Daily Dose: Robert C. Lautman

Add to TwitterA couple of weeks ago on October 20, Robert C. Lautman died at age 85. An architectural photographer ever since he opened his own firm in 1948, Lautman was best known for his ability to capture the subtleties of light and shadow from unique perspectives. His work appeared in magazines including Architectural Record, Architectural Digest, Smithsonian, Home & Garden and Elle Decor. In 2006, Lautman donated 30,000 of his prints, transparencies and negatives to the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Most of his photographs document modern design, although he became known for his involvement with historic preservation as well.

sant building

Phillips Collection in Sant Building, Washington D.C. ©Robert Lautman

Lautman’s experience in photography began with his using a box camera to contibute shots to his junior high school yearbook. It continued with his work as a combat photographer in the Pacific with the Army. He was also employed by a few studios in New York before establishing a name for himself and his own practice in D.C.

nmai

National Museum of the American Indian - Smithsonian Institution, D.C. ©Robert Lautman

Of his photography, Lautman says, “Lighting is everything. Somebody once said, ‘Architectural photography consists of two things: knowing where to stand and knowing what time to stand there.’ That, of course, has to do with light. The rest is just technology.” Technology, a talented eye and a dedication to get the ideal angle for each subject. Lautman’s photographs are more than simple documentation; they are themselves recognized as works of art and lay a strong foundation for architectural photographers today.

Lautman_Goodman_House

Charles Goodman's renovated farmhouse in Alexandria, VA. Currently part of the National Building Museum's collection ©Robert Lautman, 1954

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Sources:

http://www.nbm.org/exhibitions-collections/collections/lautman-collection.html
http://www.lautmanphotography.com/indexmain.htm
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2009/05/31/TR4M17OOCD.DTL&o-0
http://moderncapital.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html
http://soa.utexas.edu/news/archive/2004-09-23/

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