Posts Tagged ‘architecture photography


Exhibition: ‘Bill Cunningham: Facades’ at the New York Historical Society, New York

Exhibition dates: 14th March – 15th June 2014


Now this is more like it!

If you want fabulousness with flair, and a dash of savoir-faire; if you want architecture with fashion, history with panache, you need look no further. Camp, kitsch, OTT but with poise, aplomb, grace and sophistication – here is the artist for the job. Oh, what fun he and his muse Editta Sherman must have had with this project.

But behind it all is a damn good photographer, with a great eye for composition. Look at the hat, the building and the “attitude” of the hands in Guggenheim Museum (c. 1968-1976, below). This is how you make people smile and think (about the city, conservation and creativity), not with some overblown frippery like the photographs of Lagerfeld in the last posting.

It’s a pity the press images were initially so poor. I had to spend hours cleaning up the images they were so badly scratched to present them to you in a viewable state. Be that as it may, these are a joy, I love them…


Many thankx to the New York Historical Society for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.



Unknown artist. 'Bill Cunningham Photographing Three Models at New York County Court House' c. 1968-76


Unknown artist
Bill Cunningham Photographing Three Models at New York County Court House
c. 1968-76
Gelatin silver photograph
New-York Historical Society, Gift of Bill Cunningham


Bill Cunningham. 'Gothic bridge in Central Park (designed 1860)' c. 1968-1976


Bill Cunningham
Gothic bridge in Central Park (designed 1860)
c. 1968-1976
Gelatin silver photograph
New-York Historical Society, Gift of Bill Cunningham


Bill Cunningham. 'Editta Sherman on the Train to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden' c. 1972


Bill Cunningham
Editta Sherman on the Train to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
c. 1972
Gelatin silver photograph
New-York Historical Society, Gift of Bill Cunningham


Bill Cunningham. 'Guggenheim Museum (built 1959)' c. 1968-1976


Bill Cunningham
Guggenheim Museum (built 1959)
c. 1968-1976
Gelatin silver photograph
New-York Historical Society, Gift of Bill Cunningham



“This spring, the New-York Historical Society presents a special exhibition celebrating the creative intersection of fashion and architecture through the lens of a visionary photographer. Bill Cunningham: Facades, on view from March 14 through June 15, 2014, explores the legendary photographer’s project documenting the architectural riches and fashion history of New York City.

Beginning in 1968, Bill Cunningham scoured the city’s thrift stores, auctions and street fairs for vintage clothing and scouted architectural sites on his bicycle. The result was a photographic essay entitled Facades (completed in 1976), which paired models – most particularly his muse, fellow photographer Editta Sherman – posed in period costumes at historic New York settings.

Nearly four decades after Cunningham donated 88 gelatin silver prints from the series to the New-York Historical Society in 1976, approximately 80 original and enlarged images from this whimsical and bold work are being reconsidered in a special exhibition curated by Dr. Valerie Paley, New-York Historical Society Historian and Vice President for Scholarly Programs. The exhibition offers a unique perspective on both the city’s distant past and the particular time in which the images were created, examining Cunningham’s project as part of the larger cultural zeitgeist in late 1960s-70s New York City, an era when historic preservation and urban issues loomed large.

“We are thrilled to feature these important photographs by New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham, who captured an uncertain moment in our city’s history, when New York seemed on the brink of losing its place of privilege as a capital of the world. Cunningham’s vivid sense of New York’s illustrious past and his unfettered optimism about its future make the photographs among the most dramatic and important documentation of the city’s social history,” said Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society. “The exhibition is especially timely, as Mrs. Editta Sherman, Bill Cunningham’s muse for his project and the famed ‘duchess of Carnegie Hall,’ passed away last November 2013 at the age of 101. Mrs. Sherman’s indomitable spirit, humor and creativity are powerfully felt through the photographic images. We are gratified that many of her family members will be with us for our opening exhibition event.”

Over eight years, Bill Cunningham collected more than 500 outfits and photographed more than 1,800 locations for the Facades project, jotting down historical commentary on the versos of each print. The selection of 80 images on view evoke the exuberance of Cunningham and Sherman’s treasure hunt and their pride for the city they called home. Cunningham’s images are contextualized with reproductions of original architectural drawings from New-York Historical’s collection.

During the years that Cunningham worked on Facades, New York City was in a municipal financial crisis that wreaked havoc on daily existence, with crime, drugs, and garbage seemingly taking over the city. However, the 1970s also was an era of immense creativity, when artists and musicians experimented with new forms of expression. While Cunningham’s photographs offer an unsullied version of the tough cityscape during this chaotic time, his vision was part of a larger movement towards preserving the historic heritage of the built environment to improve the quality of urban life.

Most images in Facades feel timeless, such as Gothic Bridge (designed 1860), featuring Editta Sherman strolling through a windswept Central Park, framed by the wrought-iron curves of a classic bridge. However, at least one will offer a peek behind the scenes of the project. Cunningham and Sherman often traveled to locations by public transportation to avoid wrinkling the costumes, and Editta Sherman on the Train to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden (ca. 1972) captures the jarring juxtaposition of Sherman sitting primly in a graffiti-covered subway car.

Other exhibition highlights include Sherman dressed in a man’s Revolutionary War-era hat, powdered wig, overcoat and breeches at St. Paul’s Chapel and Churchyard (built ca. 1766-1796), the oldest surviving church in Manhattan, where George Washington worshipped. In Federal Hall (built ca. 1842), Cunningham paired the Parthenon-like architectural details of the building with a Grecian-style, 1910s pleated Fortuny gown. For Grand Central Terminal (built ca. 1903-1913), Cunningham drew on his millinery background to create a voluminous feathered hat that echoes the spirit of the “crown of the Terminal,” the ornate rooftop sculpture with monumental figures of Mercury, Minerva, and Hercules.

Bill Cunningham (born 1929) is a fashion photographer for the New York Times, known for his candid street photography. Cunningham moved to New York in 1948, initially working in advertising and soon striking out on his own to make hats under the name “William J.” After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he returned to New York and began writing for the Chicago Tribune. While working at the Tribune and Women’s Wear Daily, he began taking photographs of fashion on the streets of New York. The Times first published a group of his impromptu pictures in December 1978, which soon became a regular series. In 2008 Cunningham was awarded the title chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. He is the subject of the award-winning documentary film Bill Cunningham New York (2010). Bill Cunningham and Editta Sherman were neighbors in the Carnegie Hall Studios, a legendary artists’ residence atop the concert hall, for 60 years.”

Press release from the New York Historical Society website


Bill Cunningham. 'St. Paul’s Chapel and Churchyard (built c. 1766-96)' c. 1968-76


Bill Cunningham
St. Paul’s Chapel and Churchyard (built c. 1766-96)
c. 1968-76
Gelatin silver photograph
New-York Historical Society, Gift of Bill Cunningham


Bill Cunningham. 'Grand Central Terminal (built c. 1903-1913)' c. 1968-1976


Bill Cunningham
Grand Central Terminal (built c. 1903-1913)
c. 1968-1976
Gelatin silver photograph
New-York Historical Society, Gift of Bill Cunningham


Bill Cunningham. 'Federal Hall (built c. 1842, costume c. 1910)' c. 1968-1976


Bill Cunningham
Federal Hall (built c. 1842, costume c. 1910)
c. 1968-1976
Gelatin silver photograph
New-York Historical Society, Gift of Bill Cunningham


Bill Cunningham. 'Bowery Savings Bank (built c. 1920)' c. 1968-1976


Bill Cunningham
Bowery Savings Bank (built c. 1920)
c. 1968-1976
Gelatin silver photograph
New-York Historical Society, Gift of Bill Cunningham


Bill Cunningham. 'Club 21' (founded c. 1920s; costume c. 1940) c. 1968-1976


Bill Cunningham
Club 21 (founded c. 1920s; costume c. 1940)
c. 1968-1976
Gelatin silver photograph
New-York Historical Society, Gift of Bill Cunningham


Bill Cunningham. 'Associated Press Building at Rockefeller Center (built c. 1939)' c. 1968-1976


Bill Cunningham
Associated Press Building at Rockefeller Center (built c. 1939)
c. 1968-1976
Gelatin silver photograph
New-York Historical Society, Gift of Bill Cunningham


Bill Cunningham. 'Paris Theater (built 1947)' c. 1968-1976


Bill Cunningham
Paris Theater (built 1947)
c. 1968-1976
Gelatin silver photograph
New-York Historical Society, Gift of Bill Cunningham


Bill Cunningham. 'General Motors Building' c. 1968-1976


Bill Cunningham
General Motors Building
c. 1968-1976
Gelatin silver photograph
New-York Historical Society, Gift of Bill Cunningham



The New York Historical Society

170 Central Park West
at Richard Gilder Way (77th Street)

T: (212) 873-3400

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Thursday 10 am – 6 pm
Friday 10 am – 8 pm
Saturday 10 am – 6 pm
Sunday 11 am – 5 pm

The New York Historical Society


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Exhibition: ‘Concrete – Photography and Architecture’ at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich

Exhibition dates: 2nd March – 20th May 2013


When creating this blog, so much of my time is spent cleaning up clearly inadequate media images, an example of which can be seen below. I have become very adept at this process and my thoughts are this: would you want to be the artist whose work is displayed to the public in a remarkably decomposed manner, one not up to a standard of any artist who cares about their prints and reputation? I certainly would not. It is a wonder to me that museums and galleries spend thousands of dollars staging exhibitions and producing costly catalogues and yet cannot spend a tiny proportion of time, money and care on their media images to promote artist and said exhibition. I had to spend a lot of time on over half of these images to bring them up to presentable standard.

Having said that, there are some cracking photographs in this posting. The Sugimoto is sublime, Walker Evans so muscular, Lucien Hervé a masterpiece of light and texture, and Moriz Nähr a symphony of light and tone, to name but a few. I hope you enjoy all the effort it takes to bring these images to you.


Many thankx to the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.





Moriz Nähr

Stiegenhaus im Haus Stonborough-Wittgenstein [Staircase in the house Stonborough-Wittgenstein] (composite)


 'Hardstrasse with Hardbrücke in construction' 1972


Hardstrasse with Hardbrücke in construction
Gelatin-silver print
8,8 x 12,6 cm
Baugeschichtliches Archiv der Stadt Zürich


Michael Wesely.
 'Canadian Embassy, Leipziger Platz, Berlin (5.2.2003 – 28.4.2005)' 


Michael Wesely
Canadian Embassy, Leipziger Platz, Berlin (5.2.2003 – 28.4.2005)

125 x 175 cm
Galerie Fahnemann, Berlin
© Michael Wesely/Courtesy Galerie Fahnemann


William Henry Fox Talbot
. 'The Bridge of Sighs, St. John’s College, 
Cambridge' 1845


William Henry Fox Talbot
The Bridge of Sighs, St. John’s College, 
Salt print from calotype negative
16.4 x 20.6 cm
Museum Folkwang Essen




Charles Marville
24, Rue Bièvre, Paris
Albumin print
27.4 x 36.6 cm
Collection Thomas Walther


Lucien Hervé.
 'Le Corbusier: Façade of the Secretariat Building, Chandigarh, 1961' 1961


Lucien Hervé
Le Corbusier: Façade of the Secretariat Building, Chandigarh, 1961
Gelatin-silver print
25.5 x 25.4 cm
Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal
© Estate Lucien Hervé


F.C. Gundlach.
 '"Op Art" bathing suit by Sinz, Vouliagmeni/Greece' 1966


F.C. Gundlach
“Op Art” bathing suit by Sinz, Vouliagmeni/Greece
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 50 cm
F.C. Gundlach, Hamburg
© F.C. Gundlach


Laurence Bonvin.
 'Blikkiesdorp, Cape Town, South Africa' 2009


Laurence Bonvin
Blikkiesdorp, Cape Town, South Africa
40 x 50 cm
Courtesy the artist
© Laurence Bonvin



“Architectures and cities are both volumes and images alike. We experience them directly, physically and sensually, as well as through pictures. Pictures speak a language of their own. They offer a discourse that is quite unlike the physical experience of architecture. They transform volume into surface; distil matter into forms and signs – rarely, if ever, leaving it as it is. That is probably why so many architects try to get involved in determining the image of their buildings. Concrete – Photography and Architecture seeks to approach the singular and complex relationship between architecture and photography in light-hearted, narrative and dialectical ways. The exhibition explores issues of history and ideology, as well as the specifics of form and material, in the photographic image.

The visual appeal of destroyed or dilapidated buildings is also addressed, as are their powerful demonstrations of power and exclusivity, fragility and beauty. To what extent does photography influence not only the way architecture is perceived, but also the way it is designed? How does an image bring architecture to life, and at what point does it become uncanny? How do settlements develop into cities? Or, in sociological terms: how do work and life interconnect differently in, say, Zurich and Winterthur, as opposed to, say, Calcutta? And how do skyscrapers and living spaces translate into the flat, two-dimensional world of photography?

Concrete – Photography and Architecture is not, however, chronologically arranged. Instead, it is based on compelling positions, counterpositions and thematic fields that connect various concrete, fundamental and historical aspects. Alongside everyday buildings and prestigious architecture, structured by horizontal and vertical axes, alongside homes and houses, utopian fantasies, design and reality, an important aspect of the exhibition is the compelling appeal of architectural decay due to the passage of time, through both natural and deliberate destruction. It is almost as though photography were providing a moral reminder even such magnificence and presence, whether hewn in stone or cast in concrete, has its weaknesses too.

Architecture has always been an important platform for the frequently heated discussion of ideas and views, zeitgeist and weltanschauung, everyday life and aesthetics. Architecture is the bold materialisation of private and public visions, functionality and avant-garde art alike. It is, as Slavoj Žižek puts it, ideology in stone. Photography and architecture both play an undisputed role in our everyday lives. They confront us on a daily basis, often without our even noticing, and they influence how we think, act and live in subliminal and lasting ways. Concrete – Photography and Architecture provides visual answers to the question of what it is that makes up the intimate yet complex relationship between architecture and photography, architect and photographer.

The exhibition presents more than 400 photographs and groups of works from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including William Henry Fox Talbot, Domenico Bresolin and Charles Marville as well as Germaine Krull, Lucia Moholy and Julius Shulman, and spanning an arc to contemporary works by Georg Aerni, Iwan Baan, Luisa Lambri and Hiroshi Sugimoto. Projects such as the long-term observations of Schlieren photography or Wolfgang Scheppe’s Migropolis show how the art of photography is playing an increasingly important role as an instrument of research and knowledge. The exhibition is accompanied by a lavishly illustrated book published by Scheidegger & Spiess, with some 300 colour and black-and-white pictures, essays by Jochen Becker, Johannes Binotto, Verena Huber Nievergelt, Michael Jakob, Nicoletta Leonardi, Lorenzo Rocha, Caspar Schärer, Aveek Sen and Urs Stahel as well as a conversation with Annette Gigon, Meret Ernst and Armin Linke.”

Press release from the Fotomuseum Winterthur website.


Guido Guidi. '#1176 01 29 1997 3:30PM Looking Southeast' From 'Carlo Scarpa's Tomba Brion' 


Guido Guidi
#1176 01 29 1997 3:30PM Looking Southeast
From Carlo Scarpa’s Tomba Brion
19,5 x 24,6 cm
Courtesy the artist
© Guido Guidi


Tobias Zielony.
 'Le Vele di Scampia' 2009


Tobias Zielony
Le Vele di Scampia
Blu Ray photoanimation
8.57 min
Courtesy Koch Oberhuber Wolff, Berlin
© Tobias Zielony/ KOW


Hiroshi Sugimoto.
 'Seagram Building, New York City' 1997


Hiroshi Sugimoto
Seagram Building, New York City
Gelatin-silver print
58,4 x 47 cm
Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal
© Hiroshi Sugimoto/Courtesy of Gallery Koyanagi Tokyo


Aage Strüwing.
 'Arne Jacobsen: Rødovre Town Hall' 1955


Aage Strüwing
Arne Jacobsen: Rødovre Town Hall
Gelatin-silver print
23,7 x 17 cm
EPFL Archives de la construction moderne, Lausanne
© Estate Strüwing


Moriz Nähr. '
Stiegenhaus im Haus Stonborough-Wittgenstein' 1928


Moriz Nähr

Stiegenhaus im Haus Stonborough-Wittgenstein [Staircase in the house Stonborough-Wittgenstein]
13.8 x 8.9 cm
Albertina, Wien
© Estate Moriz Nähr



Haus Wittgenstein, also known as the Stonborough House and the Wittgenstein House) is a house in the modernist style designed and built on the Kundmanngasse, Vienna, by the Austrian architect Paul Engelmannand the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

In November 1925, Wittgenstein’s sister Margaret Stonborough-Wittgenstein commissioned Engelmann to design and build a large townhouse. Margaret also invited her brother to help with the design in part to distract him from an incident that had happened while he had been a primary school teacher: he had hit a boy for getting an answer wrong and the boy had collapsed. The architect was Paul Engelmann, someone Wittgenstein had come to know while training to be an Artillery Officer in Olmutz. Engelmann designed a spare modernist house after the style of Adolf Loos: three rectangular blocks. Wittgenstein showed a great interest in the project and in Engelmann’s plans and poured himself into the project for over two years. He focused on the windows, doors, door knobs, and radiators, demanding that every detail be exactly as he specified, to the point where everyone involved in the project was exhausted. One of the architects, Jacques Groag, wrote in a letter: “I come home very depressed with a headache after a day of the worst quarrels, disputes, vexations, and this happens often. Mostly between me and Wittgenstein.” When the house was nearly finished he had a ceiling raised 30mm so the room had the exact proportions he wanted.

Waugh writes that Margaret eventually refused to pay for the changes Wittgenstein kept demanding, so he bought himself a lottery ticket in the hope of paying for things that way. It took him a year to design the door handles, and another to design the radiators. Each window was covered by a metal screen that weighed 150 kg, moved by a pulley Wittgenstein designed. Bernhard Leitner, author of The Architecture of Ludwig Wittgenstein, said of it that there is barely anything comparable in the history of interior design: “It is as ingenious as it is expensive. A metal curtain that could be lowered into the floor.”

The house was finished by December 1928, and the family gathered there that Christmas to celebrate its completion. Describing the work, Ludwig’s eldest sister, Hermine, wrote: “Even though I admired the house very much, I always knew that I neither wanted to, nor could, live in it myself. It seemed indeed to be much more a dwelling for the gods than for a small mortal like me”. Paul Wittgenstein, Ludwig’s brother, disliked it, and when Margaret’s nephew came to sell it, he reportedly did so on the grounds that she had never liked it either. Wittgenstein himself found the house too austere, saying it had good manners, but no primordial life or health. He nevertheless seemed committed to the idea of becoming an architect: the Vienna City Directory listed him as “Dr Ludwig Wittgenstein, occupation: architect” between 1933 and 1938. 

After World War II, the house became a barracks and stables for Russian soldiers. It was owned by Thomas Stonborough, son of Margaret until 1968 when it was sold to a developer for demolition. For two years after this the house was under threat of demolition. The Vienna Landmark Commission saved it – after a campaign by Bernhard Leitner – and made it a national monument in 1971, and since 1975 it has housed the cultural department of the Bulgarian Embassy.

(Text from Wikipedia)


Lala Aufsberg.
 'Cathedral of Light' c. 1937


Lala Aufsberg
Cathedral of Light
c. 1937
Gelatin-silver print
24 x 18 cm
Town Archive Nuremberg
© Photo Marburg



Lala Aufsberg (actually, Ida Louise Aufsberg, born 26 February 1907 in Sonthofen, May 18, 1976 ibid) was a well-known art photographer. After attending primary school and six years of school for Higher daughters in Immenstadt she began training for the 1932 photo dealer in Oberstdorf. After completion of the training Lala Aufsberg moved to Nuremberg, where she worked in the photographers’ studios of Seitz and Rosemary. In 1931 she joined the photo club of friends of photography in Nuremberg.

From April 1938 Lala Aufsberg attended the State School of Applied Arts and Crafts in Weimar, Department Lichtbildnerei at Walter Hege. In July 1938, she passed the exam for the master photographer’s craft, and in the same year returned to Sonthofen and opened a photographic studio. In the years 1937 and 1938 she documented the Nazi Party rallies in Nuremberg (see above photograph). She received her first artistic job in the years 1941-1942, in which she photographed the murals in churches and monasteries in Carinthia and Styria. Owned by the University of Marburg “German documentation center for art history” – Bildarchiv Foto Marburg (listed in UNESCO Archives Portal) acquired 1976/1977 and 1996, the Lala-Aufsberg archive with about 46,000 art history, black and white negatives in sizes 6×6 and 9×12 and 103,000 photos.


Walker Evans. 
'Chrysler Building under construction, New York' 1929


Walker Evans

Chrysler Building under construction, New York
Gelatin-silver print
16.8 x 8.3 cm
Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art



Fotomuseum Winterthur
Grüzenstrasse 44 + 45
Winterthur (Zürich)

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 11 am – 6 pm
Wednesday 11 am – 8 pm
Closed on Mondays

Fotomuseum Winterthur website


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Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Études’ 1994

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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