Showcasing photographs of Eero Saarinen's architecture by Balthazar Korab and Ezra Stoller, a forthcoming exhibition at the Yale School of Architecture will explore two contrasting approaches to the art and craft of architectural photography. Consisting of 40 black and white images, this original show marks the first time the two master American modernist photographers have been exhibited together.
This exhibition celebrates the work of two great architectural photographers who were closely associated with a great architect, Eero Saarinen, Robert A.M. Stern, dean of Yale School of Architecture, commented. Through the interpretive photography of Stoller and Korab we are able to rediscover not only the work of a master of formal invention but also to be let in on the working processes leading to formal designs.
Korab and Stoller worked closely with Saarinen (1910-1961) in the mid-twentieth century and captured and communicated the architect's highly original building forms in their own distinctive ways.
While the projects they documented often overlapped, each photographer worked with different purposes and followed divergent career paths. Employed by Saarinen as a young architect from 1955 to 1958, Korab was particularly interested in architectural process, and frequently photographed projects in progress. He pioneered the use of photography with large-scale study models during the design phase of a project and went on to document buildings in construction and upon their completion. His later career focused on two important architectural sites, Cranbrook Academy of Art, designed by Eliel Saarinen, Eero's father, and Columbus, Indiana, a city that the Saarinens and other contemporary architects built as a virtual museum of modern architecture.
By mid-century, Stoller established a reputation as one of this country's preeminent architectural photographers. His images were widely published in architectural journals, influencing architects around the world. Stoller's professionalism, artistic control and technical skill aligned with the functional modern architecture he was hired to shoot.
A closer look at the intersecting works of Stoller and Korab reveals artistic, technical and topical differences that are important in reconsideration of Saarinen's architecture. Stoller's interest in formal alignments, straight lines and razor-sharp lighting conditions resulted in super-realistic images, which are considered masterpieces in their own right. Stoller has sometimes claimed that his work helped architects see in reality what their mind's eye had previously visualized.
Korab, on the other hand, used differing lighting conditions and a focus on abstract details to discover new forms within the image. His approach is more artistic than documentary, evoking interpretation, rather than imposing a particular viewpoint.
The exhibition is curated and designed by Dean Sakamoto, an architect, lecturer and director of exhibitions at the Yale School of Architecture. Carol Scully, videographer and director of the Yale Digital Media Center for the Arts, is producing a video featuring the two photographers that will accompany the exhibition.