The Art of Architectural Photography
Today we are experiencing a blizzard in New York City. The first serious storm of winter. The snow blankets all in a crystalline white powder that thickens by the minute. I am not a snow person, although it is pretty to look at. A favorite Dutch painter, Hendrick Avercamp (1585-1634) made snow come alive for me when I saw his paintings years ago in London's National Gallery. Just as the Spanish Impressionist Sorolla made the heat of Spanish sunlight come to life, jumping off the canvas with the fever of Spain at noon in the summer, Avercamp used the frozen winters of the Netherlands as a light source. In these, Avercamp's cold light shines from his paintings as if illuminated by actual fluorescence. And so thinking of light in Avercamp's paintings as I look out at the frosty swirling snow, I shiver and turn to my recent photographs of India. They warm me as no heater can.
The mystical city of Orchha was indeed hot when I visited there in November: at least 100F. However, within the walls of the Jahangir Mahal nothing exists but the alluring majestic beauty of the place. The design and intricacy of the architecture transcends any thought about weather or agility. Yes, climbing around the building is critical to appreciation of its structural delights. Steep stairs and narrow balconies; lofty precipices overlook the old city and the beautiful Betwa River. Each part of the place glows hot in the sunlight that accentuates the arches, domes, carved rails and elaborate details of the Mughal-style architecture. It is a gem of many architectural features: design, structure, texture, pattern, shape and form combine to create a visual feast.
Dreaming of Orchha dispels the wintry day outside my studio. The testament to genius architecture and design in Orchha can serve as inspiration in the storm.