Posts Tagged ‘Modern Architecture’

Light and Dark: A Story Told Through Pictures

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

 Pacific_Palisades_CA (1)

A Narrative in Shades of Gray

I am an architectural photographer in Los Angeles. My job is to tell stories through photos. That’s what I do. It’s a dream! I’d rather not talk about it, but instead shoot it. Then it will be infinitely clear. The narrative, the moment caught, the tone, the various shades of gray and color, all come together to create the story I want to tell. But as a photographer, I encounter the challenge of light and dark every day. You see it’s not only the lines or the architectural subject in the photo that so much defines a great picture. No, instead it’s the meticulous patience to create the perfect light and dark shadows that truly make a picture exquisite.

Palos_Verdes_EstateFor instance, it might be capturing the moment when the light hits the Spanish tiled roof creating a brilliant gold silhouette exactly where it meets the trees. Or how I light the inside of the home so that it spills out and brightens the yellow light through the picture windows just as the sun sets behind the home. For me, there is no better way to tell a story than through light and dark shades. It’s always a delicate dance though. You straddle the fine line between realism and imagination with every photo. The great 20th century architect, Louis Khan once said as reported recently in an Arch Daily article titled Light Matters: Louis Kahn and the Power of Shadow

A plan of a building should be read like a harmony of spaces in light. Even a space intended to be dark should have just enough light from some mysterious opening to tell us how dark it really is. Each space must be defined by its structure and the character of its natural light.

The best architectural photography in my opinion, is that which reveals the beauty of the structure through realism—exposing the lines and form — while still creating an aesthetic fantasy that captures imagination. When it works, it’s pure joy.

“The Truth is a Snare…”


Light and dark – it’s what defines all that we see with the naked eye. It’s the basis of every story we tell. That includes the ones we tell through pictures. A recent article in National Geographic said it best:

By wresting a precious particle of the world from time and space and holding it absolutely still, a great photograph can explode the totality of our world, such that we never see it quite the same again. After all, as Kierkegaard also wrote, ‘the truth is a snare: you cannot have it, without being caught.’

That pretty much sums it up well – the art of creating a great photographic story. And, I’m the lucky guy who gets to bring you a new story each week by illuminating the most stunningly modern and sometimes historic architectural spaces in all of Southern California.

Have I told you lately how much I love my job? Oh right, I just did.

For more architectural photography or for business inquiries, contact photographer Paul Jonason for a consultation today.



The Power of the Visual Image

Monday, April 25th, 2016



After watching the Prince tribute on SNL this weekend, I am reminded of the power of the visual image to capture a moment. As a professional photographer, of course I know how important an image can be – it’s my career. But even us old pros need a reminder of how special the art of visual image is sometimes. The capturing of a split second in time in an image can say more than a thousand words ever could. At the end of Prince’s concerts, I had forgotten how he sometimes ends a set. He gets silent and lifts his guitar almost like it’s a God offered for worship. I had a moment where I clicked on that image in my mind, as if it were a still photo image and thought how incredible that one second capture in a still, would be if someone in fifty years, asked, “Who is Prince?”

I experience this kind of visual synchronicity all the time when I am shooting a home for instance, and the sun begins to set creating a sky that I couldn’t have painted any better. Or when a bird flies into a shot, unplanned. A little magic caught by the lens. It’s a different kind of narrative.

With that in mind, I have included what I think is a powerful image from a recent photo shoot. It’s a photo of an old Dodge truck from 1939. Take a look and see if you agree with me when I say, “There is nothing like the visual image to tell a story.”

Dodge Truck 1939

Dodge Truck 1939




Malibu Contemporary Architecture

Monday, August 6th, 2012

You would most likely not notice this home driving down beautiful Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu as this property is very private and faces the ocean. The photos here give you a bit of a preview to a super cool piece of contemporary architecture that you could enjoy for around a 7 million dollar price tag.

The water comes right up to the property line daily and pounds the seawall that keeps it dry. As I was photographing this home the tide was coming in with a bit of a swell creating a very dramatic environment as the sun went down. Every room has great ocean views and the sound of crashing surf. This is a very cool piece of contemporary architecture fit on a small lot between the ocean and the highway.

I used my style of night time architectural photography to show off the cool features of this home that are the reason people want to live on this pricy part of the coast known as Malibu!


Contemporary Architecture In Beverly Hills

Friday, March 12th, 2010

The award winning architect firm Shubin & Donaldson have recently completed a new contemporary home in the prime flats area of Beverly Hills. The 3 story house of 9,000 square feet features 6 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms and has the feel of a fine art gallery.

Contemporary Architecture In Beverly Hills

Contemporary Architecture In Beverly Hills

Contemporary Dining Room Beverly Hills

Contemporary Dining Room Beverly Hills

The Modern Paintings of William Laga currently adorn the walls and add to the Museum like quality and feel of the home. Large sliding doors open to a stylish private lap pool and spa. The stunning lines of architecture were begging to be photographed at night, and over two separate night of photography these new images were created.

Night Time Architecture, Shubin & Donaldson Architects

Night Time Architecture, Shubin & Donaldson Architects

New Contemporary Architecture, Shubin & Donaldson Architects

New Contemporary Architecture, Shubin & Donaldson Architects

Paul Jonason Photography: Night Time Photography, Commercial Photographer, Architectural Photography.
6520 Platt Ave. #156 West Hills, CA. 91307 | 818-687-8075