Lecturing on architectural photography


It’s ten years now that I lecture classes on architectural photography in the masters courses in interior design in ELISAVA, the Barcelona school of design and engineeering.

I owe the opportunity to teach my first classes in this renowned college to my great friend, mentor and –last but not least– client Agustí Costa, one of the directors of the postgraduate course since its inception in 2004. He proposed me to gather and synthesize the ideas that we two use to work together when photographing his projects and to share them with our students .

My classes discuss the last necessary step of them all who make up the vital journey of the interior design projects our students will create as professionals in the future: the public communication of their architecture and interior design works through photographs.

GSX House  |  Agustí Costa  |  Berga, Barcelona

I can remember my first classes as very impressive experiences in that I could clearly feel the staring eyes of my students looking at me and as occasions where I had to slowly overcome my reluctance to speak in public. With each passing year, my reluctance became weaker and I think I finally managed to feel comfortable in classroom because, after all, I am lecturing a subject that truly fascinates me and because I think that my students can also perceive my passion.

In all these years since 2004 I have realized how my students –many of them architects– tend to always favor a documentary approach to architectural photography when they enter the course without considering that photographs can be part of a deliberate communication strategy that will actually benefit them professionally and not just simple documents that are maybe able to certify reality but that doesn’t interpret it.

Somehow, my task in these lectures is to vindicate for architectural photography its power to be an artistic object, a support conceived to strongly attract the viewer's attention and to convey the greeting message that starts the communication and the exchange of ideas.

That’s how I can clearly see every year that my students get caught by the images that show a more photographic nature, images that interpret and propose an intentional way of looking at architecture: the real sense of my classes works through this particular approach and I am glad that my students leave my classes knowing surely more about photography as an art and not that much about photography as a –let’s say …– forensic tool.

After all, the cameras that photographers use are instruments intended to play beautiful music and not tools with which to hammer nails.

David Cardelús