While many early architectural photographs seem to be all-encompassing, no-nonsense frontal views, some photographers took a more interpretive approach. They selected details--a bit of carving, the pattern of light on a stairway--or they captured only a glimpse of a building, as an arriving visitor would first see it emerging from the surrounding landscape. These interpretive pictures were important steps in the development of pictorialist and modernist photography--details and glimpses of architecture, and also of photography's future.

right: Francis Frith (British, 1820-1899): "Door, Capella Imperfecta, Batalha, Portugal."Albumen print, circa 1870

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Francis Bedford (England, 1816-1894): "Christchurch Gateway, Canterbury." Albumen print published by Francis Frith from negative circa 1855.


Giorgio Sommer (Italy, 1834-1914): "Vierwaldstattersee. Tells capelle." Albumen print, circa 1890.


Unidentified photographer, possibly Carlo Ponti (Italy): Palazzo Gussoni, Venice, with Gondola. Albumen print, circa 1875

"G.H. Phot." (probably Gustave Hermans [1856-1934]):"BRUXELLES-- Escalier du Palais du Justice." Albumen print, circa 1885


Unidentified photographer [U.S.]: Untitled (View Through a Doorway). Cyanotype, circa 1895

Unidentified photographer (France): "1596. Limoges. Motif du Jubét du XVI siecle." Albumen print, ca. 1870 (?)


John Reed Edis (England, 1860-1942): A Glimpse of Durham Cathedral. Platinum print, circa 1915.


Fisher & Co. (Valley City, North Dakota): Entrance to State Normal School. Silver or Platinum-Silver print, circa 1905


Wilbur H. Porterfield (Buffalo, New York [1873-1958]): "Colonial Columns." Toned silver print, 1910.


Baldwin Coolidge [Boston, Massachusetts]: Untitled albumen print cabinet card, circa 1890


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