In May of 2019, 3 staff and 10 students trekked 2600 km of Greece by foot, bus, ferry and plane to study architecture and landscapes from the ancient classical sites to contemporary works, using photography to document, represent and express.
Developed and conducted by prof. of architecture Mark DeKay, editor and coach Susanne Bennett, and architectural photographer Pygmalion Karatzas, we shot only in RAW format and fully manual mode, post-processing in Lightroom and Photoshop. The course takes as a theme the human experience of buildings and landscape, particularly, the experience of nature and natural forces—in urban and village settings. Building on the instructors’ collaboration and scholarship of architectural photography, students engaged its expressive, editorial and documentary types, in the technology of digital production and the presentation of work. Each photographer developed a personal creative intention to guide the artistic vision. It was a time of breakthroughs, transformations and communions with people and place.
The course was designed to include landmark buildings and areas of the Greek capital, the mainland country-side and the islands within the three-week period of the mini-term. It was also structured to have classroom presentations, in situ workshops with the instructors, assignments to explore places photographically on their own, and guest talks / guided tours with local professionals in related fields. The fast-paced rhythm of dealing with new information, people and places required for our exterior professional advancement was counterbalanced with the contemplative and reflective mindset needed for our interior personal and interpersonal development.
Learning objectives / Educational goals
01. Experience Greek history and culture via architecture, interiors design and landscapes. Engaging a new culture and place brings your own point of view to the forefront.
02. Learn to use and fully control a digital camera in manual mode. Mastering your camera places new tools in your hands for the study of the built environment.
03. Develop facility in photographic post-processing with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, including working with RAW for maximum creative control.
04. Become familiar with the viewpoints of different types of architectural photography: The Documentary, Editorial and Expressive Viewpoints. Being aware of the perspectives you take when using your camera empowers you to see the world in ways that you consciously choose.
05. Learning to use the long exposure technique with neutral density filters for architectural and landscape subjects.
06. Create photographic series and narratives using multiple images in a series or sequence to convey a larger idea or story. Editing, curating and presenting your work.
07. Understand examples of the relationship of buildings to sites, from topographic, symbolic and other perspectives.
08. Exercise of one’s artistic eye in expressing a scene and its engendered feeling.
09. Learn a conceptual framework for understanding human experience of nature and natural forces in buildings and sites.
10. The experiences, skills and knowledge your develop in this course will give you a competitive edge.
Instructors’ Scholarly and Teaching Collaborations
Mr. Karatzas spent five months in the US as a Fulbright Artist from Greece. Prof. DeKay was his faculty sponsor and UTK, the host institution. During this time Karatzas worked with students in design studios and in school-wide workshops and gave a public presentation of his work. “Integral Lens” was the theme of Karatzas’s Fulbright project, and DeKay wrote a book called Integral Sustainable Design. Both use “integral theory.” Karatzas and DeKay collaborated on an extensive paper about an Integral theory-based approach to architectural photography, the first of its kind, which was presented at the Integral European Conference, in May 2018, in Budapest. DeKay travelled to Greece in October 2017 to work on the collaborative project. The first min-term proposal was an outgrowth of their shared creative and theoretical interests. DeKay returned to Greece in June, 2018 and the pair conducted additional detailed planning for the first Greece mini-term, which was successfully run in May 2019 with ten students from UTK. By the end of the course the work produced was uploaded and presented on a website for review and evaluation. In September-October the two instructors curated an exhibition with the images of the students from the course that will be on display at the UTK School of Architecture and Design. They submitted their revised proposal for the next course in 2021 and they are in discussion with the Integral European Conference for a display of the collective works at the next event in 2020.
Places and buildings visited for photography workshops
In Athens: Benaki Museum Pireos, the Hellenic Institute of Architecture, Acropolis archaeological site, Acropolis Museum, Filopappou hill, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Elastic Architects, Fulbright Foundation Greece.
In Santorini: Fira, Kamari, Oia, Pyrgos Kallistis, Akrotiri prehistoric settlement.
In Crete: Rethymno old town and venetian harbour, Swan Beauty & Spa preserved renovated building, Knossos Palace site and Heraklion archaeological museum, Heraklion old town, house in Heraklion by Tense Architecture Network, Saint Nicolas chapel in Georgioupoli, architecture school of the University of Chania, Chania old town and harbour.
In Peloponnese: Ypsilon House in Finikounda, Methoni Fortress, Areopoli, Vathia, Tainaron Blue Retreat, Monemvasia medieval settlement, Euphoria Retreat in Mystras, Epidavros archaeological site, TRIF House in Porto Heli, B&T preserved renovated apartment in Nafplio.
University of Tennessee Knoxville, College of Architecture + Design building.
Opening: October 27, 2019
Exhibition design: Juliana Rogers & Corley Kotler
Supervisors: prof. Mark DeKay, prof. Diane Fox
Consultant: Pygmalion Karatzas
Participating students: Allison Bierman, Riley Doty, Sydney Kilburn, Corley Kotler, Connor Morss, Delaney Philips, Sam Richwine, Juliana Rogers, Grace Shoffner, Caitlin Turner.