Architectura Obscura As Seen On Instagram

Kris Barkley

July 14, 2016

Photo 1

2015 Architectura Obscura 2nd Place Winner / Photograph by Zohar Bogin

Have you ever snapped a quick photo only to look at it later and be completely surprised when you discover something interesting you hadn’t initially noticed? Have you ever driven by a particular building or structure many times, not noticing its unique features until you walked by? Don’t worry, it’s not just you. We often look without truly seeing, particularly in this age of digital distraction.

So how do people truly see things? Sketching is a great way. It really makes you slow down and pay attention. But, for most of us, it’s a big commitment (though I highly recommend giving it a shot…it’s fun!). Given the time it takes, the lens of a camera is probably the best choice for most of us. Smartphones make taking photos easy and accessible and nearly everyone has the means to capture and share how they see the world around them.

Photo 2

Jeff Koons sculpture at the Frank Gehry, FAIA designed Bilbao Guggenheim / Photo by yours truly.

A few years ago, I helped launch the Architectura Obscura architectural photography competition through the American Institute of Architects Central Valley Chapter (AIACV). The goals of the competition are simple:

  • Increase awareness of architecture and design;
  • Provide a stronger connection of non-architects to the profession of architecture, and;
  • Provide another creative outlet that can be experienced by all who choose to participate.

Our traditional gallery-quality print submissions will continue as an important part of Architectura Obscura, but now we have expanded the competition to include digital submissions through Instagram. This will provide opportunities to connect to a new generation of photographers while getting the word out about our new partnership with Comstock’s Magazine and @visitsacramento.

So what are you waiting for?

To Enter Digital / Instagram Contest: Add #archobs2016 to your posted (and public) photo(s) by Thursday, July 28, 2016.

To Enter Print / Photograph Submission: Complete an entry form and submit by Thursday, July 28, 2016 by 4:30 pm to the AIA Central Valley Office. Entry forms/info available at:

Photo 3

Competition postcard on how to enter with previous Architectura Obscura winning photos (clockwise from top left): Robert Jensen, Rudy Calpo, AIA, Charles McDonald, Peter Saucerman, AIA, Rudy Calpo, AIA and Richard Halliburton.


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