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Edward Weston, Western Plaster Mill, Los Angeles, 1925, gelatin silver print. University of Michigan Museum of Art, Gift of The Morris and Beverly Baker Foundation, in memory of Morris D. Baker, a graduate of The University of Michigan, 2000/2.145

Picturing Buildings: Photographers and Architecture, 1855-1985

May 13, 2017 - August 13, 2017
The Jan and David Brandon Family Bridge

Picturing Buildings: Photographers and Architecture, 1855–1985

Featuring a selection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century photographs from the Museum’s collection, Picturing Buildings illuminates the enduring appeal of photographing architecture, from historic Turkish mosques and New York City skyscrapers, to industrial factories and intimate domestic interiors. Each of these visually and spatially complex sites provides photographers with representational challenges and endless opportunities to innovate. This exhibition explores how photographers working in a range of contexts—from travel photography and photojournalism to historical documentation and modern art—use architecture to develop pictorial strategies in their own medium. Through selective framing, dramatic perspectival distortion, and heightened contrasts between light and dark, photographers reinterpret their architectural subjects by focusing on the creative act of constructing a photograph. The resulting images reveal our surrounding built environment in new ways and highlight the intriguing transformation that takes place when the camera converts three dimensions into two.


Lead support for Picturing Buildings: Photographers and Architecture, 1855-1985 is provided by the University of Michigan Office of the Provost and the Herbert W. and Susan L. Johe Endowment.