Fotografía y arquitectura. Centre Canadien d' architecture. Detroit: The Invisible Content of a Photograph Text by Nancy Levinson. Photographs by Hedrich-Blessing

The true content of a photograph is invisible, for it derives from a play, not with form, but with time…. A photograph, whilst recording what has been seen, always and by its nature refers to what is not seen. It isolates, preserves and presents a moment taken from a continuum…. One learns to read photographs as one learns to read footprints or cardiograms. The language in which photography deals is the language of events. All its references are external to itself. Hence the continuum.
— John Berger, “Understanding a Photograph,” New Society, 1968

The fifteen photographs in this slideshow—produced in 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s by the Chicago-based agency Hedrich-Blessing, then in the early years of its ascent—depict the two sides of Kahn’s oeuvre: the first eight show industrial projects, the next seven civic and business institutions. Today, of course, these images, skillful but not intentionally artistic, commissioned to document corporate achievement and industrial power, have taken on new meaning, new pathos.