40-42 Federal Street, Newburyport, Massachusetts
Medium:4x5 Photographic Print
A black and white photo of a large leafy tree outside of a house that is mostly blocking the house. The front porch steps are at the bottom right of the image and the front doors are in the picture, but the rest of the house is blocked. There are power lines traveling beyond the trees.
Architecture is essentially an art of space and light. Forms (buildings) are constructed to give shape to the space they enclose, but also to interact with adjacent space outside the structure. Light interacts with the form and space of architecture to illuminate and model the form, while filling space with light. Forms interact with light to create shadows. Form, light and shadow work together to shape our experience of architecture.
It is not by chance that I am by profession an architectural photographer. But neither was it readily acknowledged. Since the early 1970s I have been working with many kinds of landscape in my photographs. Formal considerations were always important, but it was only after an interest in architecture developed that I began to recognize that my vision of the landscape was one that saw it as “architecture.” When I began to photograph buildings professionally, I noticed that it was a lot like photographing those landscapes. Form, space and light interacting in a more limited area to be sure, but nonetheless the essential ingredients were there interacting in a way that was familiar.
These photographs are of architecture. Form and light interacting in human environments and space. The shadows are not “negative areas” but living, breathing contributors to the structure of these spaces. Every element has a role in these photographs which portray experience common to each of us.
-Douglas R. Gilbert (Written October 24, 1986)