Image © Alan Karchmer
National Museum of African American History and Culture, Freelon/Adjaye/Bond/SmithGroup Architects
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Third Place – Editorial
ASMP: What was your inspiration for taking this photo?
Alan Karchmer: The patterned corona that surrounds this building is most often considered from the exterior but if also functions as a veil framing views from the interior. This building is such an important symbol architecturally and culturally. I wanted to create an image that represented the view of American culture through an African American lens and found this composition in a space where the coronal fills and overwhelms the field of view, as a perfect metaphor.
ASMP: Is there anything unique about your style or approach?
AK: I continue to work slowly and analytically like I did when I used a view camera for the first 25 years of my career.
ASMP: What type of lighting did you use for this image or series?
AK: Natural light, which I always prefer if at all possible.
ASMP: How long have you been shooting this type of photography?
AK: Forty Years
ASMP: What other photographers’ or artists’ work inspires you?
AK: Ezra Stoller and Julius Shulman, the early masters of commercial architectural photography on one end, Timothy Hursley who I think inspired a generational shift in the 1980s in how architecture is interpreted in photographs, and Iwan Baan who rose in the digital age and shoots with the (apparent) ease and spontaneity enabled by DSLR photography.
ASMP: When did you join ASMP and what do you find most valuable about your membership?
AK: Strength in numbers of a group of photographers who stood for quality, and respect for the value of their work.
ASMP: What is the more important relationship you’ve formed through your ASMP membership?
AK: Finding assistants.
ASMP: What kind of gear do you use?
AK: Alpa XY medium format technical camera, Phase One IQ260 back, Really Right Stuff tripod with Arca Swiss Cube head, MacBookPro computer with Capture One and Photoshop, Instand portable laptop stand.
ASMP: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started your career as a photographer?
AK: When you think the phone will never ring again it always does.