A black and white photo of the outside of a church on the left and a small house on the right. They are both within the same gate which is brick on the left around the house and metal around the church. The church on the left is stone around with a protruding section in the front that goes up into a steeple. There is an arched dome at the top of it. The door is on the front of this section and there are small windows on either side of this on the face of the building, but they are mostly covered by bare plants. The house on the left is brick and has large windows on the side that is visible in the photo. There is road going horizontally in front of these buildings along the fence.
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)