Thibaud Poirier (@tibman) has been a photographer for four years, and has spent three of those years focusing on architecture photography. His stunning shots illuminate the beauty in both interior and exterior settings.
What first piqued your interest in photography?
At first it was a source of motivation to explore and discover new places. I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, so it became a challenge to create the best images.
Why did you start taking architecture photos? How did you teach yourself to photograph beautiful architecture both indoors and outdoors?
I’ve been passionate about architecture since I was a teenager. When I started photography I quickly gravitated toward shooting streets, buildings, and cityscapes. I then decided to dedicate myself to architecture photography because I liked it and it seemed to complement my style of shooting. It’s a slow process — you need to find the most interesting angles, wait for the best light, and do a lot of research to find new spots.
What about architecture photography is compelling to you?
The simplicity and the striking beauty of the images are the most compelling aspects. I’m a huge fan of symmetry and perspective.
How does photographing indoor and exterior architecture differ? What is the same?
I find the process pretty similar. My goal is always to find the best composition, whether that is inside or out. I use a tripod for all my shots, which allows me to get a deep depth of field in all lighting conditions to get very sharp images.
With exteriors, I usually want the light to hit the side of the building I’m photographing, so that requires knowing the position of the sun throughout the day. That’s been made very easy thanks to smartphone apps. With interiors, the lighting works the other way around. I don’t want the sunlight to enter the room directly because that usually creates high contrasts and it becomes difficult to get an evenly lit image. For that reason alone I find it easier to photograph interiors. However, it demands more preparation and negotiation in order to gain access at times when no one else is around.
Why are you drawn to the types of photos you take?
I’m drawn to the aesthetics of the spaces. I love the work of Thomas Struth and Candida Hofer because of their precise compositions and meticulous approach. I’m also very fond of large format prints. I aspire to create the best architecture photos with a modern approach when it comes to lighting and colors.
Why did you start photographing libraries? What about them is particularly appealing to you?
The architecture is the main reason. These spaces were created for a very specific purpose and are world-renowned for their book collections. I choose the spaces for both architectural and aesthetic reasons. I want to show how a space with a similar function could be interpreted so differently in different regions and time periods. It’s fascinating to see how architects shaped our vision of these temples of knowledge over the last 300 years.
What advice do you have for photographers hoping to improve their architecture photography?
Do your research and take your time. Learn to understand the light you need for every shot and prepare by checking existing shots, Google Maps, and all the tools at your disposal. Use a tripod, especially if you’re shooting indoors. It slows the process down and obligates you to find the best compositions.
What are some of the places you hope to photograph in the future?
I would like to create a new series on minimalistic modern interiors. A bit like the series I started in Berlin. I’m thinking Shanghai and Hong Kong would be great for it, and it would also be cool to photograph cityscapes again. The research begins!