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Soviet Bus Stops by Christopher Herwig: a unique photographic perspective of the former Soviet Union
Christopher Herwig Soviet Bus Stops

I can honestly say I never saw myself ever purchasing a book filled with photographs of bus stops from the former Soviet Union.  Truth be told, I walked past this book (I still actually visit book shops!) time and time again questioning why anyone would ever buy such a thing but as my love for architecture has grown I find myself seeking inspiration from places I had previously thought absurd.

Herwig’s photographs emphasise the vast array of architectural styles within such a genre.  Some are simple box structures while others display a militaristic zeal.  Many show religious or artistic flourishes while others are purely functional. Some are beautifully pristine and others lie in ruin.

Christopher Herwig’s fabulous Soviet Bus Stops contains photographs from fourteen Soviet states and his photographs from these countries provide a cultural, artistic and historical snapshot of the Soviet Union from a very unique perspective.

Herwig Soviet Bus Stops Photography 3

You can see more of Christopher Herwig’s work here

You can also check out my inspiration for more book recommendations

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DETAILS: Title: Soviet Bus Stops.  Author: Christopher Herwig. Format: Hardback. Size: 160x200mm. Pages: 192pp. Photographs: 159. ISBN: 978-0-9931911-0-7. Publisher: Fuel (2015).

Architecture photographers will find all the inspiration they ever need in Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography

Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography by John Comazzi is a book all architecture photographers should own.  No question.  Within his photographs Korab shows a mastery of his art that any architecture photographer should aspire toward.

Comazzi’s wonderful book includes over 200 of Korab’s photographs which are mostly in black and white although there is peppering of colour work included.

Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal at JFK Airport, New York, 1965 - Balthazar Korab

Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal at JFK Airport, New York, 1965 - Balthazar Korab

Korab’s photographic style (if it can be called such) is rooted in the mid-century modernist architecture that he so often photographed.  Sharp lines, elongated curves and ultra clean concrete surfaces are all in evidence. His greatest images capture the beauty of architecture as well as the essence of time and place.

I absolutely love this shot. In many ways it is a street photography image. The rear wing in the foreground really ties the image to the 1960s. Korab has managed to create an architecture photograph which beautifully captures time and place.

I absolutely love this shot. In many ways it is a street photography image. The rear wing in the foreground really ties the image to the 1960s. Korab has managed to create an architecture photograph which beautifully captures time and place.

It would be foolish to say Korab had a single style, far from it.  There are nods to minimalism (see his shot of the Jefferson Expansion Memorial), an approach which really emphasises its arch in all its glory.  In contrast there is a definite street aesthetic to some of his work.  This is particularly true of his images taken at Lake Shore Drive Apartments (above) and Northside Middle School (below).  These are fantastic pictures that show a photographer willing to experiment with style.  It is genuinely inspiring to see work from one of the greatest architecture photographers that shows is there is more than one way to shoot architecture.

Another shot with a definite street photography aesthetic. I love that person in the foreground is polishing off their ice cream before going in to school

Another shot with a definite street photography aesthetic. I love that person in the foreground is polishing off their ice cream before going in to school

Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography really is a must own for any photographer who any interest in architecture and urban photography.  His ability to create awe inspiring photography is obvious but for me it was his willingness to experiment with different styles that was most intriguing.  Something we should all aim for in our own work. 

Dulles International Airport Terminal, Chantilly, Virginia, circa 1963

Dulles International Airport Terminal, Chantilly, Virginia, circa 1963

You see more of Balthazar Korab’s work here

More information about Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography can be found here

You can also check out my book shelf for book recommendations

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DETAILS:

Title: Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography. Author: John Comazzi. Format: Paperback. Size: 8 × 10 in (20.3 × 25.4 cm). Pages: 192pp. Illustrations: 20 color, 200 b/w. ISBN: 9781616891961. Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press.

Book review: Atlas of Brutalist Architecture (Phaidon)

Shortly after I purchased and reviewed the excellent This Brutal World (review here) I was made aware of an all-encompassing brutalist tome being constructed by the same publisher. Now available, Atlas of Brutalist Architecture (AoBA) is a colossus of a book.  In size, weight, scope, and content, the AoBA is an ode to brutalist architecture.  A lovingly crafted book by the Phaidon editorial team that is suitable for anyone who has affection for the often ostracized architectural style.

College Life Insurance Company Of America Headquarters, Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, 1972. Picture credit: Courtesy of Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates

College Life Insurance Company Of America Headquarters, Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, 1972. Picture credit: Courtesy of Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates

The book is arranged into nine different continental regions meaning if, for instance, your interest lies in Eastern European brutalism, you can easily navigate to the appropriate section.  By organising the book in this way the editors have shown how deeply the brutalist movement took root across the globe. 

The photography is excellent throughout and includes over 1000 gorgeous duotone photographs of 878 buildings from 102 countries.  The AoBA provides the reader with page after page of beautifully shot images, all of which come with accompanying explanatory text.  There is also a nice introduction providing an overview discussing the past, present, and future of the subject.

Rozzol Melara, Carlo Celli, Trieste, Italy, 1982. Picture credit: Roberto Conte

Rozzol Melara, Carlo Celli, Trieste, Italy, 1982. Picture credit: Roberto Conte

This is hardly a book you are going speed through in one sitting, rather the AoBA is book you can (and no doubt will) return to on numerous occasions for your architectural hit. Any volume of this size will always benefit from repeat viewing. 

At £100 this is an expensive book.  I am sure it will be available at a lower price by researching different sellers online but such a hefty price tag may dissuade certain buyers, especially those who are new in their appreciation to brutalist architecture.  That being said, I doubt anyone would need to purchase any other book on the subject.  Everything is here.

Stamp House, Charles Wright Architects, Cape Tribulation, Queensland, Australia, 2013. Picture credit: Patrick Bingham-Hall

Stamp House, Charles Wright Architects, Cape Tribulation, Queensland, Australia, 2013. Picture credit: Patrick Bingham-Hall

If you love big, bold, brutalist architecture then this big, bold, brutalist book is a must. The photography is excellent and effectively displays the breadth of architectural styles found within the brutalist movement.  Brutalist architecture can be imposing, industrial, delicate, ornate, and beautiful, and it is all here in this single book.

More information about the Atlas of Brutalist Architecture and more images can be found here

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DETAILS: Title: Atlas of Brutalist Architecture. Author: Phaidon Editors. Format: Hardback. Size: 340mm x 240mm (13 3/8 x 9 1/2 in). Pages: 560pp. Illustrations: 1000 illustrations. ISBN: 9780714875668. Publisher: Phaidon

Discover the beauty of Soviet era brutalist architecture: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed by Frédéric Chaubin - REVIEW

Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed (CCCP) may best be described as a passion project.  Over a remarkably short period of seven years (2003-2010) Frédéric Chaubin travelled to and photographed many of the crumbling architectural remnants of the former USSR.  The book is a magnificent collection of images which highlight the political, economic, and cultural power of architecture in these former Eastern Block countries.

Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed (CCCP) by Frédéric Chaubin’s

Chaubin’s photographs successfully show the enormous scale of many of these buildings.  Most of which are vast brutalist concrete structures which impose themselves on the populous.  Some sit like cathedrals and invite the population to come together, others display political might and demand obedience.  Many of these structures are clear historical reminders of the USSR and their importance in the ‘space race’.

Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed (CCCP) by Frédéric Chaubin’s

Shot in both colour and black and white Chaubin’s photographs work beautifully.  He has successfully captured the beauty of these buildings; the size and scale, the gorgeous ageing concrete, and how they occupy their place in the landscape.  Chaubin also provides a peek inside some of these buildings and he effectively displays the glamorous interiors which often sit at odds to their austere shell.

Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed (CCCP) by Frédéric Chaubin

Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed is a book all architecture photographers should definitely investigate.  Highly recommended.

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DETAILS: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed, Frédéric Chaubin, Hardcover, 26 x 34 cm, 312 pages, ISBN 978-3-8365-2519-0, Multilingual Edition: English, French, German, Taschen, 2015