Over the course of five years—and with seemingly limitless access—Richard Ross has been making thought-provoking pictures of architectural spaces that exert power over the individuals within them. The visually cool Palacio de Lecumberri is part of a larger body of work titled Architecture of Authority—a comprehensive sociopolitical investigation of architectural spaces, both exterior and interior, that exert psychological power over individuals. From civic spaces to religious institutions, Ross points out how individuals are strategically manipulated through carefully planned design. What is particularly ironic in this stately, somewhat romantic image of the Palacio de Lecumberri is that there is no residual evidence of its former identity as a prison. Ross's photographs are aesthetically sophisticated, emotionally charged, and visually compelling. His approach to photography is to show you an idea and then ask you to think it through.
Richard Ross (born 1947, New York) has taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara, since 1977. He has photographed for the New York Times Magazine, Discover, Vogue, and Frankfurter Allgemeine and is represented by ACME Gallery in Los Angeles. His work is in the collections of the Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; British Museum, London; Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; and Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. Ross has published nearly a dozen books, including Museology (Aperture, 1989) and Waiting for the End of the World (Princeton Architecture Press, 2004).