Darren is an American architectural photographer with a passion for mid-century modern architecture and design.
Born in 1972 in Honolulu, HI, Darren took his first pictures for a photography class while a freshman in high school. He was instantly hooked. He took his camera everywhere, turned his parents’ laundry into his darkroom, became the school newspaper photographer, and worked at a darkroom in college - but his obsession eventually faded, and when he moved to France to finish his schooling in 1995, he didn’t even bring a camera with him.
Upon returning to the US in 1998, he and his wife rented a mid-century modern house in Palm Springs, CA, and he was smitten. He began researching, exploring and appreciating modernist architecture more and more. This new awareness also rekindled his love of photography as he sought to document the buildings he was discovering. Things started taking off from there...
Darren's work has now appeared in large-format art books, academic and professional architecture journals, and lifestyle magazines around the world. He regularly accepts commissions from architects, builders, developers and homeowners.
Based in San Diego, CA, Darren is an avid and active supporter of historical preservation efforts, volunteering for organizations including the San Diego Architectural Foundation, La Jolla Historical Society, Docomomo, and Palm Springs Modernism Week. Darren speaks French with native fluency, and holds a degree in history from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.
I love architecture. I started photographing buildings largely as a way to reconnect with my love of architecture. I figured it was a lot easier than going to architecture school. I think that, fundamentally, is what sets me apart from many other architectural photographers. I really don’t care much about photo gear, or taking pictures for the sake of taking pictures. To me, the photography is a tool to connect to the architecture.
I love all sorts of architecture, and I photograph all sorts of architecture. But I’m primarily known for my love of (and for photographing) Modernist architecture from the 1950s through today. Much of the new work that I photograph by present-day architects is also Modernist or contemporary. The goal for me has always been to get others – even those who may not notice or care much about architecture – to stop, see, and maybe even appreciate these buildings that I love. After all, it’s not what you look at that matters… it’s what you see.
To me, architects are always telling stories and making statements through their work. I generally try to zero in on that story or statement, and find the best possible way to photograph the building to ensure that the message is conveyed properly in my photography.
Darren Bradley, 2018
San Diego, CA