This week marks the finale of Xposure 2022, the 6th annual festival celebrating the art of photography in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. At this year’s festival Steven Brooke, a Miami-based architectural and landscape photographer, was featured in the solo exhibition Steven Brooke: Views of Rome and Miami. Brooke, internationally recognized as a leader in architectural, landscape, and design photography, was the winner of the 1985 National Honor Award in Photography from the American Institute of Architects, and the 1991 Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. He is also a five-time winner of the Photographer of the Year Award from the AIA Florida Chapter and currently teaches Architectural Photography and Composition at the University of Miami School of Architecture.
Brooke’s eponymous show features 24 black-and-white images of historic and contemporary architecture in Rome and Miami, highlighting the close relationship between Brooke’s architectural imagery and those of the 18th and 19th-century view painters whose works inform his compositional approach to architectural photography.
In Steven Brooke: Views of Rome and Miami, Brooke puts theory to practice and makes use of these techniques to eloquently frame architecture as artwork placed neatly in a landscaped frame. Of the 24 pieces featured, include Miami’s Century Hotel, Opa Locka City Hall, and the Shenandoah neighborhood, in conversation with Rome’s Castel S. Angelo, Terme Grande, and Postale Marmorata.
In a talk given by Brooke on February 9th at Xposure, he shared, “My real hope for the profession of architectural photography is that the faithfulness of the architectural depiction will always match the precision of our design and the engineering of our subjects.” He further explained that his method of photographing within proportional equilibrium across all of his work is, “done as precisely as I can, not just as an academic exercise, but to be in harmony with the architecture that I am photographing.”
Brooke, in his presentation, examined the paradigms of six centuries of architectural depiction with applications to contemporary architectural photography practice. In reference to the painting styles of Jan Vermeer and Pieter deHooch of the 17th century, Giovanni Piranesi and Canaletto of the 18th century, and Edward Hopper, Giorgio de Chirico, and Hugh Ferris, Brooke highlighted the foundation of producing vertical and horizontal alignment for proportional accuracy, specifically edifying the usage of border verticals for exteriors, interiors and streetscapes and proportional methods using visible shapes for architectural depiction.
For Brooke, photography is all about capturing scale through exact proportional measurements in frame. “People were incidental in an image,” he recalled, “they were for scale and to direct the eye while axial compositions dominated that era when architecture itself was the focus and the subject.”