The spirit of Ezra Stoller inspired us all
I am writing in response to the death of Ezra Stoller (AJ 4.11.04).
Stoller didn't just inspire several generations to become architects and architectural photographers. His work, alive with humour, deep insight and telling perception, remained a constant source of ideals to aspire to.
For anyone who has experienced the physical effort, level of concentration and sheer determination needed to work in a photographic format as large as 8 x 10 , the respect due to Stoller is enormous. That he managed to make images of such incredible poetry, wit and playful spirit marks him as a great artist who transcended his craft to give us a richer and more profound experience of the architecture he photographed.
He would claim that his work was not art, that the art was the architecture. He would say that he never made a bad building good but could draw out the strengths of good architecture.
Stoller's modesty and simple practice of aesthetic purity made him the perfect partner to the architects whose work he helped make famous: Aalto, Breuer, Bunshaft, Gropius, Johnson, Kahn, Le Corbusier, Meier, Mies, Niemeyer, Pei, Rudolph, Saarinen, Frank Lloyd Wright.
His proximity to these incredible architects in part explains his legend; the respect they accorded him assures it.
To become a verb in your own lifetime is a fine achievement - for any designer to have their work 'Stollerised' must have been an affirming experience. But perhaps the greatest testament is the role Stoller played in introducing, encouraging, explaining and making believable the promise of a new, optimistic, intelligent and forward-looking architecture that embraced the modern age.
In today's world of ever more unrestrained, cynical and pyrotechnic construction, a man of Stoller's intellect, heart and imagination is needed more than ever before. Like other great photographers - Atget, Kertesz, Stand, Stieglitz - Stoller did more than just take photographs, he persuaded us to look with better eyes.
Tim Soar, Mundford, Norfolk