Atkinson, Newburyport, Massachusetts
Medium:4x5 Photographic Print
A black and white photo of a street with a building on the right and a house that is mostly out of frame on the left. The building on the right has three stories and the right wall has them in two's going up. The left wall has a door in the center and two windows on the left and the right, and up from there has five windows. In the distance down the street there are more houses. There are power lines coming from the top left in the image.
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)