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News October 2019

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It’s out: the Ezra Stoller monograph

October 26, 2019

Twentieth-century Modern American architecture was deeply entwined with the images that recorded its arrival and ascendancy. Towering above the ever-growing crowd of image-makers is Ezra Stoller (1915–2004), an architectural photographer of immeasurable consequence in documenting the history of modern architecture—known and unknown—in the United States and beyond. A new monograph, Ezra Stoller: A Photographic History of Modern American Architecture, is one of the first to present the breadth of Stoller’s largely unseen archive. An essay by Pierluigi Serraino covering Stoller’s life, influences and career provides excellent context for the 450 images.

As Serranio recounts, Stoller was on a mission for each image: “I would wander around the building and make notes with arrows on the plans. When this was done, I’d put a time next to each arrow, and when I was all through the day would be gone. So the next day, hopefully it was a sunny day again, I’d go back and make all those pictures with [the] 8 x 10 [large-format camera]. If I had done eight pictures a day, that was a good day’s work.” This diligence created the big images of the big buildings that have entered the collective memory as defining Modern architecture. Stoller brought the same focus to thousands of everyday buildings of industry and public life—a more vernacular Modernism—that he photographed.  The new monograph brings hundreds of these images out of the archive and into our view.

A review article for the New Yorker by Thomas Monchaux includes an insightful take on Stoller’s place in the canon and a wonderful sample of images from the archive.

“Ezra Stoller Turned Buildings Into Monuments,” The New Yorker, October 6, 2019.

Harrison & Abramovitz’s New York Hall of Science, Queens, New York, 1966.
Roland Reisely speaking to the DOCOMOMO group. Photo: Bob Gregson.
Bier House, Kaneji Domoto, Usonia/Pleasantville, NY 1949). Photo: Bob Gregson