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Behind the Lens

... with Richard Payne, FAIA written by Lawrence Speck, FAIA photography by Nicole Mlakar

An icon and indisputably the dean of architectural photographers in Texas, Richard Payne, FAIA, has been a registered architect since 1964 and a full-time architectural photographer for almost 45 years. Payne has been commissioned to photograph work by renowned architects such as Philip Johnson, I. M. Pei, Charles Gwathmey, and Ricardo Bofill and has worked all over the world — Spain, France, Germany, the Middle East, Australia, and across North America. But he has also kept himself deeply rooted in Texas with five beautiful portfolio books to his credit that focus solely on the architecture of his home state. He is perhaps best known for his stunning photographs of the work of Philip Johnson, produced primarily in the 1970s and 1980s, that became the iconic images through which the world got to know the buildings of one of the most influential architects of his generation. Payne shot 140 projects for Johnson. The architect commissioned Payne to photograph every building completed after 1970, and then, through a grant from the Anchorage Foundation of Texas, Payne photographed Johnson’s earlier

projects beginning with the Glass House in New Canaan. This work led to the publication of the largest of three monographs on the architect, published in 1979, 1985, and 2001. began when Payne shot a black-and-white picture of the Pennzoil Building in Houston when he was just beginning his photographic practice in 1970. He sent it to a marketing director for the building’s developer, Gerald Hines. And they sent the image to Johnson, who asked Payne to come to New York; the architects met and began a professional relationship and friendship that lasted until Johnson’s death in 2005. The sleek, dramatic images of Johnson’s internationally renowned buildings are complemented in Payne’s work by poignant, often gritty, images of the places he loves and reveres closer to home. He has authored two books that document the architecture of the kind of small towns he knew as a young man growing up in Texas: “Guerrero Viejo” and “Texas Towns and the Art of Architecture,” published in 1997 and

Payne’s relationship with Johnson

7/8 2013

Texas Architect 83

Texas Architect July/August 2013: Light  

Sketches that bring sunlight and moonlight into spaces in creative, playful ways; otherworldly experiments in color centered on the early mo...

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