Monday, September 21, 2015

The Art of Architectural Photography 9-22-2015

There are some who favor stillness in their lives, in the arts and even in the weather.  I love motion.  In all aspects of my waking hours ( I DO favor a quiet sleep!), I like to feel that things are moving around me.  The swirl of people; the feel of the wind; rolling waves, all appeal to my personal tempo.  When looking at a still mirror lake, I am most fascinated by an errant bubble rising to the surface or a moving cloud sliding across the reflection. Movement gives stillness life for me. 

Perhaps my passion for movement was the impetus for my fascination with elevators.  Or was it that I grew up in a single family house?  Down the street from my childhood home was a six-story apartment building with an elevator.  The apartment building was a simple brick rectangular structure, but to me it was a portal to fantasy: elevator rides.  I loved the sliding steel doors with their magical silvery glow.  As they swished open, I would quickly glance left and right to make sure no one else was going up.  Then, as the doors hissed closed, I merrily pressed every floor button on the panel.  In those days they were black projecting circles with white etched numbers on them.  A single strip of fun for a little girl.  The fan shaped dial would indicate the floors with an arrow shaped arm that pointed to numbers: 1, 2, 3 and so on.  It was a great activity until the "super" or a tenant caught me and I was ousted for the rest of the day.

Many of the elevators of my childhood were simple steel or wooden door affairs with little decoration.  However, on trips to Brooklyn's downtown shopping or Manhattan's department stores or hotels, I was awe struck by the magnificent brass paneled elevator doors.  All sorts of imagery graced these stunning elevators housed in ornate lobbies. Many are gone now.  Progress.  Recently I went into a midtown NYC hotel and found the lobby so changed I hardly recognized it.  Yet, the elevators were still there.  An entire bank of gleaming brass door, intricately designed to delight the eye and add elegance to surroundings. To invite the visitor into a special place of sophistication and luxury. This elevator door tells the story of another age.  I still love riding in elevators (Today I rarely press every floor button!), but to ride in one like this is to enter a yesteryear of artistry and style.

                                                      Sepia Architectural Photography

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Monday, September 7, 2015

The Art of Architectural Photography 9-8-2015

Amusement parks hold a special fascination and pleasure for me.  As a child, growing up in Brooklyn, I loved our trips to Steeplechase in Coney Island.  My brothers and I each had a favorite ride and we would challenge each other to see who could ride the ride the most times.  The eponymous Steeplechase ride, wooden horses that wound their way around and above the park on a track with only a thin strap to keep the rider safe, was my particular thrill.  I would ride the ride 10+ times before the afternoon trip wound down, waving my arms in the air, looking at the people below, feeling the freedom and lightness that joyful and daring adventures bring.  The ride dynamics also intrigued me.  Why did the track dip here?  How did the horses stay on the track?  Was the boarding platform close enough to the horses?  Thus began my passion for and captivation with amusement parks and rides.

This summer I was delighted to visit a few amusement parks.  Anew, I looked at the rides with great interest.  The design, construction, architecture, engineering of the rides are as important as the building of any structure; however, unlike constructing a building, the rides are in constant motion, must provide a thrilling and or pleasing sensation and ultimately, safety is essential.  These exquisite features of the park are perhaps some of the most complex and wonderful architecture that exist.  Gems of functionality and eye appeal, rides are often overlooked in their superb craftsmanship and development that are required to provide a good time while keeping riders safe.  Next time you are near an amusement park, state fair, carnival or other event, look at the rides:  engineering and architecture seamlessly joined as one.

                                                Black and white architectural photography

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