Soul Mates

A current exhibition looks at the long and fascinating relationship between architecture and photography.

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Since photography’s invention in 1839, it has played an integral role in representing architecture, quickly surpassing drawing as the preferred artistic medium for recording and representation. A new exhibition, In Focus: Architecture, on view until March 2, 2014 at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, traces the interdependent relationship between architecture and photography through a selection of 24 works from the museum’s permanent collection. “The idea for the show is to reveal how representations of architecture in photographs have evolved over time,” says Amanda Maddox, assistant curator at the museum, who selected the images for the show.  “The photographs tend to reflect what’s going on more broadly in the world.” We asked Maddox  to comment on a selection of works from the exhibition that demonstrate how architectural photography has grown from the documentary-style images of its early days, to the more experimental shots in recent times. 

The Panthéon, Paris, 1924

Gelatin silver chloride print on printing-out paper, Eugène Atget, French

Courtesy the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

“The atmosphere and the ambiance of the scene he’s created evokes old Paris,” Maddox says, “even though it was made in 1924, in an area of Paris that had been modernized during the 1850s to accommodate traffic.” Atget didn’t develop an interest in recording Parisian monuments, such as the Pantheón, until late in his career. 

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