Architecture of Cities: Realities

Everything modern in Dubai.

I have considered that I have spent decades as an illogical architectural photographer:

I have considered that I have spent decades as a voyager who has embarked on many journeys to find photographs that will become architectural:

I have considered that I have spent sensible and irrational decades wondering what it might mean to be an architectural photographer.

I have thought about my conversations with Oscar Niermeyer, Ricardo Legorreta, Kevin Roche, Zaha Hadid, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Kengo Kuma, Paolo Soleri, Richard Saul Wurman, Arata Isozaki, Santiago Calatrava and hundreds more. They may or may not be (according to folk-lore) what the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley referred to as the “best and brightest…”.But I do know their shares; a tête-à-tête eased my anxious: eased my needs to tear up the earth: they unwittingly propelled my mind’s eyes to see the practice of my photography, illogically.

Architect: Fuksas Shenzhen, China airport.

The Kipling “IF” rattles my mind: If I were to partially morph into Kipling I would say: If I were to abide by his principles: If I could hear his gentle mentoring: if I might receive the gift of sensible sensibilities: I begin again.

My cameras’ ideas live: My brain has an abundance of compartmental viewing screens: I make photographs as if I am outlining visual algorithms: I make photographs that inadvertently abort the patterns infused by algorithms: I begin again.

The language of others often pop into my intimate reverberating cranial conversations: Sometimes it feels like prairie dogs on Adderall: Sometimes it feels like Smokey Robinson’s wine infused full-throated falsetto cooing “ooh baby baby”. How does one compare hisself to himself when the visions for exploration live in a false dream? I remain an illogical photographer.

Science fiction is a fiction about reality: I am photographing what might be the real world to some: What may or may not be real is open to debate: I photograph for one entity or another: I reveal to a planet that what is seen in my camera might never have come to the light of day. A million other cameras travel the planet to recover and recall our built communities: Architecture’s architects sometimes fail to realize why the visual image is significant to our past, present and future: Again.

Architect: Jürgen Mayer: Building Mannheim, Germany.

My visual thoughts often recall my voice/visual assistant Major Tom: David Bowie’s Space Oddity: “Ground control to Major Tom”, lives in degrees of my reveries: The call is something superficial: something so vital to the way ideas become realities.

Those who know me a wee bit understand that my mind often travels atop and along the ridges of the “bardo”(to borrow from Tibetan tradition and of course George Saunders). I follow a kaleidoscope’s path as I step into the heroic visions of past generations and the mastery of what might become.

 Yes I can hear my assistant Major Tom: I know the balance of what may be best is part of the visual quest: The rules of visual algorithms need to be adhered to: The physical and visual context are everything until just possibly a hosts of visual revisionism’s come into play.

Tales are tales: but the truths that lie front and center are deliciously true: Those truths become my photographs as reality becomes science fiction and science fiction becomes reality.

Now tell me what you see.

Architect: SANAA. New Museum, New York City.


Richard Schulman is a photographer and writer. His books include Portraits of the New Architecture and Oxymoron & Pleonasmus. He lives in New York City.