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Up Close & Personal

By Gillian Flynn

Photo by Darren Bradley


Star shooter Darren Bradley has earned global notoriety for his uncanny ability to communicate with his subjects.

In Darren Bradley’s world, walls do talk. So do bridges, windows and roof lines. The San Diego architectural photographer has made a megawatt career of capturing his subjects, many of which are posted on his 86,000-strong Instagram channel, @ModArchitecture. “Every building has a message that the architect is trying to communicate in secret code,” says Bradley. “It could the blurring of indoors and outdoors, or a rhythmic pattern in a hallway… but I’m always looking to emphasize these messages.” For his latest venture with international publishing outfit Phaidon, he and his co-pilot author, Sam Lubell, transform the humble travel guide into an architecture odyssey with their book, The Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guide. The East Coast edition, due out this month, is the road-tripping follow-up to the West Coast version, in which page after page documents historic tidbits alongside stunning photos. Bradley first focused his Canon on local treasures like the Salk Institute and Geisel Library before design titans lured him to Asia, Europe and Australia, where he spends half the year. Most recently, he gave a TED Talk on his craft, and his work appeared at the Venice Biennale. “I am less interested in photographing the building than I am in the feelings I get experiencing the building,”he says. “It’s a bit abstract, but my most successful photographs are those that resonate emotionally.”