Nic Lehoux is part architect, part documentarian and part artist.
He’s also one of the most respected architectural photographers in the world, focusing on works by the greats, like Peter Bohlin, Renzo Piano, David Adjaye and Thomas Mayne.
He was trained first as an architect, then got into photojournalism and social documentaries. Twenty-two years ago, he merged all his interests into one.
“That’s when it jelled – when I realized that documenting something I love is fascinating,” the French Canadian says. “The idea was to document it in my own style the architecture of the period I was living through.”
As is turns out, he’s been photographing some of the most interesting architecture of the past 100 years. “Architects are designing things that were unthinkable 100 years ago,” he says. “So these are two of my passions that met.”
His work is a combination of very classical, well-composed architecture photography that was informed by his first 10 years in the profession, when he was shooting on 4 x 5 film. “It was super important that there was no manipulation,” he says. “What you were shooting in the camera was it. I shoot digitally now and use methods, filters and traditional tools to create the images I do.”
He brings an artist’s eye to his work, with a rigorous composition, a dramatic style and a one-point perspective. “Then I mix it up – I get that composition down and people flow into it naturally,” he says. “I don’t like to put people in there artificially – I like a natural flow, and getting the right people in the right place at the right time.”
He calls it a perfect kind of image and an imperfect arrangement of people. “There’s an alchemy of people walking into a space that did not just happen to be there,” he says. “You totally set the stage and the actors naturally participate and walk through – they can be conscious or not, and that’s part of the magic.”
Organized chaos? Perhaps. But a better definition would be fine art.