Preservation Magazine, Winter 2023

Explore A New Book About an Influential Architectural Photographer

Cover GEKS Book

photo by: Brooke Biro

After obtaining a degree in architecture in 1938, G.E. Kidder Smith realized his calling. He wasn’t as interested in designing buildings as he was in documenting them, and he spent much of the 20th century doing just that. “It was architecture and the built environment that absorbed his interest, inspired his invention, and triggered his creativity,” writes Angelo Maggi in his new book, G.E. Kidder Smith Builds: The Travel of Architectural Photography (ORO Editions, 2022).

With the help of his wife, Dot, Kidder Smith photographed buildings in Brazil, Sweden, Italy, and Switzerland (among other places) and compiled his pictures and text into lovingly produced books meant to appeal to the general public. Later in his career, he and Dot focused on architecture in the United States, taking pictures of places as varied as the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, New England churches, and the Las Vegas Strip. Unlike many architectural photographers of the time, Kidder Smith often included people in his images. He also highlighted the merits of both historic and contemporary design. In the foreword to Maggi’s book, Michelangelo Sabatino pinpoints Kidder Smith’s legacy: “With determination and skill, he expanded the culture of architectural appreciation.”

Headshot Meghan Drueding

Meghan Drueding is the executive editor of Preservation magazine. She has a weakness for Midcentury Modernism, walkable cities, and coffee-table books about architecture and design.

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