A few weeks ago I met architect Stephen Shoup of building Lab in San Francisco to photograph a new residential project. Stephen’s work has a very strong character that makes it instantly recognizable, but it also evolves over time, which is absolutely fascinating, and challenging, from a photographic standpoint.
For example, check out this stairwell:
And then compare it to this one I shot for Stephen back in 2013:
Natural wood, check. The thin metal rods that serve as a partial wall have morphed into high-tension wire, but the motif remains the same. Both stairwells have very strong graphical lines and both “make a statement” rather than receding into the background.
And this stairwell came with a little something extra…a playspace for the resident kid!
I could’ve spent the rest of the day doing nothing but composing shots on this structure, but we did have a few other things to shoot:
All in all, a fun day! More building Lab projects coming up, so don’t touch that dial!
A tremendous amount of lighting is being done to this stairwell in order to show the intent of the designer. The shadow pattern from the pendant lamp upstairs has been strengthened, and the stairs have been lit “from the inside out” in order to draw attention to the keyhole cutout and the strong graphic lines of the handrail and bars.
We’ve recently completed a two-day shoot in Marin County California with Building Lab, documenting a spectacular remodel of a mid-century modern residence. Building Lab manages to create crisp, clean, graphically compelling designs using traditional materials — emphasis on wood grain, metal, and glass. The staircase shown above is a classic example: it’s deceptively simple and clean, but further examination reveals a very careful and skilled design. Photos, write-up, and lighting notes, after the jump!
Ahh..life is good when two of my favorite things combine: a great architect and a great staircase! In this case the architecture is Miller Warnecke, the duo responsible for a lot of the handsome commercial art-deco buildings in my own neighborhood. They also designed many, many fabulous residences around Oakland. This house was very well kept up, and the renovations were in keeping with the overall feel of the place. All in all, a great house. This staircase is original, of course, and the woodwork had been carefully re-furbished. When I walked in the door, I knew this was the photo I wanted to make for myself!
Sometimes when I walk into a place, I’m strongly attracted to a particular area. Something has caught my eye, and my subconscious has kicked into high gear. I’ve found that if I pay attention to the cues, and spend some time exploring that area, there’s a photo I really want to make waiting for me. more (and photos) after the jump
If you follow my work, you’ll know that I have a staircase fetish. I just can’t stay away from them. To me, a good staircase is the richest subject around. They’re great metaphors, they’re visually stimulating, they lend themselves well to vertical shots, and they’re technically challenging to light.
But I guess it’s the symbolism that works for me best. Stairs take you places. You can go up, you can go down….there’s all this mystery about the upper level, or the lower level, depending on where you are when you shoot them.
So anyway, I shoot them at every opportunity. And today I thought I’d walk through the process of finding a composition, and then lighting it. keep reading after the jump