Detroit-based architectural photographer Balthazar Korab died yesterday, as the Michigan division of the American Institute of Architects announced. Korab was born in Budapest in 1926, where he began studying architecture before fleeing communist Hungary in 1949. He continued his studies at the famed Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and later worked under several influential European architects, including Le Corbusier. His claim to fame, however, would be his eye for capturing architecture in photography and experimenting with the photographic medium as part of the design development process.
In 1955, Korab was hired by Eero Saarinen as an in-house photographer. During this stint there, Korab documented numerous buildings in progress, including masterworks such as Saarinen’s T.W.A. Terminal and Miller House. Korab’s career as an imagist of modernism grew from there, his talents duly recognized by the likes of architects such as Mies Van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Minoru Yamasaki. Despite all this, Korab kept a relatively low profile in comparison to coeval photographers such as Ezra Stoller and Julius Shulman.
“He didn’t do much in terms of tending to what we would call his brand,” said John Comazzi, who took Korab on as the subject of his recent publication, “Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography.” Though perhaps less recognizable by name — at least as of now —, Korab has captured some of the most stirring photographs of modernist architecture, images that remind us of the discipline’s loftiest aspirations.
Photos: Balthazar Korab / “Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography”
- Kelly Chan