Sigurd Fischer

The return of my copy of David Brownlee’s excellent book about the Philadelphia Museum of Art, published in 1997, has made me pay more attention to the identity of the person who took the remarkable early photographs of the Museum, first when it was under construction for publication in the Architectural Record in 1926 and then when it opened in 1928, although even then many of the surroundings seems yet to have been completed. It was Sigurd Fischer. They are unusually powerful, taken presumably with a plate camera, so shows up the amazing quality of the detailing in the polychromatic sculpture and stone carving. Fischer was himself an architect, as well as an architectural photographer, and came from a family of Danish painters. Modern photographs don’t seem to have quite the same quality, and I can’t figure out whether this is just the aura of time or the eye of a photographic artist in their composition:-

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4 thoughts on “Sigurd Fischer

  1. Perhaps the difference between then and now lies partly in the fact that modern photographers invariably have “something to say” (theoretically no crime), whereas in those days the photographer was avowedly the servant of the subject, content to capture its apparent or hidden glories and allow them to speak for themselves. Ruskin’s architectural Daguerreotypes have this quality too.

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