Thursday, December 1, 2011

Inspirations #28: Bill Fuller - Urban Architecture

Chicago Athletic Association, 1981 © William W. Fuller

As I have mentioned in the past, I used to photograph landscapes when I started in photography. Over the years I have been drawn to more urban subjects, especially abstracting modern architecture.

San Francisco, CA, 1987 © William W. Fuller

I recently met and befriended Bill Fuller through INFOCUS at the Phoenix Art Museum. Bill is a very interesting guy, a well-educated and self-taught photographer who has several large bodies of work, including "The City - A Formalist View of American Urban Architecture". I first became aware of his work a few years ago when I saw it in Lenswork and B&W Magazine. I loved the way to brought order to chaos in the city by reducing the scene to basic components of shape, line and tone. I noticed a similarity in the way we both photographed urban architecture, but also some significant differences.

Seattle, Washington, 2008 © William W. Fuller

Bill generally shoots from a distance and his subjects are very large. Although there are angles in his work he prefers straight on and he rarely includes the street or street view.

First Presbyterian Church of Phoenix, AZ, 2011 © Richard M. Coda

I, on the other hand, prefer to get in closer and almost always include a diagonal line in the composition. I often include reflections as the main focal point, as well. My subjects are smaller and a fair amount of the time I include the street or street view. See this blog post for some 2008 images from Phoenix.

From Chase Plaza, Phoenix, AZ © 2011 Richard M. Coda

Dodge Building Reflections, Phoenix, AZ © 2011 Richard M. Coda

But there are times when we have a very similar approach to our images.

Embarcadero, San Francisco, 2000 © William W. Fuller (left);
Phoenix Skyscrapers, AZ, 2011 © Richard M. Coda (right)

Tempe, AZ, 2008 © William W. Fuller (left);
14850, Scottsdale, AZ, 2008 © Richard M. Coda (right)

Long Beach, CA, 1999 © William W. Fuller (left);
Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, 2011 © Richard M. Coda (right)

Yerba Buena Center, San Francisco, CA, 2003 © William W. Fuller (left);
Downtown, Phoenix, AZ, 2008 © Richard M. Coda (right)

Chicago, IL, 1987 © William W. Fuller (left);
Chrysler Building, NY, 2005 © Richard M. Coda (right)

All of my images made before 2011 are purely coincidence, or an instance of great minds thinking alike. My images from 2011 were inspired by Bill.

I recently designed a website for Bill at Please visit it to see his wonderful body of images.

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