Personal Statement

I love architecture, both interior and exterior. When I enter a beautiful hotel or office building, a sleek, modern restaurant, or a restored historic building, I often feel a compelling desire to photograph it. I appreciate the statement good architecture can make and the feel it can give to a city, town, or neighborhood. The architects and designers who create these spaces inspire my desire to capture them and tell their story in photography. I am a creative artist, and the inspiration I get from architects and designers is one of the reasons I chose to focus my talents on architectural photography.

I have studied a lot of architectural photography, and I especially enjoy the work of Ezra Stoller, Ernie Braun, and Julius Shulman. I have learned and developed my artistic eye for architecture by studying these great photographers and others. Of these three, I feel particularly influenced by Julius Shulman. It is natural for an architectural photographer to claim Shulman--the Ansel Adams of architectural photography--as his strongest influence, but I really do love both his work and his philosophy.

Shulman’s photographs have a certain feel to them that draws the viewer in and helps the viewer picture himself in the space. You get a tangible sense for what it’s like to be there when viewing Shulman’s photographs. He achieves these outcomes through his choice of lenses, his compositions, and other more technical factors. I emulate those choices and decisions in my work in an attempt to give viewers of my photographs a similar realistic feel for a location and to draw them into the spaces the architect and designer have created.

In my spare time, I am also a fine art landscape photographer, and my architectural work is closely connected to my landscape work. In both areas of photography, line, shape, pattern, color, light, and sense of space are important considerations in the way I compose and create my photographs. In landscapes I enjoy simple, graphic compositions that communicate a clear message with emotional content. I have the same goals in architectural photography. The simpler the composition the better. I try to highlight important aspects of the architecture and design while minimizing distractions and unimportant elements from my photographs. I want my architectural photographs to communicate clearly what it feels like to be in a space and what a building’s exterior and interior truly look like.

I use production lighting to help achieve some of these goals. In my architectural photography I use light to emphasize important elements of the architecture and design of a building and to enhance both the natural light of a space and the artificial light which the architect and designer created for the space. I try not to be too heavy-handed in my lighting, however. Again, simpler is usually better. For exteriors, I pay close attention to the time of day that I photograph--a lesson I learned from Julius Shulman. I will scout the location and photograph a building in the light that enhances and flatters the most important architectural elements that the architect put time and care into designing.

Architectural photography is a highly technical field, but it remains an artistic endeavor. I want my photographs to document the reality of the architecture and design, but I like to be creative and make photographs that conform to my style as well. I am an artist, but my art serves the architect and designer--your work always takes precedence. As you explore my portfolio of architectural photography, I hope you will recognize my dedication both to architecture and to its photography. I look forward to working with you on many projects!

Michael Tessler