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Gallery: Ken McCown

Designed Landscapes



My previous slideshow for Places focused on found landscapes — for the most part the photographs were of scenes and places I happened upon in the course of travels — a scattering of eucalyptus leaves, an assortment of mining machinery, a grain silo in the Midwest.

The photographs here are studies in the relationship of architecture and landscape architecture to photography — a kind of research into how to see works of design. I take photographs in order to explore how photography can test architecture and landscape architecture, and vice versa.




Through taking pictures I explore how I might become a better designer. Photography heightens my awareness of the perceptual aspects of buildings and landscapes. In contrast, the process of architectural design is mostly devoted to exploring the work in progress through conceptual drawings such as plans or sections. Drawings demand responses; many decisions must be made to make a drawing function as a communicative composition; but these can often lead us away from what will be the reality of the built work. Constant connection to perception through photography keeps me aware of the implications of what I draw in plan and section, and I use this perception of place as a defining metric for design decisions.

I also use architecture and photography to disturb the assumptions of each discipline. In the photographs presented here, I examine the interplay between the two-dimensional realm of the image and the three-dimensions of architectural space. By questioning the line between the two, I test the capacity of photography to imply space beyond the picture plane, and this enhances my capacity to assemble architectural compositions that follow rules of photographic composition.

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Comments (3)   |   JUMP TO MOST RECENT >>

It would be nice if the captions on the lovely photos had more complete identification of the sites. For those not already familiar with some of them, city/state/country would be a helpful addition.
Andrew Davidson
03.11.10 at 12:24

Andrew, you are right.

In the absence of more information in the captions, you might check out Ken McCown's Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kenmccown/.
Nancy Levinson
03.11.10 at 12:36

Wow, what a cool set!

My favorite photos were Getty Villa Statue and Pool, Marfans, OMA Leeum Inside, Serra Schunnemunk Fork, EisenmannEscher.

You have such a good eye for finding the beauty Ken - thanks for spreading your inspiration around so everyone can enjoy it.
miss.shellie
12.30.10 at 12:40



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ABOUT THE SLIDESHOW

Works of architecture and landscape architecture, from La Jolla to Marfa and from Storm King to Hadrian's Villa, photographed by Ken McCown.
View Slideshow >>

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ken McCown is director of the Downtown Design Center at the School of Architecture at the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.
More Bio >>

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS









MORE BY Ken McCown

02.21.13: Creatures of Helsinki
06.30.11: Point of Astonishment
12.28.10: Full of Beauties
10.18.09: Found Landscapes
More by Ken McCown >>