Architectural Photography of Past Monuments

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    3 of 1000 DOCUMENTS

    The Pioneer (India)

    August 19, 2014 Tuesday Architectural photography of past monuments of vital importance LENGTH: 1165 words DATELINE: India

    India, Aug. 19 -- The World Photography Day is all about celebrating photography. It marks the 175th anniversary of the first permanent photographic process patented and freely released to the world on August 19, 1839. The day is cele-brated on August 19 because that was the day the French Government allowed the daguerreotype process to be known to the world. The process had been invented by Joseph Nicephore Niepce and Louis Daguerre which was verified and approved by the French Academy of Sciences, which dubbed the ability to capture an image using a camera onto a light sensitive silver iodide plate as the Daguerreotype Process.

    The day is dedicated to honour the artists who are in pursuit of immortalising those precious moments that seem to pass us by in a minute. This year, the day is encouraging businesses, organisations and social groups to influence the power of photography by engaging their communities as part of a global photography celebration.

    Photography itself can have a powerful effect on architecture, not only as a means of record but through its communi-cative power that can be an aesthetic force for change or influence. From the very earliest days of its invention, the pho-tographic medium has a particular resonance with architectural subject matters. The relationship was to some extent born of necessity, buildings being one of the few subjects that would withstand long exposures, but the affinity goes much deeper. Photography is also fundamental in shaping our understanding of the contemporary architectural design practices.

    The meaning of architecture is to be found in the expressive detailing of a structure, and is communicated to the view-er. Photographs extend the range of human vision and communicate aesthetic and symbolic qualities in architecture. Architecture is one of the most appreciated art forms that date back to the time before the pyramids were erected. It took many forms; even the simplest geometrical lines were considered architecture. As the years went on, more com-plex creations were introduced to the world. Today, each work of architecture depicts more than just a design; each work carries an identity, distinct characteristics and meaning.

    Architectural photography is commonly described as the form of photography that uses buildings and other structures as subjects. It has many classifications, but the two most common and simplest types are Interior and Exterior Architec-tural Photography. Different types of photographs are captured in such a manner that define space and allow commu-nication through aesthetic ideals that take on social, philosophical or religious meaning.

    Architecture and photography concretise moments of beauty and provide visual expressions for existing and new ideas. An exterior architectural photographer prefers scenes with good landscaping around a building. The main aim of an exterior architectural photographer is to invite interest and curiosity among viewers. In this architectural photog-raphy, the most important element is space. This is why those taking interior and exterior shots of buildings and mon-uments use wide-angle lens. They'll be better able to capture the complete picture, including the aesthetic elements. This greatly helps in establishing the focus and highlighting the character of a space or structure. An architectural photogra-pher's techniques also help produce photos that add more dimension, life and meaning into an architectural creation. For instance, while many people can recall what the Taj Mahal, Lotus Temple, Kutab Minar, Gol Gumbaz, etc., look alike, most have never been to these places. A series of photographic depictions of such architecture construct a physical and spatial mental image of space.

  • Page 2 Architectural photography of past monuments of vital importance The Pioneer (India) August 19, 2014 Tuesday

    Photography provides a powerful way for architecture to be appreciated from a distance. Besides, architectural photo-graphs enliven the memories of contemporary past. Many of the photographs from Odisha are available with the Ar-chaeological Survey of India. These were captured by different tourists in the past. However, the structures are de-stroyed with the passage of time.

    In the 1850s, Edouard-Denis Baldus, Hippolyte Bayard, Henri Le Secq, and Gustave Le Gray were commissioned by the French Government to photograph historic buildings before they were destroyed during Haussmann's renovations of Paris. There have been countless others who have contributed to this documentation of our environment, both built and natural.

    Odisha is quite rich in its heritage and houses many remarkable monuments of ancient times. Some exist in ruins and many are totally destroyed. The photograph of this article is the representation of a massive two-storied gateway in Bhubaneswar. This is from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections taken by William Henry Cornish in 1892. Bhubaneswar has many Hindu temples built between the Seventh and the Thirteenth Centuries in the Odishan variant of the Nagara or Northern Indian style of architecture. These temples normally comprise a sanctuary covered by a tall curvilinear tower divided into horizontal bands and capped by an Amalaka and a pot finial. The square Mandap or hall has a pyramidal roof. Most temples of Bhubaneswar are grouped around the Bindu Sagar, the tank in the middle of the ancient town. This view shows a ruined unidentified gateway. This photograph is also available in the British Library. Such photographs have been shared by all. However when photography didn't exist, those precious monuments could-n't be captured.

    This clearly indicates that historical research and analysis is supported by photographic records. Analytical studies are necessary to ascertain all the features of the edifice, including those which were not executed and those left unfinished and those were destroyed. Geometric diagrams indicating modules or proportional systems and indications of design techniques are also of the greatest interest. Old drawings and photographs may give a lot of information about the past art forms.

    Irregularities of shape and outline and damaged parts can be seen more clearly on photographs than by any other means, hence vital for the purpose of documentation. Photographs also have many uses for publicity purposes in raising funds for preservation of cultural property. Many historic monuments have been destroyed in warfare or by earthquake or oth-er disasters. As an insurance against such events, full photographic records are advisable.

    Photographs can revive the contemporary art and architecture of different monuments and structures which do not ex-ist now. Their documentation will help study and research more on the contemporary art and architecture of our State.

    (Dr Mayarani Praharaj works in the Department of Architecture, College of Engineering and Technology, Bhubanes-war)

    Published by HT Syndication with permission from Pioneer. For any query with respect to this article or any other con-tent requirement, please contact Editor at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com LOAD-DATE: August 18, 2014 LANGUAGE: ENGLISH PUBLICATION-TYPE: Newspaper

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