Photography as an agent of architectural proposition and provocation

Nat Chard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


The advent of photography provided scientists with new tools to reveal aspects of the physical world that had not been perceived before. Photography provided a degree of veracity that suited scientific inquiry and this authority also made photography the medium of choice for proposing speculative phenomena such as phantasms. Since at least Leonardo, painters have adjusted the picture plane to make their paintings appear more true to life. In natural history dioramas the painted surface is curved to engage our peripheral vision. The chapter discusses the potential of photography as a propositional medium for architects and describes a set of cameras built by the author to replicate the projective geometry of one of James Perry Wilson’s dioramas at the Yale Peabody Museum. Learning from these cameras, the author builds a drawing instrument that has a folding picture plane (that registers photographically) to allow the person drawing with it to appropriate projected material (a physical model also by the author). The aim of this work is to use photography as a propositional medium to discuss indeterminate conditions in architecture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCamera constructs: photography, architecture and the modern city
EditorsAndrew Higgott, Wray Timothy
Place of PublicationBurlington
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781409421450
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


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