Usually, architecture photographers are architects themselves, but today we want to show the work of Israeli photographer Erieta Attali, an actual photographer who started working related to archeology and science, and then got involved with architecture after working throughout Japan covering this country's Contemporary Glass Architecture.
1. When and how did you start photographing architecture?
My background as a photographer is originally based on archaeology and landscape. I have spent 12 years photographing in the Mediterranean region (Greece, Turkey, Italy ) working as an archaeological and scientific photographer, as a specialist in funeral painting in under-earth tombs. At the same time, I started my career as a landscape photographer, mostly photographing in the desert areas of Central Turkey, in the arid landscapes of southernmost parts of Greece, and later on in the Atacama Desert, in the Arctic region and in Asia. My involvement with the photography of architecture started almost 14 years ago. In the year 2000-’01, I spent a year as a Fulbright artist and a visiting scholar at the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University. In the year 2002 to 2003, I worked throughout Japan, supported by the Japan Foundation in order to cover research on Contemporary Glass Architecture in Japan. This last experience determined the rest of my career as an architectural photographer and especially my collaboration with Kengo Kuma which has been the most influential ever.
2. Are you an architect?
I have studied photography and have been working as a photographer for the last 20 years, first in Greece, then gaining my master's degree from Goldsmiths, University of London together with Ian Jeffrey, and later on moving to New York in order to spend a year as a visiting scholar at GSAPP, Columbia University, supported by the Fulbright Foundation. By the way… within a few months I will be starting a project-based PhD program at the Architectural Association, London, together with all the other photography commissions around the world. I have been teaching architectural photography for the last nine years at GSAPP, Columbia University and as a visiting professor, I have already worked in Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Italy, UK and soon in China and Singapore. It’s true that most people are confused about my profession and usually ask if I am an architect because of my deep involvement with architecture, both traditional and contemporary.
3. Why do you like to photograph architecture?
As a long-distance runner during my teenage years, I used to train daily in the pine forests of Chalki on Princes islands. It was during those long runs between the trees, the isolated Byzantine churches, and the Marmara Sea that I began to feel the urge to record the images I experienced on my solitary daily journey. It was then that I decided to become a photographer of monuments and landscapes.
4. Favorite architect?
All the architects I work with. But the ones who have determined my way of seeing architecture have been Bernard Tschumi, Joan Ockman, Kengo Kuma, Kenneth Frampton and Juhani Pallasmaa.
5. Favorite building?
Watching the world from the airplane window at 30,000 feet!
6. How do you work?
Generally speaking, I only work and for a change, I work again. Being jet lagged 24/7, changing countries every few days or weeks, having no home but being a citizen of this world together with my Linhof camera. Being so fortunate in life to collaborate with extraordinary architects and architecture historians such as Kenneth Frampton and Juhani Pallasmaa.
7.- What kind of equipment and software do you use?
I do photograph with a view camera, Linhof 4X5 inches and also a Linhof panoramic 6X12cm. When it comes to film processing and printing, I work closely with a London-based technician Ferdy Carabott for the last two decades and occasionally with a Rome-based exhibition printer Davide di Gianni.