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Transforming architecture into art
Danish architectural photographer Per Nagel and architect Vibe Udsen are joint founders and publishers of the architectural magazine Living Architecture. The magazine is very exclusive and is based on the simple philosophy that every aspect, including the architecture, photography, printing and paper, should be of the highest quality.
Living Architecture is distributed all over the world and is published once a year in an edition of 35,000 copies. It is written in English and all the photographs are taken by Nagel himself. Each edition contains in-depth photo-documentaries that reflect the latest trends in Scandinavian architecture and design. The magazine was founded in 1981 and is currently in its eighteenth edition.
In addition to his work on Living Architecture, Nagel also does occasional commercial assignments and has worked in the past for Volvo, Carlsberg and Lindberg Optic Design. He has also received a commission from the Danish royal family, having been asked by Queen Ingrid to photograph her palace at Amalienborg for her private album. Other work includes his book Living Museums in Scandinavia, which contains beautiful and vivid photographs of museums that were once genuine Swedish homes.
Right now he is working on a book of the best contemporary homes in Scandinavia.Nagel's images are comfortably austere, with lines that follow perfect geometrical patterns. The colours are warm and saturated, and the sky tones often colour the entire image. Using natural light is important to Nagel, and he sets aside plenty of time to find out what time of day produces the best light for each subject. He frequently takes several shots of the same subject at different times of the day and then chooses the best photograph.
Nagel has used Hasselblad equipment throughout his career, and his favourite camera is a Hasselblad 903SWC. He also has a Hasselblad ArcBody, two Hasselblad 203FEs and three Zeiss FE 50, 110 and 250 mm lenses. Because his exposure times are so long he always works with a tripod. He mostly uses Agfa RSX 100 film.Why Hasselblad? Because it is versatile and robust, and delivers high quality images that are comparable with those from a large-format camera.
And finally, Per Nagel relates the following little story: "When I was young and had no money I built a summer cottage that my wife and her father had designed. I built it entirely with my own hands. When the house was complete I took a series of photographs of it. The photos were published in several international house magazines because its architectural features were so unique. From the fees I received for the photos I was able to pay for the entire house. It was then that I realised that quality always pays!"
Article by Kerstin Fiedler
The Hasselblad Masters 2001
Per Nagel is one of the Hasselblad Masters - 12 highly skilled photographers, carefully chosen by Hasselblad to feature in the Hasselblad Calendar 2001. Work of the other 11 also appears in this portfolio area.