The Importance of People in Architecture Photography

The Importance of People in Architecture Photography — Clorova | Bali & Jakarta Photography, Video, 360 Media Production

In the hands of skilled photographers, a developed environment becomes much more than layers of bricks, concrete, and beam of steel - instead, these images able to bring so much more into many pair of eyes that sees it.

Most architectural images are lacking of people, and this is for good reason, images of empty architectural spaces have an allure that’s backed up by psychology: We’re most attracted to images of people, and if even one person slips into the frame, they take attention away from the space itself.

Take the example from image of "Elevation" by Naf Selmani one of the selected finalists of Chartered Institute of Building’s (CIOB) 2016 Art of Building Photographer of the Year competition.

Fig 01
"Elevation" by Naf Selmani. Photo Taken in London, UK, using Fujifilm X-T10. Courtesy: Chartered Institute of Building.

Seen from below in Naf Selmani’s photograph, she’s ostensibly posing for a picture–as one does with large-scale art installations these days.

Also from the image of Marco Grassi, "The Hive" taken in Larung Gar, Tibet, depict a stunning change to the largest Buddhist settlement in the world. One side of the image shows a nearly barren field of demolished buildings, while the other side shows a thriving city.

Fig 02
"The Hive" by Marco Grassi. Photo Taken in Larung Gar, Tibet, using Canon 5D mark III. Courtesy: Chartered Institute of Building.

It’s the architectural manifestation of China’s policy toward Tibet–in 2016, Chinese officials began forcing evictions by literally ripping homes apart. In November 2016, the New York Times wrote that China is planning to reduce the 40,000-strong population of Larung Gar to 5,000. Here, buildings–and the lack thereof–are political.

Just as people pass through the built environment, coloring and shaping it with their politics and their beliefs, the human stories behind these architectural photographs burst through the surface.