SAH 68th Annual Conference. Chicago 2015


SAH 68th Annual Conference. Session on Photography and Architecture


In the digital era, photography’s relationship with architecture, once thought stable and predictable, has become more complex, varied and mutable.  What had seemed a fixed, linear relation between building and image is now a complex web.  Photography tends to gather or cluster around events and places in a composite way. There is no expectation of a direct correlation between event and image, no ‘indexical’ relationship, and perhaps no iconic representation. Instead there is a cloud of approximations and fragments, often ‘unauthored’.

Taking as its point of departure the transformed and expanded relationship between photography and architecture, this session explores whether the digital era has really produced a paradigm shift, or if the scope of photography’s engagement of architecture has always been more broad and diverse than previous orthodoxies have supposed? Will these contemporary approaches and techniques offer new frames of reference for recasting and re-examining earlier encounters between photography and architecture?

To what ends are ‘after analog’ species of architectural photography being put in visualizing new designs and revisiting existing buildings?  Does the close correlation previously assumed between subject and photographic image have any continuing validity in this context? How might concepts from photographic theory and practice such as ‘late photography’ inform our understanding of photographic depictions of built space? In what ways?  Will images taken with iPhones and Google Glasses by amateurs find their way into our designs, research, archives, and online resources such as SAHARA?

Papers may deal with any period and any setting, but should open up new perspectives and propose new frameworks for understanding. The session aims to open a renewed dialogue between photography and architecture, informed by contemporary issues, practices, and technologies offering an enriched historical understanding.

Session chairs:  Hugh Campbell, University College Dublin;; and Mary N. Woods, Cornell University;

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