Alan Todd is a Washington, DC based architect whose creative life and professional life are one in the same. His “day job” and hobby-turned-business are both about creating, and both about his interest in the built environment. Although his photographs cover a variety of subjects, his favorite and most successful works are about abstract architecture.
Alan fell in love with both the artistry and practicality of photography while he was still in school, studying to be an architect. On a trip to Europe, he and his classmates were charged with recording individual design elements they felt were successful, while studying structures in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and France.
While studying the Roman Forum, Alan found himself relying more on his digital point-and-shoot camera than his sketch pad and pencil, and the photographer in him was born. He knew he could use his camera for more than just logging details for a class assignment. “For me,” he says, “the camera turned into a tool for creating, not just capturing.”
Although Alan continued his education in architecture, he remains mostly self-taught in photography. However, looking at the images he captures, it is easy to see how his education, training, and experience in architecture has influenced his eye as a photographer.
Alan had been taking photographs for fun for a while, without any intention to share them with the world, or sell them to anybody. At the suggestion of his brother-in-law, he began to consider the possibilities of online marketplaces like Etsy. Alan’s brother-in-law is an accomplished painter with a thriving online business, and with his encouragement, Alan opened his Etsy shop in December 2009.
Images from Alan’s Abstract Architecture collection are definitely his customers’ favorites. Likewise, Alan’s favorite approach to his photography is primarily isolating elements from successful structures, and defining them with light and texture.
Despite his professional interest in architecture and built structures, Alan finds his approach to photography evolving to include natural elements. Rather than focusing solely on chronicling existing conditions, Alan creates his own “spatial composition through the specific qualities of each scene.”
Specifically, he has recently become inspired to focus on trees and their root systems, and his portfolio also includes other scenes of natural beauty. This shift was not at all intentional, which only means that Alan’s photography will continue to evolve and change. Who knows what’s next?
Alan’s work is available in his Etsy shop, where he regularly adds new images from his travels and from his favorite neighborhoods of Washington, DC.