| Christopher
chicago architectural photographer, photography, architecture, photographer, interior design, furniture
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Author: Christopher

For over a year now, I’ve been working on my flora series in the studio.  It’s continued along during the breaks between commercial work, and I’ve explored a number of different approaches.  The basic lighting setup I designed consisted of directional soft light.  I started with an overhead source that is typically a Kino Diva (lamped tungsten so that I could fill in with my other hot lights).

On the sides, I placed 4×4 diffusion frames.  Sometimes I let these just bounce in the overhead light.  Other times I added a Dedolight for a little more contrast along the edge.  More recently, I’ve played with swapping out the constant light sources with strobe.

After finding interesting compositions of the many varieties I choose to shoot, I generally did some pruning until the activity within the composition felt balanced to me.  The process becomes this cathartic dance between selection, pruning, composition and lighting.

One thing I love about working on the Arca Swiss camera platform is the modularity of the system.  I can easily switch from 35mm to medium format to large format, with very little change in perspective.

The digital set up consisted of a Sony A7r2 mounted on an Arca Swiss Mf2, using a variety of lenses.

This allowed me to shoot tethered into Capture 1 Pro.  While working in the software, I could easily experiment with composition and lighting, seeing the results right away on a 24″ monitor.  I could also use the C1P tools to check highlight and shadow information.  I then used this as a basis for my film exposures and my negs were coming out with very similar highlight and shadow levels.  Below you can also see before and after pruning.

Once I started playing with film capture, I went through various formats.  Here the camera is built for medium format and has a 6×9 roll film back attached.

The 4×5 set up.

More recently, I acquired the 8×10 F-Metric.

Seeing these images come into focus on an 8×10 groundglass is pure magic!

Here’s the resulting image, shot on Fuji Acros 100, developed in Kodak XTol on my Jobo CPP3 and scanned on the Howtek 4500 drum scanner.  I’m planning on making some silver gelatin contact prints next week.

I’ve created a new Instagram account just for this series.  You can follow along at www.instagram.com/cbarrettfloral/


Pertinent Links:

Rod Klukas for all things Arca

Jobo USA film and print processors

Fuji Acros is hard to find in 8×10 but you can order it from Japan here.

Howtek scanners haven’t been manufactured since the ’90s, but Aztek still supports them (yay!)

For a long time, I’ve wanted to explore various series of still life imagery.  The other day, as I was finishing up making some large prints at Latitude Chicago, I stopped by Sprout Home and picked up a few interesting flowers (and a thistle).

I’m starting off very simple, just an interesting specimen against black, monochromatic using 1 or 2 lights.  We’ll see where things go from here.


We recently had the assignment to document Herman Miller’s Design Yard for MSR.  The architects were submitting the building for an AIA 25 year award.  Our task was to complete a set of images comparable to the original photography of the project.  One of our biggest challenges were dealing with some of the beautiful trees that had grown in during the last 25 years that obscured many of the original views.

Here’s a new project that I was really excited to shoot.  It’s been a while since I’ve worked with Jaime Velez and the rest of the team over at Skidmore, and I was quite pleased to be selected for this assignment.  UI Labs  (as defined on their site) is a research and commercialization collaborative.  What does that mean?  They’re basically a bunch of really smart people making very cool stuff.  Their space is pretty cool too… just look.

We’ve just returned from a whirlwind trip to New York with Cannon Design.  Two 16 hour days of travel + shoot.  I’m still recovering.  We had fun, though and got some great  images of an exceptional space.  Photos to follow.  For now, here’s the sun setting behind Brooklyn.

Stefan Steib at HCam is kind of a genius.  The new Canon 11-24 zoom on his Tilt / Shift rig.

HCam Master TS 11-24mmLadies and Gentlemen – worlds first 11-24mm Shift and Tilt Systemover 130 degrees of Image…

Posted by HCam.de on Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I ordered the book, Shooting Space, from Phaidon a month or so ago.  The images within aren’t what you would find on an architect’s website or in any trade magazine but are tangential explorations of the genre.  This is something I continually find myself straddling in my own work (as shown in my previous posts).

The book includes a number of photographic series by artists such as Hélène Binet, Iwan Baan, Richard Wentworth, Thomas Struth, Annie Leibovitz, and Walter Niedermayr, though my favorite works were by Belgian Filip Dujardin.  The collection also includes thoughtful essays by Elias Redstone, Pedro Gadanho, and Kate Bush.  Not THAT Kate Bush.

Excerpts from Phaidon’s site:

For a few months now we’ve been working on a series of interviews with Chicago area architects in collaboration with Thesis, Inc.  Having worked with some of these individuals for many years, it was really wonderful to hear their varied insights into their practices.  Have a look at all of the completed interviews in the portfolio section, here.