Planned Gift from Alan Karchmer
Alan Karchmer: The Architects’ Photographer
Opening March 2020
Prominent architectural photographer Alan Karchmer has promised his collected body of work to the National Building Museum collection. The Alan Karchmer and Sandra Benedum Photographic Archive will include all works produced over the course of his career and comprises thousands of photographs featuring landmarks across the United States and abroad.
Karchmer, still in the prime of his career, has established a worldwide reputation thanks to his iconic portraits of works by some of the leading architects of our time, including Santiago Calatrava, Tadao Ando, SmithGroup, and TEN Arquitectos, among others. His work draws on his professional education in architecture, which underlies his unique capacity to read buildings and tell their stories through photographs that speak with an authoritative sense of form, space, texture, and light.
Karchmer’s life in photography began while studying architecture at Tulane University (M.Arch., 1978). Using a camera, he realized that his natural talent lay not in the design of buildings but in photography and the act of observing and interpreting them. Self-taught in photography, he has been based in Washington, D.C., since 1990, often working in collaboration with his wife, photo stylist Sandra Benedum. His photographs have been widely published in journals and books in the United States and abroad, and in exhibitions about architecture at the National Building Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Julius Shulman Institute, among other venues, and are held in private collections.