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Le Corbusier and the Power of Photography

Nathalie Herschdorfer, Lada Umstätter


The vital ‘missing volume’ in any Le Corbusier aficionado’s library, tracing the many ways in which the architect used photography to define and disseminate his work around the world


The influence and development of Le Corbusier was inextricably connected to the rise of the twentieth century's central form of popular media; photography. The Swiss-born architect had perhaps a more profound effect on visual culture than any other architect of his generation. Long before many in his field, he harnessed the power of the photographic image to define and disseminate his persona, his ideas and his buildings around the world. In this, he was far ahead of his time.

Coinciding with the 125th anniversary of Le Corbusier's birth and the 100th anniversary of the foundation of his first studio in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, this book brings together contributions by leading scholars and experts on the architect to explore Le Corbusier's use of and engagement with photography. From the early pictures he took as a young travelling architect and snapshots of his surroundings, to his hands-on approach to the graphic design of his influential publications, and large-scale photographic images and collages for architectural spaces, this collection of insights into Le Corbusier's photographic eye reveals the scope of his innovation, as well as offering candid and often unexpected images of the man himself.

Le Corbusier's connection with photography has long been noted. This is the first publication devoted solely to the special relationship between the architect and the most important form of media expression in the modern era. Completed by a reference section that includes an extensive chronology and bibliography, this significant contribution to the literature on Le Corbusier offers many fresh perspectives on his creative genius and the art of timeless design.

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'Just when you thought there wasn’t any more to write about the wily old Swiss iconoclast, along comes another rich tome with insight as to exactly why Corbusier continues to exert such a hold'

'Provides a more intimate way to access Le Corbusier’s creative process and some of the surprising inspirations behind his work'
Architect’s Newspaper Blog

'Superb and scholarly'
The Wall Street Journal

'An irresistible visual scrapbook'

Another Mag

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 28.0 x 23.0 cm

Extent: 256 pp

Illustrations: 403

Publication date: 8 October 2012

ISBN: 9780500544228

Contents List

Introduction • Le Corbusier’s secret Photographs: Tim Benton • “Printer – beware!” Photography and the printed page: Catherine de Smet • Le Corbusier’s Monumental Photographs: Arthur Rüegg • The Image and Promotion of Le Corbusier’s Work Through Photography: Veronique Boone • Le Corbusier in Contemporary Photography: Jean-Christophe Blaser • Snapshots and poses: Le Corbusier in photographs: Klaus Spechtenhauser

About the Author

Nathalie Herschdorfer is an author and curator specialised in photography. She is the director of the Museum of Fine Arts Le Locle, Switzerland, and a curator with FEP (Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography). She has written a number of books amongst which are Afterwards and reGeneration.

List of Contributors

Nathalie Herschdorfer, Lada Umstätter, Norman Foster, Tim Benton, Catherine de Smet, Arthur Rüegg, Veronique Boone, Jean-Christophe Blaser, Klaus Spechtenhauser