Lines and light

McEwan Hall, Edinburgh

McEwan Hall, Edinburgh

Reflecting on why I love photographing architecture, I’ve decided that it’s the perfect marriage of lines and light that inspire me.  Fabulous architecture can be destroyed by dull imagery and conversely, boring architecture can come to life if the right shapes are found in the photographer’s frame.
Those who design places – be they architects, interior or landscape designers – know well that the interplay of line and light is the most important aesthetic for their buildings, interiors or public spaces and it’s an architectural photographer’s job to illustrate those ideas in images.
SSE Hydro stairs | by McAteer Photograph

SSE Hydro, October 2013

SSE Hydro stairs and corridor | by McAteer Photograph

SSE Hydro, October 2013

I have no favourite type of line – for me, the curve is as exciting as the straight line, as long it’s in harmony with everything else in the frame.  Curves give a sense of movement and add colour and calmness to a composition, verticals provide drama and height, horizontals help compose proportion and diagonals join an image together, providing visual depth to the picture.  Add the right light into the mix and the coupling can be consolidated into a memorable image in its own right, detached from the subject itself.

Interior of the Sir Duncan Rice Library at Aberdeen University | image by McAteer Photograph

Interior of the Sir Duncan Rice Library at Aberdeen University

Exterior details | The Riverside Museum | by McAteer Photograph

Exterior details, Riverside museum

Lines are everywhere, there is no getting away from them but they don’t necessarily immediately please – in architectural photography, it’s a case of exploring the best angles, heights and perspectives that will provide the best shot to embody the subject.  I think about the building, landscape or the interior and decide what it conveys such as strength, softness, dynamism etc and decide how I will best represent this in an image with the lines I can see through the camera. When converting a 3 dimensional space to a 2 dimensional image the lines can look very different.

Underneath the track, Emirates Arena | by McAteer Photograph

Underneath the track, Emirates Arena

Whisky cask room, the Macallan distillery | by McAteer Photograph

Whisky cask room

The time of day and time of year is all important for providing the right light in the relationship and in architectural photography that is of course heavily influenced by my nemesis: the weather.  It’s not always possible for a commercial architectural photographer to chose when to photograph a building but I always try to utilise light as part of the structure.  Photographing just as dusk falls or when the sun is rising are often my favourite times of the day for composing images.

Hinterland, NVA’s Angus Farquar, St Peter’s Seminary, Kilmahew | by McAteer Photograph

October 2014, SSE Hydro | by McAteer Photograph

October 2014

Radisson Red | by McAteer Photograph

Radisson Red

Red Sky Bar with a view of the SSE Hydro | by McAteer Photograph

Red Sky Bar with a view of the SSE Hydro