Architectural photography transforms spatial and time-specific perception of a building into a 2-dimensional timeless medium. The architectural image reveals concepts and basic elements of architecture such as space, perspective lines, materials, textures, light and shadow. Ideally, therefore, architectural photography makes visible and comprehensible to the viewer a specific architectonic space though the viewer himself has not experienced in person this particular building. Thus architectural photography creates a direct relationship between the actual building and the viewer. This may be compared to portrait photography which, while conveying the surface image of a person, illuminates the deeper character of that person.
Christian Gahl’s work accomplishes exactly this ideal – and more. The person looking at his architectural images gains a clear and concrete impression of the – quite often far away – building. Short of a real life experience, Gahl’s images none-the-less transmit in a direct and clear way the actual character and feeling of the architectural object shown in the photo. He accomplishes this with minimal stylistic means. Thoughtfully considered elimination of the superfluous, the precision in framing the image, and his unerring confidence assure his choice of just the right location, light and most suitable setting. Technical brilliance, perfection when preparing the location as to time of day and light conditions are but the basic tools of his trade which – combined with his own personal immersion into the subject – assure a true translation of his inner vision into the medium of photography. Because it is the photographer who confronts the building at the time he contemplates its portrait, approaches it inquisitively, paces its spaces, and in so doing decides on his choices. His photography therefore is the result of a dialogue during which his individual experience, his subjective view are elevated to an objective level that allows a full experience by others at a later time. Here we find a unique kind of creativity: full consciousness of the extreme complexities of spatial and functional requirements of architecture enables insightful choices while creating an image so that the essential characteristics are readable, recognizable and almost touchable. The absence of people in Gahl’s photos is a conscious decision to make the building’s pure architectural essence visible. And although his photos are characterized by abstraction of spatial concepts and ideas, there remains the inner wonder the photographer experiences at the magnitude of these architectural masterpieces; it quietly lingers in his images. It is this personal enthusiasm for architecture that distinguishes the photography of Christian Gahl lending his work- combined with technical perfection and stylistic clarity – an unusually manifold and artistic depth.