A Japanese architecture firm has created a photographer’s dream, a bright and functional work space for ambient light photography. This photography studio by FT Architects features translucent wall sections and a large angled skylight to suit the photographer’s work. It is a brilliant purpose-built space, formed in a progressive manner that inspires the eye of its occupant.
A common principle of studio photography, and fine art before it, is the use of “key” lighting to illuminate the subject. Often, the key light is placed at a 45-degree angle above and to the side of the subject. This goes back to the days of Rembrandt, whose art showed fading light across the face and a triangular highlight on the cheek of the opposite side. In this photography studio, FT Architects has built this “Rembrandt Lighting” right into the architecture, by creating a large soft box of light angled down toward the studio’s center.
In terms of functional design, this photography studio is a remarkable achievement. Opposite the angled skylight is a smaller window, one that produces enough light to fill in the shadows not illuminated by the key light. All the photographer has to do is place his subject in position between these sources, and at the right time of day, his subject is light perfectly with little manipulation needed. It’s as if the studio is an extension of the photographic process, a large lighting system envisioned by the architect and client.
The Photography Studio by FT Architects is located in Kanagawa, Japan, and was completed in 2014 for its photographer client. It stands as an additional structure on the lot where the photographer lives, providing easy access for creative output. As a photographer myself, I could spend weeks in this studio, provided I had a steady stream of subjects. Kudos, FT Architects. [photography: shigeo ogawa]