Photographing Sculptures | Photography Unfolded

Photographing Sculptures

 In Locations, Tips + Tricks

When we think of architecture, what obviously comes to mind are buildings or maybe even something like a pavilion. Another thing that makes up the urban fabric are sculptures. While not technically architecture and made by artists not architects (though I’d argue they’re artists as well) they can offer great photo ops. From wider, contextual shots to details and closeups to abstract takes.

A favorite close to home is the Alexander Calder Flamingo. Calder also has sculptures in many major and even not so major cities throughout the US and Europe.

alexander calder, calder flamingo alexander calder, calder flamingo

alexander calder, calder flamingo

Another sculpture that’s been fun to photograph is Alexander Liberman’s Ulysses in Los Angeles. It’s a white, curvy, twisty sculpture and my favorite way to photograph this is to get up close and underneath it. This first shot is the furthest take I have on it but it works well against the background building. Nice contrast with the lines of the building and curves of the sculpture but a connection in the whites.

Alexander Liberman Ulysses Alexander Liberman Ulysses Alexander Liberman Ulysses

Another stop in Los Angles is a sculpture called Smoke by Tony Smith at the LACMA. A great one for geometric shapes and symmetry.

smoke by tony smith, lacma smoke by tony smith, lacma smoke by tony smith, lacma

Just a reminder to keep an eye out for the less obvious subjects around you. Sculptures, especially when small portions are isolated, can make for some great abstracts. Oftentimes, the background can be distracting, so zooming on interesting details makes more compelling compositions. Other times, it’s interesting to contrast the sculpture against surrounding buildings (think the curvy, colorful Flamingo vs the dark, rectilinear Federal Plaza buildings).

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