Paul Clemence is an award-winning photographer and artist known for his stylized architecture photography that captures form and geometry, light and shadow, texture and pattern.
Originally from Rio de Janiero, Brazil, and currently based in Brooklyn, Paul travels the world to photograph. He publishes his photographs and writes about architecture in magazines such as ArchDaily, Metropolis, and Casa Vogue Brasil. His Facebook page, Archi-Photo, where he posts his photographs of buidings, urbanscapes, and interiors, has almost a million likes. Paul also exhibits his work in museums and galleries, presenting classic black-and-white prints as well as large-scale photographic installations.
You trained as an architect. How did you get started in photography?
When I was in architecture school I was never a great renderer so I would make models and then photograph them for the project. It made me think about how I could best show the concepts of architecture. From then on, photographing architecture was a hobby. I was doing it in Miami in my free time, and slowly, it went from being an avocation to a real thing. About five years ago, I began being asked to write about the architecture I was photographing.
You have almost a million likes on Archi-Photo, the Facebook page you started in 2009. How did that project develop?
I started it as an online portfolio. This was before Instagram, and it was an easy and inexpensive way of having my work online. Slowly, the page began to get traction. It got exciting because people left comments, and I began to get enjoyment from that and connecting with people all over the world.
For an artist, to post a photo today, and then to have it seen immediately by 200,000 people worldwide is an incredible experience.
Why do you think people like to look at architecture photography?
I think we all try to know where we’re coming from, where we belong, how we situate ourselves. When you see a photo of a building or a living room, it’s something recognizable and it gives you a sense of place, even if it’s not your place.
When you see a picture of a building or a city or a place where there are no people in it, you can create your own narrative. It can be a very abstract experience, but it’s something you can relate to. You can project anything into it. Architecture images are very open to interpretation. There’s room to create your own story.
What architecture has impressed you lately?
I would say the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, designed by Ghanian-British architect David Adjaye. The building is so beautiful. I’m interested in two things when I photograph. I’m interested in light–I like a lot of light and sunshine and the effects of shadows. I’m also very much interested in patterns. Adjaye created an amazing lattice motif that covers the whole building. The building is like metal lace. I was in there all day yesterday photographing. It’s one of those rare moments when architecture, design, and the theme of the building of African American culture, is very relevant and all comes together in a poignant statement.