Interview: Brian Parillo – L.A. Architecture

Ever since I laid eyes on Brian Parillo's black and white shots, I've never thought of L.A. architecture quite the same. Capturing shots at incredibly abstract angles, he conveys a powerful sense of drama through his carefully-crafted cinematic approach. I recently got in contact with Brian and had the pleasure of asking him a few questions…

Can you please give us a little background on yourself?
I grew up in a small rocky coast town on the eastern seaboard of Connecticut called Guilford. It's actually quite beautiful. It was settled in 1639 and it's filled with a lot of beautiful historic homes from the 16,17, and 1800's. My parents put a strong emphasis on education with my brother and I although I may have kicked and screamed a little more in that department. I was and probably still am a classic daydreamer and photography just seems to be a perfect outlet for that.

You take shots from incredible angles. What do you look for in a shot?
I think one of the most important things I look for in a shot is a sense of space. If the object of the photograph is in harmony with the rest of the elements then it all sort of breathes and compliments. If I can create a space where a building floats in the open sky at an abstract angle then I'm usually satisfied. With architecture, I'm usually overwhelmed by the vastness and power of the structure so I try to find compositions that convey that emotion. There's a feeling of vertigo that I think exists in many of my photographs along with simplicity as well.

Why did you choose to shoot in black and white?
I've always loved black and white films and photography. It's a perfect marriage with architecture because it creates a clean and efficient look that exists in most buildings themselves. Also, the eye doesn't have to process as much so the attention goes directly to the lines of the structure. I can go on forever about what I feel when I look a photographs in black and white. Besides the clean contrasts, its just seems to have a mood that resonates at times as both mysterious and haunting to me. It's timeless.

What is it about architecture that fascinates you?
Architecture fascinates me on so many levels. The spaces we occupy often determine our moods. The function and the arrangement of the elements make us feel something. The materials used, weather its wood, steal, or concrete, all create a mood. I'm a big fan and follower of the California mid-century modern movement. The architecture of men like Rudulph Schindler, Richard Nuetra, and John Lautner is incredibly inspiring, and in my mind, their structures are truly a playground for photographers. One of the more interesting aspects in shooting architecture is that you can give a building a dramatically different voice from one angle to the next. A strong abstract photograph often creates an illusion at times, making the viewer wonder what exactly they are seeing.

Brian Parillo

Eugene Kim

Eugene Kim is the Editor-in-Chief of My Modern Met. In May, 2008, he co-founded the website to create one big city that celebrates creative ideas. His mission is to promote a positive culture by spotlighting the best sides of humanity—from the lighthearted and fun to the thought-provoking and enlightening.
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