Ep. 302 – Truth And Narrative In Architectural Media – IDS19 Panel Talk

Editing in its purest form is meant to improve a piece, whether a piece of writing or a piece of visual art. But at what point does modification become manipulation? While this is rarely an issue in most art mediums, since photographs are the primary way we interact with architecture, it appears photography is held to a different standard.

As renderings became more photorealistic and photographs became more like renderings, photo-editing software is expanding not only what is possible but also what is acceptable. A badly-finished soffit; unfortunately placed street lights or utility lines; unwanted air vents or electrical sockets can all be discreetly edited out by a few keystrokes on a desktop, as if they never existed. Is this protecting a vision, or misrepresenting reality? Is the photographer’s job, like any artist, to interpret architecture, or just record it? Are they a marketer or documentarian?

In an age when everyone is bombarded by visual content employing the “wow” factor to grab our attention, the line between editing something and fundamentally changing what it truly is has become unclear.

These and other issues were discussed during an panel session at the Interior Design Show (IDS) in Toronto in January, comprised of Peter Sobchak, editor at Canadian Interiors; Amanda Large, co-founder at Doublespace Photography; Babak Eslahjou principal at Core Architect; Kyle Bergman, architect and founder of the Architecture and Design Film Festival in New York; and Arnaud Marthouret, founder of Revelateur Studio.

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