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Photography and Spiritual Atmospheres

by Ben Jacks

This essay by Ben Jacks examines the relationships between photography, interior architecture, and spiritual atmospheres. Jacks argues that photography of architectural space has the potential to express atmosphere, either inherent in the actual space or lent by the photographer through their means of producing the image. Further, he suggests the atmosphere of an architectural photograph contributes to our interpretation of space and, consequently, our formation of transcendent meanings associated with space. The author explores spiritual atmosphere, religious and secular, in images by Frederick Evans, Ansel Adams, Berenice Abbott, Muslim Harji, and Annie Leibovitz, among others. These works, to Jacks, reinforce the interplay of photography with perceptions of architecture and communicate diverse understandings of human spirituality.

Ben Jacks is an Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture and Interior Design at Miami University in Ohio.
Jacks, Ben. “Photography and Spiritual Atmospheres.” Journal of Interior Design 44, no. 1 (March 2019): 45-63.
Review by Lindsay Mamchur
June 2020
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