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Suchitra Van, the principal of Van Studio in New York City, boasts a fairly traditional architectural education and often he uses his skills in fairly traditional ways, designing apartment interiors or entering memorial competitions, just like any other architect trying to forge a career.

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Image one: Shirts Drying, 2003, from the series Estrangement; Image two: Sleeping Baby, 1999, from the series Estrangement. All photography © Suchitra Van.

But to call Van an architect would be to limit him, by his own admission. He bills Van Studio as "a design studio for architecture, photography, and fabrication." Even that does not cover the extent of his interests. He takes commercial photographs, having worked for Tillett Lighting Design and Maya Lin, as well as Lincoln Center. He takes artistic photographs, having mounted gallery shows. He builds architectural models. He fabricates prototypes for other designers. And he designs his own products, and other objects, such as awards.

The images on this page represent a small selection of Van's artistic photography. Sleeping Baby was taken in India and won first prize in a competition sponsored by Better Photography. Shirts Drying, which is a part of the same series, was also shot in India. Both photographs were auctioned to support the South Asia Against AIDS Foundation. Shirts Drying was auctioned at Christie's auction house in New York City.

Recently, Van has begun a series of photographs showing New Yorkers in their living or working spaces. The photos show how people take the small spaces typical of New York City and make them their own by adding things that they love, much as Suchitra Van has taken the typical, narrow definition of architectural practice and carved out his own space.

By Kevin Lerner

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