be spending far too much time on what’s in front of you and completely miss the opportunity to capture what you really needed to be doing at that point in the day.

A case in point? Nearly every shot I’ve ever taken! Here’s one where me looking over the edge of this bridge rather than simply walking across it, informed me that if I returned to that spot late afternoon, the light would be penetrating the atrium and if I placed people there too, it would create a rich shot. Architects: Broadway Malyan - National Centre for Sport & Exercise Medicine


#look4longer : This is from a series I did of a long closed casino and restaurant called The Victoria Club. I was originally commissioned to shoot it twenty years ago, and returned in 2018 as a personal project, partially lifting the dust covers, lighting and styling areas as I’d first encountered them 17 years earlier. All the props were found in situ - taken from the still stocked bar with its ancient liquors and cigars. Cocktail Bar, The Victoria Club, Nottingham

What is architectural photography?

First Photo

The First Photo: Nicéphore Niépce’s ‘View from the Window at Le Gras 1826/27

There is a distinction between architectural photography and photographing architecture.

Niepce's and his ‘view from a window’ is clearly an image of architecture and a seminal image in the history of photography.

It pioneered a technical breakthrough.

Today Andreas Gursky is listed as a photographer of architecture and he certainly brings his own interpretation and technical wizardry to his architectural subjects. There are beautiful photographs of walls by a photographer that associates himself with architectural photography. There are myriad photographers on Instagram adding architecture and architectural to their profiles. Many creating one off stunning images and gaining large followings.

But would you commission them ?

The distinction being these are photographers using architecture as a vehicle and not photographing architecture to tell the specific architectures story. The architectural photographer must engage the viewer, to take them through the building, with minimal distortion or exaggeration. Sense of place, that is the building in context, understanding and showing the building in use (if allowed ) and importantly they must explain spacial relationships.

Over time a building may be come known via a single ' hero' image, but a single image alone will not persuade a judge or client.

Immersive CGI's can be used to get a project 'off the ground' but to be honest about the success of a finished building, still images remain the universal vocabulary.

Full Article: See here

What is Architectural Photography ?

Full Article: See here

Katy Harris has been with Foster + Partners for over 30 years, she is a Senior Partner, Head of Communications BA (Hons) Communication Design.

From the early days of commissioning photography to overseeing an in house team of photographers and videographers visually communicating the work of the practice has been essential. In Katy's words :

'Architectural photography is a means to capture the personality of a building or a space and to elicit emotions in the viewer. Using light, whether natural or artificial, can completely change the character of a building. It is also a vital medium for architects to promote their work and communicate how buildings work for their occupants and how they respond to their context and communities.'

Katy has been a long time supporter of the Architectural Photography Awards and an Anchor Judge for 6 years.

Foster + Partners has a huge photo collection. Needless to say they have many I could have chosen, here I've selected just five images taken for the practice that make me want to #look4longer which means, for me, they initially have 'kerb appeal' they do their job of attracting me. Then I want to go deeper, I want to know what is going on, I want to know more. Surely the purpose of any images submitted for awards.


Monica Pidgeon 1913 -2009: Editor, catalyst and photographer.

67f24c35 Node Monica Pidgeon Riba Collections Large

Monica Pidgeon 1913 - 2009, was a redoubtable figure, a woman in a predominantly mans world, writes Lynne Bryant.

She studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London and went on to be a revered editor of Architectural Design magazine. A position she shared with another woman, Barbara Randall, between 1946 and 1975. This was a highly unusual arrangement at the time.

When Monica Pidgeon was organiser of the International Union of Architects' (UIA) conference in London she met Richard Buckminster Fuller where they discussed his ideas for The World Design Science Decade. This was a series of documents that suggest, in great detail, ways in which world architectural schools, and specifically their students, should initiate, and take ownership of the documents’ contents. The total series includes many of Fuller’s most prescient ideas and emphasised the catastrophic depletion of world resources and their responsibility to address it.

Monica Pidgeon in Architectural Design magazine embraced his theme and published Fuller's series of papers in the July 1961 issue, thus becoming one of the first magazines to draw attention to population numbers and sustainable design.

Less known about Monica Pidgeon is she was a talented and prodigious photographer using her camera extensively from the 1960's, capturing both people and architecture. Her photo journalistic approach produced memorable images that convey a sense of time and place.

Monica Pidgeon's archive is one of the little-known gems of the RIBA Photographic Collection.

To see more of Monica Pidgeon's work, you can book an appointment via

RIBA 66 Portland Place London W1B 1AD

Full Article: see here

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