Atkinson Hardware Building, Newburyport, Massachusetts
Medium:4x5 Photographic Print
A black and white photo of a row of store fronts with building space on top of them. The bottom floor are stores, one on the left that takes up two sections of building and then two on the right that are the same store. The sections above the stores have windows all along them on the two stories. There are four sections and on the right side there is a single column of windows. In the foreground of the photo there are street corners that are across the street from the building that have telephone poles on them.
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)