In the Eyes of an Architecture Student: The Importance of Photography

Hi Everyone!

I’m back again this week to discuss this week’s topic: the importance of photography!

Yes, photography, as in the term corresponding to the Webster definition: “the art or practice of taking and processing photographs.”

In architecture, as you may have inferred from all of my previous posts, representation is VERY important. Representation makes or breaks our works’ proposal, and that is kind of a very big deal, even within the stages of education before a job in “the real world.” In architecture school, representation refers to everything (all types of media) you use to “sell” your work to your professor(s), and this includes the exact words you use to talk about the project, how perfectly orthogonally pinned up your work, how nice and stable your constructed models(s) are, and how sharp or effective your photographs are.

Even outside of classes, powerful photographs serve arguably more importance than how well you preserved your hand-drafted drawing(s) or even your original model(s). I say arguably because, when we apply to jobs and internships, the employers are likely to only have access to your work virtually- which makes photographs EXTRA important because that is their ONLY window into your skills and personality as a designer! Yes, employers want to see perfection and thoughtfulness in your work in the portfolio, but they also appreciate the honesty of sharpness of quality of photos- it’s a sort of stunning thing to see, even if you did Photoshop some blemishes or glue-globs out!

Photographs not only serve to simply document you work to show to employers, but also function as a very effective way to remember your work and (potentially) locate your improvements within your work. Of course, the sharper and better your image, the larger the file, but I cannot stress what pain it is to have to go back to old files only to realize I did not document the stuff well enough, and now it’s too late because my models may or may not be rotting in my basement now, very obviously not photo-worthy quality. So, in other words, after you make a model or ANYTHING (if you don’t think it’s worth remembering right now in this moment) it is safest to just check out a nice camera (Nikon, Canon, etc) and deal with a million AMAZING photos now, than to just use your phone (even that cannot compare to a really good camera) and take a few subpar images, only to realize the quality degrades each time you uploaded it to different platforms. The ideal process is as follows: make the model(s), get a good camera, yes spend time and get all angles of the stuff you’re documenting, and upload it straight to google drive for initial storage. But, I’d recommend you go through and eliminate to the images you’re going to keep, Photoshop them to the best of your abilities (or satisfaction, I guess), and save as a Tiff or PNG (or PDF if that’s an option). Fair warning though, Tiff files can get pretty big and jam up your memory, so I recommend saving as a Tiff without layers, or PNG to save memory.

Good luck to you all, happy documenting!

If you have any questions or further insight, comment! I love hearing from you all 🙂

Have a fun and safe Thanksgiving holiday break, everyone!

Ciao for now 🙂

“I Think Everything in Life is Art”

“I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How you’re writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art.” 

I came across this quote from Helena Bonham Carter for the first time last week. It’s quite enthralling. She uses the examples of everyday life, from the way you drink tea to what kind of food you make, and equates it to the importance of art in life. I love this quote a lot, because I can connect to it. When I sit down, excited to write my ArtsInk post every week, I’m so overwhelmed about the different ways I can talk about the art that is present in all our lives. It’s literally everywhere.

I know what you’re thinking. “Art can’t be simplified to the act of drinking tea or smiling at someone!” But, think about the way the steam swirls in the air, as warm Chamomile tea sits in a mug on your coffee table. A symbol of comfort, warmth, and being at home. A feeling of relaxation because your day was long, you talked a lot, maybe laughed a lot, and now you need to find solace in something soothing, something that can fill your belly with flavor. That is art. That is a moment in time that can easily be captured in a photograph, a painting, a video, but it’s so much better than any physical piece of art. It’s your own moment of symbolic peace.

“What about a smile? That’s something on your face, how can that be art? You’re smile can be crooked or small, no one can connect to a smile!” Well, my friend, think about it. Getting that happy smile from a stranger or someone you love can literally make or break a day. It’s the transfer of hope and kindness among humans. It’s a silent exchange that means so much when given to someone. We see smiles within physical art products as well, and we buy it and embrace it because it makes us feel a certain way. That same concept applies with smiling in real life.

Carter’s quote can be applied to any moment of our days when we’re feeling uninspired by the world. It’s a matter of looking closely and appreciating the beauty of everything, even a simple cup of tea.