Philly Creative Guide

Creative Personality

Paul S. Bartholomew |

Interview :: Paul S. Bartholomew
by Juanita Berge, 1 Feb 2010

Paul S. Bartholomew specializes in architectural, interior design and hospitality photography and works primarily along the East Coast. A majority of his clients are creative professionals who require high quality photography for a wide range of purposes from advertising to editorial.

Paul is proud to be an associate qualified member of The British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) with his qualification in architectural photography. He is also a member of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) based in Philadelphia and participates in their Strictly Business Blog.

PCG: How did you come to be a photographer?

PB: From an early age I pursued fine arts. I've always enjoyed drawing and painting but later discovered photography in college. One of my professors was a freelance commercial photographer who shared many of his projects with students. This opened a different world for me because of the career possibilities.

PCG: Were you trained for photography or self-taught?

PB: I would have to say both. I have a fine arts degree in photography from Kutztown University but found my years of assisting and establishing my own business to be more important with real world applications of photography and working with clients. A formal education is good for learning communication, problem solving, critiquing and developing one's artistic abilities but eventually it has to be put into practice that only experience can teach.

Paul S. Bartholomew | Photographer

PCG: What made you decide on architectural photography?

PB: I'm inspired by architecture. Even with drawing and painting I'd find myself studying some kind of structure. Studying art history gave me a great appreciation for the purpose and genius behind the works of architects. Some people ask me why I didn't pursue being an architect but it hasn't crossed my mind. I'm an observer and my photography is an interpretation for the world to see.

Paul S. Bartholomew | Photographer

PCG: Would it be fair to call yours 'a passion for photography?' Where does that come from?

PB: Calling it a passion is fair. Photography is something I think about constantly. Even when I don't have a camera my mind is taking photos. I think the passion comes from the need to capture a feeling or moment. No not necessarily to share with others but for myself. What better way is there to remember but to interpret the subject and capture it? Artists all have their own way and it's personal.

Paul S. Bartholomew | Photographer

PCG: I see you're a member of the British Institute of Professional Photography. How did that come about? (Tell a little something about the organization for those that are unfamiliar.)

PB: BIPP is much like The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) in the United States. I'm a member of both and their objectives are to educate, protect and promote the photography industry.

Becoming a member of BIPP has been a personal goal for many years. It's important to me because of the qualification credentials. BIPP has three qualifications that are judged by a panel of photography experts, each level becomes more difficult to achieve. Currently I'm an Associate with Fellowship as the next and final level. I'm looking forward to my Fellowship submission in a year or two.

Paul S. Bartholomew | Photographer

PCG: What are some of the uses of architectural photography?

PB: It's interesting how many uses there are for architectural photography. Architects and interior designers tend to use photography for marketing, portfolio and award submissions. Hotels and high-end realtors need photography for advertising. Sometimes I work for clients who produce specific products for the architectural industry such as windows, lighting, brick, doors, furniture and acoustic materials. There are so many possibilities.

PCG: Whose work has had the biggest influence on you?

PB: My colleagues are the biggest influence. I enjoy seeing architectural images from photographers all over the world. Each have a style and method of doing things but it's the constant learning from others that inspires and allows me to evolve as a photographer.

Paul S. Bartholomew | Photographer

PCG: What's been a memorable shoot (or shoots) for you?

PB: Crowne Plaza Times Square stands out. It was a very demanding photo shoot that lasted 7 days. Part of the project involved photography from the rooftop at night and I enjoyed having access to incredible views over Times Square. I also had the opportunity to learn more behind the scenes of the hospitality industry. Such a high-end project allowed me to step up to the next level in my career.

Paul S. Bartholomew | Photographer

PCG: What would your dream shoot be?

PB: I traveled France many times and always find myself drawn the regions of Burgundy, Franche-Comté and Alsace. I would love to photograph the beautiful villages, vineyards, wine cellars and food. The town of Beaune is loaded with great wine cellars. There is something about the rustic feeling and sense of being lost in time. Perhaps doing a book would be nice but I think it's more for personal work.

I should also add that I wouldn't turn down photographing Versailles. Now that's dreaming but you never know.

Paul S. Bartholomew | Photographer

PCG: Where do you see the future of architectural photography going?

PB: It's constantly changing and I have no predictions. All I can do is evolve and stay on top of new technology. People will always need architectural photography but the amount of need in the future can be questioned. The complexity of digital technology has made photography a difficult profession to be profitable. I hope photographers can communicate better and effectively solve the challenges we face.

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