A University dropout.
Nomadic.
Does not have an assistant.
Lives off one suitcase.
 

Meet one of the world’s greatest architectural photographers.
Meet Iwan Baan.

Tower of David. One of the most emotional and touching endeavors by Baan.

Tower of David. One of the most emotional and touching endeavors by Baan.

We have all downloaded those magnificent images of sharp edges and savvy cuts.
We’ve saved multiple views of our favourite architectural marvels. Made posters of it, used it in our assignments and relished these stunning visuals over and over again. We’ve heard the name a billion times, read it in blog posts and magazines stacked in our shelves.

But very few of us take a moment to appreciate the genius behind those brilliant shots.

And the way things are rising, Iwan Baan deserves more than a moment.

The Seed Cathedral at Shanghai, 2010 World Expo - Thomas Heatherwick

The Seed Cathedral at Shanghai, 2010 World Expo – Thomas Heatherwick

The Dutch sensation is a polite, humble and self-reliant man who is ready to squat for minutes amongst indifferent crowds, persuade his way through dubious men in uniform, lean out of a basket suspended mid-air, and fly in circles in a helicopter to get that ‘perfect’ shot.

He carries minimal equipment and does not use a tripod.

Seriously.

Cartagena Auditorium and Congress Centre (by the brilliant SelgasCano, Spanish architecture firm.

Cartagena Auditorium and Congress Centre by the brilliant SelgasCano, Spanish architecture firm.

And by perfect shot, I do not mean the money shot.
The shot which captures sap green grassy lawns, knife-edged white walls, both dominated by the blithe blue sky and voluptuous clouds floating in the foreground.
No. Money shots doesn’t click with him.

Superkilen Park designed by BIG architects. Beauty and Datum beautifully brought out by Iwan Baan.

Superkilen Park designed by BIG architects. Beauty and Datum beautifully brought out by Iwan Baan.

Though an acclaimed architectural photographer, little did he know about architecture while he pursued photography in the The Hague’s Royal Academy of Art.

And that is what makes him special.
Iwan Baan is the man every architect wants to snap that pure moment of emotion, bustling with inhabitants, flowing with energy and surrounded with the city’s vibes. The story of the environment is as important as the tale of the tapering corners to him.

The Olympic Beijing Stadium bustling with smiles.

The Olympic Beijing Stadium bustling with smiles.

He sees the free spirit in a structure.
Whether its Rem Koolhas’ bold angular crests, Herzog de Meuron’s Bird’s Nest or Zaha Hadid’s luscious curved superstructures, Baan knows the art of visually capturing a building alive.
Baan uses a simple 35mm lens Canon digital camera. He spends very less time in after affects of the photo and always tries to get it right the first time. Which is why the weather always makes a difference.

An unseen shot of the CCTV, Beijing. Rem Koolhas' famous project and Iwan's favourite. He worked on capturing it from the construction stage to the end.

An unseen shot of the CCTV, Beijing. Rem Koolhas’ famous project and Iwan’s favourite. He worked on capturing it from the construction stage to the end.

Iwan Baan won our hearts with the life he captures with steel rods and concrete walls. Straw bales and roadside stalls. He does not believe in the boring scenery shot, he relies instead on that little element that you may think is a misfit, or that streetlamp within the frame.

Floating School in Africa, a project close to Iwan's heart.

Floating School in Africa, a project close to Iwan’s heart.

The way people experience space is what keeps him ticking.
Famous for his polysemic shots of human movement in the building, and candid snaps of the construction process, Iwan is in demand all over the world for his art. So much that he has to turn many of the offers he receives, and is thinking twice about making his whereabouts public.

Iwan also loves going high and clicking from the sky, helicopters or drones.

The National Taiwan University in Taipei. An architectural marvel by Architect Toyo Ito.

The National Taiwan University in Taipei. An architectural marvel by Architect Toyo Ito.

His roaring heights of talent and love for the work that he does earned him the first ever prestigious Julius Shulman Award in 2010.

6 years, thousands of photos, hundreds of magazines and several interviews later, Iwan Baan is to be honoured with the Stephen A. Kliment Oculus Award this month.

We are in love with Iwan Baan and his work.
Are you?

New York in the wake of hurricane Sandy. Powerless and desolate.

New York in the wake of hurricane Sandy. Powerless and desolate.

By Ekshikaa S.

 

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