One of the great architectural photographers of our day, Kim Sargent has spent 40 years capturing the essence of design spaces in South Florida and around the globe.
The son of a San Francisco newspaper photographer, Kim Sargent spent hours in his dad’s darkroom as a child. “My father would put a blank piece of paper in a solution, and an image would appear—it was magic,” Sargent recalls. “Obviously, that had a huge hook in me.”
Following the pull of that photographic hook, Sargent (known to friends as “Sarge”) moved to the Palm Beaches in 1977 at the age of 25 to work as a staff shooter at Palm Beach Life and The Shiny Sheet. He captured images of fashion, society, and lifestyles but soon discovered his passion (and talent) for shooting locations—architectural details, interior design installations, and even natural landscapes.
“When I was a fashion photographer, there was a lot of rush,” Sargent says. Shooting spaces, on the other hand, allowed him to spend time working a signature process that he calls EOE: Evaluate, Organize, Execute. “The [end] goal is to have captured a great image that pleases the client,” he says, adding that a bonus is the evolving influence architects and interior designers have on his work. “It’s a beautiful marriage of industries.”
Photography by Kim Sargent
Sargent’s keen sense of light and space gives his images an illuminated, inhabitable quality. Celebrated interior designer Carleton Varney once noted that his work “embraces the spirit and passion of an Ansel Adams.” His images have appeared in prestigious design publications including Architectural Digest, Veranda, Elle Décor, and House Beautiful, and he has collaborated on several books, including John Loring’s Tiffany’s Palm Beach and Palm Beach Splendor: The Architecture of Jeffery W. Smith by Joyce C. Wilson.
To celebrate Sargent’s 40 years in Palm Beach, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County will showcase his architectural photography in its North Gallery May 5 through June 30. “To be able to go through an archive and edit, sort, and reminisce for an end result like this show is a huge reward,” he says of the exhibit.
Sargent, now 65 and living in Palm Beach Gardens, continues to shoot commissions worldwide, including homes, yachts, and travel destinations. Carrying on the family tradition are his two sons, who have recently joined the business that Sargent sees as a natural extension of himself. “Photography is my way of communicating,” he says. “If I didn’t have a camera in my hand, I’d be nervous or upset. When I have it, I feel calm and relaxed—and I capture some great images.”
Architectural photographer Kim Sargent also has a green thumb. He plants botanicals and photographs them as they grow. Here, 12 gorgeous shots that are a culmination of 20 years of garden imagery. —Michelle Lee Ribeiro