Photo provided by Alan Karchmer.
The artwork for a commemorative Forever® stamp from the U.S. Postal Service is based on photograph by architectural photographer and Tulane School of Architecture graduate Alan Karchmer (A ‘78).
The stamp recognizes the important role of African American history with a tribute to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).
“Black history is inseparable from American history, and the black experience represents a profound and unique strand of the American story,” reads a statement from the Postal Service. “This stamp issuance recognizes the richness of that experience by celebrating the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.”
The photo selected for the stamp depicts the northwest corner of the museum’s three-tiered exterior. Commissioned by the Smithsonian Institute to document the project, Karchmer is well acquainted with the building’s unique angles, textures and light.
“The quality of light in the photograph – at dusk with the glow emanating from within the building – presents the building in a poetic way,” said Karchmer. “[The photo selected] needed to be an iconic image that represented the building in a simple way and would resonate at such a small scale.”
An internationally published and exhibited photographer, Karchmer discovered his career path while pursuing a master’s degree in architecture at Tulane.
“Photography came naturally to me, and design was a more of a struggle,” said Karchmer. “I realized that architectural photography could be a career that I would be better suited for.”
Karchmer uses his architectural education to read buildings and tell their story through photographs that capture the architect’s vision.
Later this month, Karchmer will be at his alma mater to co-present with Zena Howard, AIA, managing director of Perkins+Will North Carolina practice and senior project manager for the NMAAHC. Paired up by Dean Kenneth Schwartz, the duo will use the NMAAHC as a case study to examine how photography serves the practice and study of architecture.
Karchmer will also lead an all-day workshop for Tulane School of Architecture students providing an overview of the practice and workflow of architectural photography, including technical, business and creative considerations.
For more information on the Jan. 29 lecture, click here. To learn more and register for the architecture photography workshop, click here.