Architecture & Abstraction: Visualization in Two Dimensions

Andrew Reed

(Andrew Reed)

This project explores 2 dimensional visualization within the context of architecture. To be successful you will need to frame various details of architectural subjects (loosely defined as any man-made structures) and present them non-linguistically and free of narrative. It is nearly impossible to achieve this goal completely, in that narrative often creeps back in even though meaning has been nearly eliminated. You will be concerned only with formal issues, your job being to emphasize elements of composition using form, texture and tonality while de-emphasizing meaning.

The entire viewfinder is your canvas and you must consider every bit of it before you press the shutter release. These images should not be cropped. The entire negative area must be printed. Composition must be determined before the exposure is made, not under the enlarger.

Andrew Reed Green Door

(Andrew Reed)

A working familiarity with the Zone System is essential. For each composition, record all light readings taken and before film is exposed, sketch a map of the subject labeling each area of interest with the readings taken. Be sure to include highlights, shadows. Translate each meter reading on the map into the zone number as you intend to print it. Record the calculated exposure used for each shot. Even though you will have perfectly exposed your film, remember to bracket by at least 1 stop (2, even better.) Be prepared to explain and justify your decisions with regard to each exposure. This will include a detailed analysis of your exposure map relating each reading taken to the zone in which you placed it.

Aaron Siskind

(Aaron Siskind)

Andrew Reed

(Andrew Reed)

(Andrew Reed)

Your grade will be based on your grasp of the project’s conceptual constraints, the effective expression of your vision, the degree to which it is unique, your demonstration of technical fluency and of course, the degree to which the translations of your vision to print are successful.

As usual, there is no quantity requirement for this project but a submission of 10 excellent photographs will be reviewed more favorably than a submission of only one but be advised, quality must accompany quantity.


  • All images must conform to the conceptual requirements defined previously.
  • Each image submitted must be critically focused. Additionally, the entire image must be in focus indicating a working knowledge of depth of field.
  • All images submitted must be 8” x 10” minimum.
  • Images may not be cropped. They must be composed in the viewfinder. Negatives for all images must be submitted as well.
  • A detailed exposure map for each image must be submitted. Be prepared to justify your decisions regarding exposure and zone placement.
  • All final work must be printed 8” x 10” minimum. It must be spotted and be ready for mounting.
  • Images must be spotted and ready to mount.
  • Late submissions will not be accepted.
  • The time line for this project is one week.


  • VISUALIZATION: The process of seeing the completed (black & white) print in one’s mind (as it is intended to be printed) before the exposure is made.
  • NARRATIVE: Telling a story as in photo journalism.
  • FORMAL: Relaing to form; shape; composition devoid of meaning.
  • LINGUISTIC: Relating to language; labels; names of things. A non-linguistic approach implies a focus on formal issues, generally.