As one of the oldest cities in America, Boston exists as both an exciting destination and a history lesson at the same time. With architecture that dates back to the 17th century, such as The Paul Revere House, the story of the American Revolution exists deeply in the cobblestone streets and granite buildings that populate this city, earning it the nickname The Cradle of Liberty. Also dating back to this period is the Boston Common, America’s oldest park. In fact, if you were to take a walk through the historic and stunning Beacon Hill neighborhood that borders the Common, you’ll notice the doorways are literally shorter than those in modern buildings, reflecting the difference in the average human height between those times and today! As time went on, the Georgian architecture brought over by the British gave way to newer styles, most notably the Federalist, exemplified by the State House and in later centuries the futuristic Brutalist, which can be seen in Boston’s City Hall and much of the nearby business district. This captivating clash of time periods makes Boston architectural photography an exciting celebration of the old meeting the new.
At Wonderful Machine we define Architecture photography as primarily concerned with the inside or outside of a structure, more so than the furnishings or decor in or around it. It should demonstrate a high degree of technical proficiency including perspective control and the ability to handle mixed lighting. As you’ll see in the preciseness of their work, here are our seven best professionals in Boston architecture photography.
Bruce T. Martin began as a fine art photographer who documented, and in the process helped to save, endangered buildings by using his art to add them to the National Register of Historic Places. While many public and private collections have since featured his beautiful work, Bruce has become a highly sought-after photographer for leading architects and designers. Many publications have also featured his work, and this not only comes down to his skill but also the thoroughness with which he captures buildings. His exterior shots of a structure give the sense of majesty one may feel when standing before it in real life, while photographs of smaller details, such as entrances, reveal the inviting nature of a well-designed building. Bruce’s work brilliantly showcases the stylistic diversity of his home city, making countless contributions to Boston architecture photography, as well as many other locations in the US and Central America.
Selected clients: Ann Beha Architects, Architerra, Architectural Digest, Architectural Record, CBT Architects, Charles Rose Architects, Elkus Manfredi Architects, Handel Architects, I.D. Magazine, Kennedy & Violich Architecture+, New York Times, Schwartz/Silver Architects, Solomon+Bauer Architects, Steffian Bradley Architects.
Proving that an unconventional path can lead to a brilliant career, John Benford began by studying to become a minister, then shifted to spend a decade working with data systems in the corporate sector. Discovering his love for photography throughout this journey, John brings a rare depth and sense of awareness to his craft, often focusing on architecture and its relationship to the environment around it. His commercial architecture photography shows the hustle and bustle of a city like Boston by featuring active people thriving around the buildings he shoots, while his residential photography emphasizes how a home interacts with the land around it. In all of his work, you get an honest sense of being there. John’s philosophical approach to his art also extends beyond Boston architectural photography to many pro bono environmental and socially aware causes, including Boston Farms Community Land Trust, Building on Hope, and YouthBuild Boston.
Renowned worldwide for his photography, Steve Dunwell’s work is featured in countless books and publications as well as the Boston stock library. If one word would sum it up, the easiest would be: stunning. Steve takes the best angle to express the unique nature of every building he photographs, bringing the achievement in their design to the forefront. His aerial work is just as revered as his architectural, giving him the ability to show the dynamic intricacies of massive structures, such as cathedrals and skyscrapers. Yet his interior work is just as exhilarating, especially in his capturing of how people fill a vast space while maintaining clarity in showing the many details within its design. His utilization of natural light also adds to everything he does, using the daytime and evening alike to accentuate the character of the structures in front of him. His dedication extends to his being a part of the Boston Historic Commission and the creator of Back Bay Press, a publisher of books showcasing his outstanding work.
Bob O’Connor is a location photographer specializing in architecture and interior photography. His strength is in the diversity of how he approaches his subjects. Sometimes including a lifestyle edge, he often features people interacting within the interiors that he shoots, giving a sense of how a space can be inhabited and used. Yet, he also has a strong portfolio of Boston’s Brutalism architecture, focusing more on a stark black & white presentation of the city’s many examples of that style. With an emphasis on the world within and around the structures he shoots, Bob’s work is insightful towards the mood of how he presents a designer’s vision, giving a multifaceted view of the directions Boston architectural photography can go.
Selected Clients: Architectural Digest, Boston Magazine, Bloomberg, Design New England, London Telegraph, New York Times Magazine, Smith College, Technology Review, and The Wall Street Journal.
A 30-year veteran of professional photography, Richard Mandelkorn specializes in every kind of architecture: commercial, residential, landscape, and academic just to start the list. In fact, he has done over 100 projects for Architectural Digest alone, not to mention countless other publications worldwide. Working within the flow of the design wherever he shoots, Richard stages his images to allow the geometry and space of his subjects to speak for themselves. Every element of the structure, surrounding scenery, and lighting comes together to create the best representation of the hard and calculating work that goes into architecture, resulting in his work winning numerous awards for his clients.
Select clients include: La Biennale di Venezia, Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Architectural Record, Architecture, Interior Design, Graphis Photo Annual
From an early age, Todd Beltz found a love for photography, and as a professional, he brings that sense of wonder to every place he captures. Beginning his career in Singapore, Todd has shot projects in many different countries and now operates from Boston. It must be the youthful sense of adventure in his work that allows you to surf the curves of the structures he captures. All told, he brings something fantastical out of the ordinary, working in vibrant colors to take the viewer on a journey to the soul of the place he is shooting. Utilizing his formative experience of working in different countries and cultures, Todd brings a knowledge of what different styles of architecture can share in common. In the historical hodgepodge that can define the art of Boston architectural photography, here is a professional that understands how to make its diverse imagery flow with a sense of excitement.
With a start in filmmaking, Andy Ryan is a Boston native who may have the most telling backstory. In seeking a new step from film work, Andy worked as an assistant to the subcontractor tasked with researching and embarking on building a roadway beneath the city that would become what is now the infamous Big Dig. Because of his confidence behind the camera, Andy saw a need to document the processes of this monumental effort in urban planning, which would in turn serve as a visual link to the public. While the Big Dig didn’t exactly pan out as hoped for, Andy was already embracing professional photography as his vocation. The lessons he learned from this early period clearly serve his expertise in capturing the geometry, space, and dimension of a structure accurately and honestly. Yet, at the same time, as grandly and impressively as these often vast structures are in real life.
In a city as historically rich, yet compact and walkable as Boston, you can’t help but see different time periods and aesthetics as neighbors side-by-side. These seven professionals bring the readiness and ability worthy of the many faces of Boston architectural photography. And in viewing the diverse imagery each has documented this city, it’s all the easier to call it by its other name, The Hub of the Universe.
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