In this second interview, we quiz Marc about some of the practical and technical aspects of working on photography for the Architecture of Buddhism book series…
1. Compared to normal photo projects, what were some of the technical differences and challenges around the Golden Lands project?
I carried a tripod at all times — long exposures inside dark temple interiors were very important.
Stone surfaces and facades can look very dull in bad light so we had to make the most of good light. We often had to visit a site more than twice to get the light falling just right on a feature or exterior so we were running around a lot and I had to keep a careful list of what I needed to do and at what time of day.
Shooting after dark can give the project a very different look so we were often shooting all day and then some!
2. Can you tell us about the camera(s) used and any equipment you found useful?
Nikon D700 (I now have a D800 too); 14-24mm zoom, 24-70mm zoom, 50mm, 105mm, 180mm and 300mm lenses.
A tripod is essential and a head torch for dark interiors to set the camera!
Marc Schlossman is an expert photographer who travelled with Golden Lands author Vikram Lall to capture views of Myanmar (particularly Bagan) as well as many of the other stupa, monastery, and temple photos for the other SE Asian countries in the book.
Here we interview Marc about his work on this Architecture of Buddhism series so far:
1. Which countries did you cover for the Golden Lands photography?
Had you already travelled in these countries?
Myanmar, Laos and Thailand. I had never been to the first two; I had traveled in Thailand a few times but never to Sukhothai or the other temples outside Bangkok.
2. Have you previously or subsequently done photography projects similar to this, focusing on SE Asian historical sites?
I was commissioned to shoot in Singapore and Malaysia for the book Paradise Found: Journeys Through Noble Gardens of Asia, [ISBN 9789833214037] published by Cross Time Matrix in Kuala Lumpur in 2008. It’s a showcase of public gardens in the region and the shooting involved the same skills I needed to shoot the three chapters in Golden Lands. Continue reading Interview with Marc Schlossman, Golden Lands Photographer→
“Lall’s visually delightful showcase of Buddhist architecture succeeds in portraying the physical result of the faith’s tolerant, cosmopolitan nature, and the dynamism with which so many cultures have made it their own.”
“it doesn’t matter if you are a professional architect or a practising Buddhist, Architecture Of The Buddhist World: The Golden Lands is a visual treat for everyone – it’s just a bonus that you’ll also learn some history.”
“With abundant analytic drawings – following the norms of architectural practice- [Lall] presents new insights to understand Buddhist architecture, thus making a compelling case for an architect to write the history of architecture. The information has also been collated and presented in an attractive and accessible format, so the publication can be considered both a coffee-table book and a shcholarly treatise.”
The Golden Lands, by Vikram Lall – JF Publishing in partnership with Abbeville Press, September 2014 – international/publisher-direct ISBN 9789670138039
Here are some answers to frequent questions about The Golden Lands book – and please feel free to add comments on this post or contact us with further questions.
What is the book about?
This is a study of the architectural history of Buddhist stupas, temples, monasteries, and temple complexes, through the eyes of a professional architect, covering many famous historical (and living Buddhist) monuments in Southeast Asia, as well as documenting a series of lesser-known sites.
The book is in “coffee table” size and is extensively illustrated with beautiful colour photographs, as well as diagrams and maps.
The most novel, and technically challenging aspect of the several years of research for The Golden Lands has been the surveying of these scores of Buddhist architectural sites, and CAD-illustration into accurate 3D rendered computer models. This has been an incredibly detailed and demanding process, pioneered by the author Vikram Lall.
On this page you can see just a few examples of the architectural diagrams produced in this book, and please sign up to the book newsletter or contact us for more resources related to the surveying and diagrams of Buddhist architecture as we continue the series.