10 Photographers Who Helped Make Architects Famous

Architectural photography is one of the most beautiful types of art, and also my favourite.  Its goal is to capture the philosophy and essence of a building into a single image- not an easy task at all. However, when done correctly, it looks as if no effort was needed. The greatness of some of the most known buildings of the 20th century, was first brought to light by its photographers. This post is about them, the photographers who helped make architects famous and who helped us understand these buildings without ever having seen many of them.

My favourite is #4


Virginia Duran Blog- Amazing Architectural Photography- Annie Leibovitz- Nw York Times Building, Renzo Piano
1. Annie Leibovitz
New York Times Building 2007, by Renzo Piano
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Virginia Duran Blog- Amazing Architectural Photography- Balthazar Korab- TWA Terminal by Eero Saarinen
2. Balthazar Korab
TWA Terminal 1962, by Eero Saarinen
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Virginia Duran Blog- Amazing Architectural Photography- Lucien Hervé-Notre Dame du Haut- Le Corbusier
3. Lucien Hervé
Notre Dame du Haut 1954, by Le Corbusier
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Virginia Duran Blog- Amazing Architectural Photography-Ezra Stoller-John Hancock Tower by SOM
4. Ezra Stoller
John Hancock Tower 1969 by SOM
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Virginia Duran Blog- Amazing Architectural Photography- David Moore-Sydney Opera House by Jorn Utzon
5. David Moore
(1927 – 2003)
Sydney Opera House 1966, by Jørn Utzon
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Virginia Duran Blog- Amazing Architectural Photography- Erwin Blumenfeld- Eiffel Tower
6. Erwin Blumenfeld
(1897 – 1969)
Eiffel Tower 1889, by Gustave Eiffel
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Virginia Duran Blog- Amazing Architectural Photography- Julius Shulman- Stahl House (Case Study House #22 by Pierre Koenig
7. Julius Shulman
Stahl House (Case Study House #22),  by Pierre Koenig
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Virginia Duran Blog- Amazing Architectural Photography- Charles C Ebbets -Empire State Building 1931
8. Charles C. Ebbets
Rockefeller Center 1940, by Raymond Hood
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Virginia Duran Blog- Amazing Architectural Photography- J Lewis Hine -Framework of the Empire State Building 1931
9. Lewis Wickes Hine
Empire State Building 1931, by Shreve, Lamb and Harmon
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Virginia Duran Blog- Amazing Architectural Photography- Admiralty Arch and The Mall by Bedford Lemer
10. Bedford Lemer
Admiralty Arch 1912, by Sir Aston Webb
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25 Inspiring Architecture Instagram Feeds

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53 thoughts on “10 Photographers Who Helped Make Architects Famous

  1. I love these photos. 4 is a great one. A solitary worker up among the girders…I like 6 because it’s both dangerous and joyful, 7 because I’m partial to LA, and 8 because it amazes me how relaxed those men seem to be sitting out on that girder.


    • Many of these are really well known, such as #7 at the Case Study House. I love the one at Hancock Tower maybe because I’m familiar with it and I could picture myself up there… sitting on the girder haha! It must have been amazing to contemplate the view from that point. However, I am happy enough having a drink at the signature lounge 😀


    • Oops! Había copiado el de abajo. Ya está cambiado gracias 🙂
      Esa foto es un absoluto cliché, pero es muy buena. Si te cansas, ahora tienes otras 9 para elegir 😉


  2. I would replace Annie Leibovitz with Berenice Abbott. Leibovitz did some interesting portrait work for Rolling Stone in the late 60’s, but, in my opinion, her work since has been mostly self-promotional and lacking in artistic craftsmanship.


    • That’s a strong statement. I agree that her most interesting period was when she worked with the Rolling Stones, however, she has very artistic landscapes such as the Pilgrimage series. Some of the pictures in this collection are thought-provoking. On the other hand, I love Abbott’s work, and her photographs of New York. There are many contemporary architectural photographers who do a very good job too. Will have to write a part II of this post 🙂


      • Maybe I should take another look at A.L.’s work. For some reason I get this knee-jerk reaction when it comes to her work. It might have something to do with the way she screwed up her estate and legacy-losing the rights to her work to cover her debts. No artist should mis-manage things as she did. Thanks for taking the time to reply, Virginia. Blessings, Fred.


      • That was unfortunate of her but sometimes we make decissions that we wish we hadn’t. I guess she regrets doing so (maybe?). I understand that feeling, I hate Calatrava for a similar reason. However, he doesn’t seem to regret anything and keeps building deficient constructions. All the best, Virginia


    • Thanks for stopping by! I love #7 too. Couldn’t tell why exactly, but I feel included in the composition, as if I was a guest too. It looks like a lively capture of which I was part. One day I’ll visit this house 🙂


    • Al margen de que sea una de las imágenes más repetidas de la historia, la verdad es que es una fotaza. Hay más fotos de esa sesión pero esa le salió simplemente perfecta. Como la Mona Lisa me imagino 😉

      ps. Ya me contarás un día porqué tanta fascinación por ese cuadro.


      • Me encanta que me haga esa pregunta 🙂
        La supuesta fascinación está más relacionada con la fascinación que esta obra maestra produce en los demás, en tantos y tantos artistas (algunos realmente geniales).
        Y también con mi tendencia a iniciar colecciones o recopilaciones que no tienen fin.
        Por supuesto hay una componente de servicio a la comunidad, la de recopilar información e imágenes que ayuden a desarrollar el gusto por el Arte y la Cultura o que simplemente ayuden a su uso y disfrute. La excusa de las Giocondas es importante, es el meollo de la cuestión, pero en el fondo es lo de menos. Produce mucha satisfacción poder servir de plataforma para los que tienen algo que mostrar; pero también produce satisfacción ser la plataforma donde la audiencia descubre nuevos autores, nuevos enfoques, versiones inverosímiles o espectaculares réplicas.
        Existen muchos más pequeños motivos personales que me han empujado a dedicarle a esta ‘afición / obsesión / diversión / proyecto’ una parte de mi tiempo. Entre ellos, como no, un cierto afán de notoriedad 😀


  3. The collection is impeccable! It’s hard to pick a favourite. I think that the number 8 and 9 speak to me the most due to the juxtaposition of a common working class man and the vast and prosperous meccas of capitalism. I also love the picture by Blumenfeld!


    • Thanks for your kind words Adam! Number 8 and 9 are classics and they provide much more information besides the architecture as you mention! Got to love the one of Paris, to me it’s cheerful beyond the limits 🙂
      Kind regards, Virginia


  4. Great post and a personal passion of mine. Wow what a great selection of photographs. One of my favourites the workers on the beam of the Rockefeller skyscraper which was probably a publicity stunt but a very cool photo and one almost everybody knows. It is a real art to photograph buildings and capture there personality.


    • The workers on the beam of Rockefeller Center is a classic photograph. It’s been reproduced a million times to the point it can even be considered a cliché but the truth is that it’s simply amazing. Every time I see a construction nearby I try to sneak in and capture the essence of the building. Will have to post some of these that have caused me some issues with the building security haha!


    • Hello Jane, I love architectural photography too and there are some amazing contemporary photographers. Will have to do part II of this post! I didn’t know about this film about Julius Shulman. Do you recommend it?


  5. Pingback: Surreal Photography: Chema Madoz | Virginia Duran

  6. Great list! I am happy to discover a few photographers that I hadn’t heard of before and I can’t wait to check out their work.

    Architectural photography is something I love to do. But I have to say that one of my all time favourite architectural photographers is Balthazar Korab. He had certainly had a great eye for detail.

    Thank you for the new discoveries.


    • Balthazar Korab is one of my all time favs too! He has such an eye for detail and composition…love the TWA picture. So glad to hear you discovered new photographers on the other hand. Also, I’d love to discover others. If there’s one you like especially, let me know 🙂


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