Sea Wall, Acre, Israel, 2011
The Mediterranean lashes the base of a sea wall built on a foundation created by the Crusaders in the 12th Century, when Acre was Palestine’s chief port. The wall itself dates from the reign of the Ottomans, and survived the siege of Napoleon in 1799. I cropped down on the wall to draw the eye into the waves, intensifying their battering force.
Office building, Cuenca, Ecuador, 2011
Cuenca is an Andean city rich in 18th, 19th, and early 20th century architecture. This elegant office building’s form fills the horizon, below a sky that speaks here of the stormy weather that is nearly always a moment away at an altitude of 9,000 feet. My 24mm wideangle focal length links the rhythmic repetition of the arched windows to the spectacular clouds that surge overhead.
Pan, Orpheum Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona, 2011
When photographing buildings I always look for details that capture the essence of the buildings style and purpose. The Orpheum was built in 1929 as a vaudeville venue. Later, it would become a movie theatre, its elegant moldings and ceiling covered in black paint. In 1984, the city of Phoenix purchased the Orpheum and began a $14 million restoration. Today it is used for theatrical performances. In this image, I used a long lens from a few blocks away, shooting through the trees to focus on a sculpture of Pan, the Greek god of, among other things, theatrical criticism. Pan plays a flute, within a Baroque arch. The softly focused leaves frame the arch, taking us back into time.
Niche, Orpheum Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona, 2011
A building’s interior detail can be as expressive as those on its exterior surface. The Orpheum Theater, which appeared in the previous image, is no exception. Its lovely baroque ornamentation was intended to enhance the theatrical experience itself. This niche in the theatre’s lobby, framed by figured tiles, contains a vase holding a spray of delicate flowering stems. The lobby niche expressed a sense of elegance, wealth, and beauty, all of which are what the Orpheum experience is all about.
Contrasting eras, New York City, New York, 2010
Shifting my vantage point and using a super wideangle lens, I bring together the art deco Empire State Building and the art nouveau canopy over the 34th street entrance to the former B. Altman department store. I juxtapose these two architectural triumphs, placing them only inches apart within my frame. I contrast the eras during which the two buildings were constructed. Altman’s, the first department store on Fifth Avenue, was built in 1906, while the Empire State Building was erected in 1931.
Weathervane, West Dover, Vermont, 2010
A lopsided gilded weathervane distinguishes this gazebo at a Vermont inn. Rather than photograph the entire building, I shoot only the roof, cupola, and the tilted weathervane itself. The wings of the gilt eagle and the feathers on the arrow just below it still manage to catch the wind, aligning the arrow and the directional locators in spite of the tilt. That tilt gives the entire building its character, and the soft clouds hanging in the blue sky overhead embrace all of it.
Midgley Bridge, Sedona, Arizona, 2009
Named after W.W. Midgley, who ranched cattle in Sedona in the 19th Century, this bridge spans the gorge where Wilson Canyon enters Oak Creek Canyon. It was built in 1939, the final link in the Oak Creek Canyon highway connecting Sedona and Flagstaff. I include only half of its span in this image in order to draw attention to the spot where its steel girders nestle into the glowing red rocks that give the region its identity. A row of trees, illuminated by the morning sun, appears to be incongruously crossing the bridge’s deck.
Gilded Towers, Lavra Monastery, Kiev, Ukraine, 2009
I photographed these churches from a distance, using a hill to hide the lower sections. By revealing only the upper portions of these churches, I abstract the buildings and leave more to the imagination of the viewer, giving the gleaming gold domes primacy, and the buildings more stature.
Saint Sofia Cathedral, Kiev, Ukraine, 2009
The setting sun bathes the ornate façade surrounding the crowded courtyard that stands before Kiev’s oldest church. I fill the frame with the façade, suggesting that the façade continues well beyond the limits of my photograph. It dwarfs the shadowy figures that surge through its entrance, a monument to both a religion and Ukrainian history.
Hagia Sofia, Istanbul, Turkey, 2009
This building is one of the world’s greatest architectural achievements. Built as a Byzantine cathedral in 537 AD, it became an Ottoman mosque in the 15th century. Today is neither church nor mosque, but a stunning monument to Istanbul’s colorful history. The original church was designed an “earthly mirror of the heavens” and my image echoes that theme by featuring a mysterious cloudscape that floats over its vast dome. Evening light warms the structure’s colors, particularly the shockingly red façade at its center.
Stairwell, State Capitol Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, 2009
The early 20th century iron staircase still serves visitors to this museum, which occupies the structure that was once the territorial and state capitol of Arizona. Most visitors would never see this sight – the base of the stairwell is hidden away in a storage room. However the door to the storage room was left open, making it possible for me to make this image. I used a new wideangle zoom lens for this image, set at its widest focal length: 7mm, which is equivalent to 14mm in 35mm terms on my camera. This superwide focal length expands the field of view to cover not only the staircase, but also some empty storage shelves at its base, which anchor the image. The ornate iron railings that lead the eye through the image define the character of the building itself, and the wide 14mm field of view intensifies the dizzying impact of the scene.
Morning walk, The Presidio District, Tucson, Arizona, 2009
Tucson’s Presidio was built in 1775, defending a town that began as Spanish, then became Mexican, and finally American. The old fort is long gone, but it has given its name to a neighborhood of restored buildings that is now home to Tucson artisans and businesses. We saw this bearded man heading towards us, and I waited until he and his dog framed the door of this pristine 19th century restoration.