Le Corbusier and the Power of Photography

Nathalie Herschdorfer, Lada Umstätter


The development of one of the twentieth century’s greatest architects was inextricably connected to the rise of the century’s most popular visual medium: photography. Marking the 125th anniversary of Le Corbusier’s birth, this remarkable publication traces the many ways in which the architect used photography to define and disseminate his work and ideas around the world. 

Because his buildings are usually shown in a documentary manner, the candid, personal, artistic, and often unexpected images reproduced here offer new insights and ways to appreciate the many facets of the man behind his works. The topics covered include Le Corbusier’s early experimentation with photography; how he employed photography in promotional materials relating to his buildings and ideas; and his use of large-scale imagery in his buildings and exhibitions. There is also a section devoted to contemporary photographic interpretations of his buildings. 

With contributions by  Norman Foster, Tim Benton, Arthur Ruegg, Veronique Boone, Catherine de Smet, Klaus Spechtenhauser, and Jean-Christophe Blaser.


Analyzes Corb as a scene-setter, from Chandigarh in India to Villa Savoye in France.

— Surface

Encompass[es] the way many ways [Le Corbusier] engaged with photography throughout his lifetime. The graphic design is bright and energetic; there is plenty of text, but it is primarily a book of images.

— Aperture

Superb and scholarly.

— The Wall Street Journal

[An] impressive collection of images and analysis.

— Publishers Weekly

Do we really need another book about [Le Corbusier]? It turns out we do, for this one takes a quite unusual view of the master’s work, examining the close relationship between his architecture and another art form that was developing alongside: photography.

— Interior Design

[This book] reveals that the architect was an enthusiastic cameraman himself…Includes a sumptuous portfolio of contemporary images of Le Corbusier’s most famous buildings.

— Elle Decor


Nathalie Herschdorfer

Edited By

Nathalie Herschdorfer is a curator and art historian specializing in the history of photography. She is the director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Le Locle, Switzerland.

Lada Umstätter

Edited By

Lada Umstätter is chief curator of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.