Ezra Stoller

Stoller was born on May 16, 1915 in Chicago, IL. A leading architectural photographer, he came to have nearly as much influence on the tastes of building designs as did the architects themselves. He photographed buildings designed by the most well-known architects of his, or for that matter all, time, including the homes of Frank Lloyd Wright and the towering office buildings of Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe. Stoller began his photography career in the 1930s as part of a new generation of American photographers steeped in modernism. Stoller himself aspired to be an architect early in his life, graduating from the New York University School of Architecture in 1938. It was during this education that Stoller started using photography as a means of financial support. Ultimately, Stoller would have no career in architecture, as by 1940 he was already working as a photographer in the Office of Emergency Management, and was drafted as a photographer by the Army Signal Corps Photo Center in 1942. He did, obviously, have a very successful career as a photographer, as the first to win a medal for architectural photography from the American Institute of Architects in 1961. Stoller was also very influential in the American Society of Media Photographers, ultimately becoming President of that organization from 1971 to 1973. He died in October 2004.

Two Columbus Circle

Seagram Building

Stoller's photo of the Seagram building in New York City is taken from the vantage point of a neighboring New York skyscraper. It was taken late in the day, accentuating the lights inside the building and contrasting this light with the darkness of the surrounding buildings. The Seagram building was completed in 1957 and was considered an architectural benchmark because of its large glass windows, making up a great deal of the building's siding, and the large, roomy plaza in front of it. This photo incorporates both of those features. Although the photo was taken late in the day to emphasize the building's internal lighting, the photo itself still incorporates enough light to make out details of the surrounding buildings and streets. Stoller achieved this through a greater exposure resulting from a slower shutter speed, as demonstrated by the blurry lines of vehicle headlights. The result of this exposure is to create a photograph with a unique and interesting lighting scheme. This photo is relatively monochromatic, as all the parts of the picture seem to exist in various shades and tints of bluish-gray. Of course, as a cityscape around dusk, this is of course how those subjects actually appeared at the time. Stoller simply captured the essence of New York. There is one dark spot in the top left area of the photo, most likely a result of the low light and exposure settings. This photograph has a massive depth of field, one that extends three or four city blocks, beginning at the building in the foreground in the right half of the image and extending past the subject, the Seagram building, to an intersection a couple of blocks away. With this depth of field Stoller lent a better sense of setting to the building. Overall a spectacular photo that demonstrates why Stoller was and is so revered.