Photographers Spotlight – Tess Kelly

Tess Kelly.

They’re very used to being behind the scenes: capturing the country’s most stunning architecturally designed homes for glossy magazines and blogs globally. Here, as part of a new Brickworks series, we turn the focus on two of our leading architectural photographers, who talk beginnings, inspiration and favourite shoots.


Melbourne-based Tess Kelly works across architecture and interiors. Her photographs have appeared in local and international publications including Belle, Elle Decoration UK, Real Living, Hauser in Germany and Dwell in San Francisco.

How did you get started in photography?

I started to get interested in high school. A typical story: my dad passing down his old 35mm SLR Pentax and me getting a little carried away with photographing family members and landscapes in my spare time. I loved the process of analog photography, and I found I was able to explore, express and communicate in a way that I couldn’t with other art forms. I was accepted into both graphic design and the commercial photography degree at RMIT post my VCE. I was unsure whether I could make a viable career out of photography, however I decided to accept the offer and see where it could take me.

Garden Room House by Clare Cousins Architects.

What are the main challenges you face as an architectural photographer?

The weather. As an architectural photographer, you are for the most part working with the sun, with ambient light. You need to work methodically, be time conscious, be considering the sun and light direction at all times. The strength and the direction of the sunlight will change and dictate the overall interest and quality of your image. Quick problem-solving is absolutely necessary and common practice.

Photographers Spotlight – Tess Kelly
Truganina Display Home by Impact Homes.

Tell us about one of your most memorable shoots.

I don’t think I could have been happier than when photographing a beautiful, 100-year-old, renovated machiya (townhouse) in Kyoto a few years back. It was incredibly beautiful in a very humble sense, meticulously thought through and with such lovely detailing and craftsmanship. Photographing a series of Tadao Ando projects throughout Japan is also very high on the list.

Article by brickworksbp

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Photographers Spotlight – Tess Kelly

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