Photography and a 3D model in an Architectural Conversation



Photography and a 3D model in an Architectural Conversation

This inaugural Photographic Dialogue collaboration involved practitioners from an architectural and photographic background exploring and attempting to capture the meaning of an architectural 3D model through a focus group conversation.  The collaboration was between;

Elena Marco – UWE Head of Department for Architecture and the Built Environment, and Justine Frost – UWE final year BA (Hons) Photography student, with specialist experience of interior and architectural image making.  The focus group also included two experts from architecture practice and architectural history.

Elena is a practicing architect and educator, and she made four models developed as a part of her PhD research looking into how material possessions impact the use and experience of domestic space.  The models represent different architectural style houses – Regency, Edwardian, Victorian and the Modern terrace. 

The design of the models were partially based on findings from a large scale photo-elicitation project, where Elena invited people to display their own photographs in the Architecture Centre photographs of how clutter exists in their homes, resulting in over 200 images being submitted for the study.  One of the models was chosen for this focus group, and it was used as a starting point for a conversation, record and reflection of the research.  Elena was introduced to Justine, to open up the conversation to consider the visual representation of the models, and photography as a method of further dialogue.

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From a photographic perspective the models were highly aesthetic, and Justine wanted to stay truthful to this and ensure that the images captured the essence of the research project and analysis.

For Justine the more interesting aspect of the collaboration was the dialogue created around the model itself.  She observed that the final photographs of the models in themselves became very architectural, flattened 2D representations that captured the depth and 3D nature of the artifact.

Coming from different disciplines created an interesting dinner-table type conversation among the participants that was rich, fluid, dynamic and reflective.  Elena and Justine both commented that it was a very enjoyable and rewarding collaboration for both of them.

To find out more about Elena’s research please visit –

To see Justine’s website please visit –

For further background reading on the architectural models and this focus group intervention, please read Elena’s essay, ‘Enacting Dialogue Through an Architectural Model’. (link to pdf)



All photographs (c) Justine Frost 2016
Models (c) Elena Marco 2016