Architectural Theory and History: Orientations- Photography/Framing

Strategy/Techniques used to depict an area around UTS:

  • A contemporary building with an expressive massing thanks to the use of shadows and lights.

Who is Ezra Stoller? He is just one of the greatest Modern Architectural Photographer who focuses on the use of light and shadows giving each photographs simple, clean yet elegant finish. He had a vision only he can picture and produce in one frame.

He photographed buildings of different sizes inside and out, including commercial, technical and manufacturing facilities conveying them from three-dimensional piece of architecture into two-dimensional medium showing the good use of shadows and light. He used space very effectively in narrating each visuals. Who knew such simple black and white photographs can impact me and others to want to learn and know more about his work. Some of my favourite photographs from him are shown:

Manufacturers Trust, New York NY ( figure 1 )
Seagrams Building, New York NY ( figure 2 )
Philip Morris Research Building, Richmond VA ( figure 3 )

Trying to copy and replicate Ezra Stoller’s work is putting his work into shame but I tried my best to give tribute to his genius work. When I was given this assignment, I had no idea which technique and strategy to use. I was feeling concerned that I might not able to produce anything.

As I was walking home after class I stumbled upon this white coloured building. It was a beauty. I never felt amazed on a building like this before. I may sound exaggerating but during that moment I was in awe. The way the lights hit the building and how the shadows envelopes each corner of the building is so mesmerising that It made me pause for a moment and realise this is the building I want to talk about.

I have always walk past this building during the day time but it never really caught my attention like it did that night. It has a similar feeling as Ezra’s photograph of the “Manufacturers Trust” building shown above (figure 1). Capturing the moment when the lights turn on and will only be able to capture that during the night is similar to his photograph during a rainy day infront of the “Manufacturers trust” building where he captures the reflection of the building (figure 1) together with it.

On my last photograph (figure 7), I took a photo of the Blue Building and its surrounding buildings. Taking it in black and white shows how dark and light the shadows are around the buildings and makes us concentrate more with the architectural design and not it’s colours.

Ezra Stoller’s use of light and shadow has greatly influenced on how I must take this photographs. We can see a contrast of light and dark, and also a good use of gradient from dark to light in my first photograph (figure 4). Shadows gives us a three dimensional view even though we are staring at a two dimensional media.

Right side of the white building (figure 4)
Front view of the White building (figure 5)
Left view of the White Building (figure 6)
Blue Building and the surrounding buildings, Hay Market (figure 7)


  • Richard, C (2012), “Recording Modernism: The work of Ezra Stoller”
  • Shaunacy, F (2014), “The Best Of Erza Stoller, Modern Architecture’s Master Photographer”