From the moment we started designing buildings in the 1970s, architecture photographers have been a vital part of the visual arts.
They are one of the most visible and enduring ways that art is presented, and in some ways they’re still relevant.
But as architects and landscape photographers increasingly face extinction, they are facing a dilemma: What do they do with their work now?
In 2017, landscape and architectural photography won the American Society of Architects’ Best Design in a Public Place Award, but the landscape photographer’s future was in doubt.
It was widely reported that landscape and architecture photographers were being laid off.
But it wasn’t until a year later, when an architect from the Boston architecture firm CIFOROMS was featured on the cover of Time magazine, that the landscape photography community began to rebuild its reputation.
In a new book, The Rise of the Architectural Photography Profession, photographer/landscape photographer, and author Daniel Stoberstein chronicles the first 10 years of this resurgence, documenting how landscape photographers have managed to preserve the art and craft that has made them so important.
As Stoberste puts it, “I thought I had lost all hope of ever getting back into the business.”
And so the landscape photographers were left with only one choice: find a new profession.
“For many, this was a very difficult decision,” he writes.
“I wanted to help people who had lost their jobs or were just about to lose their jobs.”
“For me, it was about preserving the image of the landscape as the primary source of architecture design, and I found a way to do that.”
To find out how they did it, I called Stoberfield to talk about his journey and what’s ahead for the landscape photojournalist.
“I came to Boston as an architecture student and took the job for which I was initially hired,” Stoberst says.
“In Boston, there was a huge gap between the professional and the casual landscape photographer.
The professionals weren’t making a living off of their work, and it was not a very attractive career choice for someone who wanted to be a landscape photographer.”
I went from being a very small, very young, very inexperienced landscape photographer in Boston to a very big, experienced, very professional landscape photographer at the height of the boom in landscape photography.
“The Rise of The Architectural Photographs Professional Photographer series, edited by Stoberland, features an interview with landscape photographer Daniel Stuberstein, who has been shooting architecture since the mid-1980s.
It covers his early career in Boston, working in the city’s historic districts, including the Beacon Hill district, and then moving to New York and LA to continue working in architecture.”
And I did that for two more years, then I got back into working in landscape architecture, which was where I really felt like I had a strong career.””
And I ended up doing that for the Times for two years, for New York Magazine, and for the Boston Herald.”
“And I did that for two more years, then I got back into working in landscape architecture, which was where I really felt like I had a strong career.”
While there was still an architecture profession to be had, it wasn�t easy.
“The landscape photographers in Boston were really, really lucky,” Staberstein says.
“For a long time, the landscape was the only profession I worked in,” he adds.
“But then in the early 1990s, we started seeing the boom of commercial architecture, and that was when people started realizing that there were a lot of different types of architecture, different types in the landscape.”
And so we were able to really capitalize on that by becoming a landscape and landscape photography professional association.
“The rise of the professional landscape photographers The first professional landscape photography association was formed in 1997, after an association was established in Boston in 1998, and the association’s mission was to “promote professional landscape and building photography as a profession.””
The landscape was always the one that was doing most of the work,” Stberstein says, “and they were the ones who were going to be able to capture the building, the architecture, the skyline, and all the other things that were in the building.””
We started off as a very local association, but we eventually expanded to the New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago areas, and we were very successful in all of those markets.
“In 1999, Stoberberg was a member of the National Landscape Association, and by 2002 he was a co-owner of the architecture firm, CIFOREOMS, which now includes his firm.
By 2002, we had a pretty substantial portfolio of photographs that we were selling to architecture photographers all over the country,”