In Focus is Archinect's series of features dedicated to profiling the photographers who help make the work of architects look that much better. What has attracted them to architecture? How do they work? What type of equipment do they use? What do they think about seeing their work in blogs?
In this feature, we talk to Stockholm-based English photographer Robin Hayes.
Archinect: What is your relationship with architecture? What drew you to architecture, as a photographer?
Robin Hayes: From the start, I was more of a landscape photographer; during my studies, I was observing the appropriation of landscapes, how we populate them and manipulate them.
A lot of my landscape work would include buildings or built up areas, and a friend of mine at the time was working as an architect, and he asked me if I wanted to shoot some of his work.
I really enjoyed, and still do, the obsessive nature required to complete a strong composition.The transition felt quite seamless; I was incorporating banality and romanticism represented through a deadpan aesthetic with my landscapes and found I could apply some of these modes of signification to the architectural shots with a tight eye on compositional precision.
This transition was also aided by the fact that large format cameras I was using at the time were perfect for architectural shoots. From there I was hooked, I really enjoyed, and still do, the obsessive nature required to complete a strong composition.
Describe how you work... who are your clients?
RH: The main core of my clients are architects, interior designers and some magazines.
Occasionally I'll work with advertising agencies and documenting artists work which is great as it tends to push your technique in a different way. But, ultimately it's all about the assignments. It can differ quite a lot how I work with the clients; sometimes there will be meetings, discussions and site walks before a shoot takes place, and on the other end of the spectrum, I'll receive an emailed brief maybe containing some existing photos of the project and be left to go and document to project.
Do you mostly work in a specific region? What is your travel schedule like?
RH: I mainly work in Sweden, but having started up my business in England, I still have a handful of clients there, which I'll travel back for. Occasionally I'll find myself in other parts of Europe.
What is your goal when capturing buildings in photographs?
RH: Making the client happy. It's always very satisfying to get a great response from the first viewing of the photographs by the client. If I'm given the reins entirely for the shoot, then it's always nice to capture the building's flair; combining the architectural merits along with a fully considered composition.
What are your thoughts about including people in your photos? Is it important to photograph a building in use, or by itself?
RH: This is a question that I always present to my clients; if they would like people populating the shots or not. It tends to be 50/50 really, and I'm happy to go with their decision. Personally I feel it's all about elevating the composition and dynamic of the space, if it adds to that, then it's a goer! Although I very rarely include people in my landscape work.
What are your favorite pieces of equipment?
RH: It would have to be my Phaseone digital back. The back enables me to easily switch between shooting on large format and medium format cameras. This optimizes the scope for in camera composition manipulation, shift, tilt, etc....
Do you work alone?
RH: Most of the time I do work alone, but it's always nice to be joined on site by the architect/designer as they will know the project inside out and it's possible to get, otherwise, unthought of shots.
How do you feel about seeing your photographs on blogs and websites?
RH: Great! It's good marketing for me and my clients. I can then use the links to strengthen future marketing.
Robin Hayes is an English Freelance Architectural, Interior and Landscape photographer based in Stockholm, Sweden.
Robin graduated from a Photography BA at London Collage of Communication in 2007.
Since then, his professional practice has seen him travel throughout Europe photographing architecture and interiors for a wide host of clients.