Fresno Beehive

In local architecture awards, congrats to photography winners

A view of Fresno Yosemite International Airport.
A view of Fresno Yosemite International Airport. Special to The Bee

I spent a lot of words in Sunday’s paper toasting the 2016 American Institute of Architects design awards winners for the San Joaquin chapter – at which I had the privilege of being a juror – but one category of results got left off the official list of winners.

That would be the Hanna S. Barsam Photography Award, the only category for which all entries were eligible. The two winners this year are Paul Mullins for Fresno Yosemite International Airport; and David Swann Photgraphy for the Lapp Residence.

The airport shot is just stunning, right? Here’s a description of the shoot from the entry:

The photograph is one image from a three day photoshoot for the airport’s website and marketing materials. We started early in the morning the first week of standard time to coordinate the sunrise and interior lighting with the flight schedules to ensure we had planes in the foreground. The image was shot from a man-lift about 25 feet from the ground.

While we’re speaking of photos, let me offer a special edition of “Donald’s Mailbag.” I received this note from architect Robby Antoyan responding to my Sunday column in the print edition:

I read your article this morning in Sunday’s Fresno Bee and enjoyed it very much.

My only negative ‘critique’ is to not see a photograph of the project associated to the awarded projects. Would have been nice to put a “face” to them for the readers. Even if not all were to be shown, but just a couple. And not only as a link to a website showing them, as I would assume the AIASJ would have. Hopefully soon as I just checked and none exist yet.

I do not know whose decision it was to not have any (I am assuming you have editors making decisions too) and I understand that there is a limited area to devote to any article. Yet the article just above yours showcased quite an area for their photos.

It seems that the Fresno Bee has typically over the last several decades chosen to not emphasize the value of good architecture, weather it be locally or abroad, but rather has chosen to assist those same developers you wrote about who are only in it as a business. Not caring much on how/what they (developers) do that impact the quality of our visual and livable environment. Unless it earns them more money. I do not have any proof of the Fresno Bee’s apathy to showcasing good architecture from time to time, other than my own observations.

I also would like to say Thank You to you for volunteering to be a judge for the competition(s). Hope you continue to do so.

Here’s how I responded:

I also wish that images could have been presented with the print edition of my story, but there are lots of factors that go into it. The summer movie package in Spotlight was the centerpiece, or main story, and our design philosophy requires a strong visual presence for that component of the front page. The summer movie story also happened to be quite long, which you’d expect. My column was also on the long side, and I included the list of design winners, which took up a lot of room. There was only so much space on the second page the stories jumped to. I can assure you that the lack of photos with my column has nothing to do with the importance of architecture coverage to my editors – there simply wasn’t enough space.

In the online version of the story, however, we were able to use three images with my column, plus the list of winners.