18 spectacular photographs were recognised at the 2019 Architectural Photography Awards celebrated by the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles Chapter.
The awards were founded as a “celebration of the use of architecture as a subject to make art, rather than a photograph as a documentational tool.” Recognising those driven to communicate the works of architects, the awards “celebrate the photographer’s eye, skill, and talent in expressing the transcendent nature of space.”
“Most images, 452, in total were darn-good to extraordinary,” observed 2019 AIA|LA APA juror, architect Michael B. Lehrer, FAIA.
The 2019 winning entries continue the APA’s celebration of the use of architecture as a subject to make art, rather than a photograph as a documentational tool. Whether Luis Ayala, AIA’s, monochromatic patterned-parking lot— “It’s not quite Rothko, it’s not quite Kline, it’s not quite Diebenkorn, but it’s familiar as an abstract piece” noted the jury—or Saide Serne’s almost extraterrestrial take on the interior of the Broad Museum: a couple ascending a tunnel through an escalator. “We’re all familiar with this building, but without that context it’s just this image of people entering into the unknown,” said Laure Joliet, the architectural photographer and the third 2019 jury member. “I think that’s something we can all relate to. It has a visceral effect which is again, what architecture can bring.”
HONOURS AWARD WINNERS:
Jury Notes: “This is a traditional, classical, iconic building – and if not the building, certainly the image of it. | The huge, gold structure cantilevered out looks almost dangerously powerful as if it’s going to crush a small child who is kneeling beneath it. That creates a lot of visual interest and helps tell a big story about the power of architecture. | So often when you see an important building like this, it’s flattened in the landscape – this really exaggerates the cantilever, makes you feel the grandiosity… and gives you a sense of awe.”
Jury Notes: “Architecture is so much about context, and this photograph truly captures that. | This photographer, by design or by chance, caught a shaft of light between buildings, illuminating a very surreal structure – or at least it appears surreal compared to its neighbors on the street front. | The svelte, suave curves, the lightness, the purity of it versus the dark, but not threatening, traditional urban context. Poetics and composition are really beautiful. | It’s a wonderfully evocative dream image.”
Jury Notes: “This photograph derives power from its abstraction. There are some very rigorous compositional effects here. It’s a painting, as a photograph. | You understand so intimately what this space is, but here it’s presented in this new way that really makes you look. You see the tire marks, you see the way that we park in clusters, it really brings humanity to something that could feel really stark. | It is a very rich, pure, abstract, and human image. Parking lots should look and feel so good when you are in them as they do from this angle.“
Jury Notes: “Some photographs have a totemic quality: you just stare at them and you begin to meditate. This is one of those images. Is it the building or is it the photograph? Well, it’s both. | Framed by the sky, this abstract, minimal piece is incredibly engaging. It’s an object against space, but it could be an object on another field– it’s almost like a door, a window, or a gateway. | It draws the eye in. Looking up and down the color keeps the movement in the space. The photographer was very smart with how they composed to make it all sing.“
Jury Notes: “Not all photographs are narratives or have narrative qualities – this one does. It almost looks like a scene from a film. It seems to tell a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. | There is a big idea here which is that architecture and people are a unity, a singularity, which isn’t always the case in architectural photography. | We’re not seeing the entire building, we’re getting information about the weathered wood, the woman praying, the prayers that are hung up, such a sense of place without having to be shown everything.”
Jury Notes: “This is a very intriguing photograph taken at The Broad, a shrine to contemporary art. We are truly in the belly of the beast. | It captures what is the most wonderous and a little threatening or scary about this particular ascent. | Without that context, it’s this image of people entering into the unknown- and I think that’s something we can all relate to, a visceral effect which is what architecture can bring. It isn’t about something being beautiful, it’s about a place that you go, in your mind, and physically in space.
CITATION AWARD WINNERS