Architecture in Minneapolis - The City’s Top-Five Most Photogenic Buildings

Morgan Sheff is a professional architectural photographer. With a keen eye for design and space, he beautifully captures our city’s interesting buildings. Let's take a look at the architecture of Minneapolis!

Published by Rita on 26/11/2015

Rita recently interviewed him about his picks for the top-five most photogenic structures.

Lakewood Garden MausoleumHGA Architects

RF: This is one of my favorites too! Can you share with our readers what you like about photographing it?

Lakewood Garden Mausoleum is simply a beautiful place. It was designed by Joan Soranno of the Minneapolis based firm HGA Architects. I find being at Lakewood to be a serene and contemplative experience.  The structure has been perfectly integrated into the existing landscape.

I seem to look through the lens just a little longer here with each shot. Patience is rewarded as you begin to notice all the subtle design details and the outstanding level of craftsmanship that add up to make one of the finest buildings in Minneapolis.

Frederick R. Weisman Art MuseumFrank Gehry

RF: Minneapolis’s own Frank Gehry! No list of Minneapolis buildings would be complete without the Weisman. Tell us about your experience shooting this beauty.

MS:  The Weisman Art Museum is truly a unique photographic experience.  The building’s unconventional facade with its irregular geometry makes every composition a little different.  Move a few feet over and a new window is revealed or move in closer with a wider lens and the protruding canopy becomes more prominent.  Each vantage point also produces unique reflections on the stainless steel skin wrapping the facade.

The combination of cool and warm tones on the steel during sunset is spectacular.

The Guthrie TheaterJean Nouvel

RF: This one is perhaps the most “controversial” on your list. Most people either love it or hate it. Though most photographers I know fall into that first category - what is it about the Guthrie that makes you love it?

MS:  Like the Weisman Art Museum, I enjoy the boldness of a building like the Guthrie Theater.

My favorite feature of the Guthrie is the 178 foot cantilevered endless bridge.  The bridge provides fantastic views of Minneapolis and the Mississippi River front.  While its color is perhaps its most controversial element, I actually really like it. I recently had a little fun with primary colors in the connected parking ramp.    

The Walker Art CenterHerzog & de Meuron

RF: For all of our readers out there who are working to hone their own photography skills, can you take us “behind the scenes” of how you captured these shots? What lens and camera settings did you use? What about this building makes it particularly easy or difficult to shoot?

MS: Both photos of the Walker Art Center were taken with a 24mm Nikon PC-E lens on a Nikon D3.  They were shot on a tripod at f11 and were 8-10 second exposures. A tripod is absolutely necessary for shots like these.

The difficulty is waiting for the right light for the desired effect you want.  I found that early on in my photography I would get impatient and move on to a new shot only to realize later that I was just moments from the light I was looking for. The light that these two shots were taken in changes minute to minute.     

Voya Financial BuildingMinoru Yamasaki

RF: Built in 1965, this is the oldest building on your list, but it certainly has stood the test of time. Can you tell us why you chose it?

MS:  Minoru Yamasaki’s Voya Financial is a midcentury modern classic.  This building has grown on me over the years but it was not until I was asked to photograph it for Architecture MN magazine that I truly appreciated its design.  Its most remarkable feature is the portico with its fifteen 85 foot white quartz concrete columns.  The space it creates is monumental yet extremely graceful.  The surrounding landscaping with its two reflecting pools perfectly compliment the architecture. 

A big thanks to Morgan Sheff for taking us on this virtual tour of Minneapolis’s architectural scene! For more of his architectural photography see his website and also check out his contributions to Architecture MN Magazine, including his cover photo on the current issue!

- Rita -

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