American Museum of Photography -- View Great Photographs

Bricks & Light: Details and Glimpses

Bricks & Light: Details and Glimpses



While many early architectural photographs seem to be all-encompassing, no-nonsense frontal views, some photographers took a more interpretive approach. They selected details–a bit of carving, the pattern of light on a stairway–or they captured only a glimpse of a building, as an arriving visitor would first see it emerging from the surrounding landscape. These interpretive pictures were important steps in the development of pictorialist and modernist photography–details and glimpses of architecture, and also of photography’s future.

right: Francis Frith (British, 1820-1899): “Door, Capella Imperfecta, Batalha, Portugal.”Albumen print, circa 1870

Click on any image to view an enlargement 

Francis Bedford (England, 1816-1894): “Christchurch Gateway, Canterbury.” Albumen print published by Francis Frith from negative circa 1855.


Giorgio Sommer (Italy, 1834-1914): “Vierwaldstattersee. Tells capelle.” Albumen print, circa 1890.


Unidentified photographer, possibly Carlo Ponti (Italy): Palazzo Gussoni, Venice, with Gondola. Albumen print, circa 1875

“G.H. Phot.” (probably Gustave Hermans [1856-1934]):”BRUXELLES– Escalier du Palais du Justice.” Albumen print, circa 1885


Unidentified photographer [U.S.]: Untitled (View Through a Doorway). Cyanotype, circa 1895

Unidentified photographer (France): “1596. Limoges. Motif du Jubét du XVI siecle.” Albumen print, ca. 1870 (?)


John Reed Edis (England, 1860-1942): A Glimpse of Durham Cathedral. Platinum print, circa 1915.


Fisher & Co. (Valley City, North Dakota): Entrance to State Normal School. Silver or Platinum-Silver print, circa 1905


Wilbur H. Porterfield (Buffalo, New York [1873-1958]): “Colonial Columns.” Toned silver print, 1910.


Baldwin Coolidge [Boston, Massachusetts]: Untitled albumen print cabinet card, circa 1890


Return to Opening Page “Of Bricks and Light”

Leave a Comment


Photographs and Contents Copyright © 1998 The American Museum of Photography™. All Rights Reserved.