Fotograf Magazine

Barthes: the punctum of architectural photography

Over the course of the twentieth century, architecture and photography have formed an inseparable pair, tied together in an ambivalent bond in which forces of both attraction and repulsion are at odds. The transition from the industrial to the information age, a defining feature of the past century, produced a tremendous proliferation of technologies for the transfer and mediation of information. Media creates a new reality; the reality of an image is not identical with the reality of what it represents. Reality and its image thus do not exist on the same level, yet the bond formed between them may run deeper and also reveal to us new layers of the reality that preceded the image. Various strategies for generating an image may reveal what had hitherto been hidden from sight, which only skims the surface. The relation between the photographic image and the model it reflects is therefore always perched on the edge: there is the potential of revealing something previously unknown, and at the same time the ever-present danger of banality. Photography of architecture may serve as a visual record, as the description of a building, the bearer of information regarding the building’s form, but can also be something more, which can deliver the uniqueness of a work of architecture, and congenially express its overall concept.

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#9 Architecture


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