About this talk

Running time: 29 minutes

John Donat started life as an architect and has become, without training but through experience, Britain's best known architectural photographer.

As a student, he was surprised to discover that the then-fashionable black and white photography in no way conveyed the reality of buildings he later visited. As a result, his own pictures always try to show a building in its context, and inhabited by people.

He believes that anyone who has seen one of his pictures and then visits the building should feel they have been there already. If someone sees one of his pictures and says "what a marvellous building" it is a good photograph. If they say "what a marvellous photograph" it is a failure. The content, the objective, has become subservient to the ego and imagery of the photographer.

Patience, and the capacity to take care, are qualities he reveals as he describes how he has solved some of his photographic problems. He stresses that it is not equipment that takes photographs, but the human eye: the heart, mind, skill, observation and compassion of the photographer.

John Donat


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