In three weeks I am headed to Barrow, Alaska, to photograph Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital for HDR Architecture. Located three hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, Barrow is the northernmost city in North America- and certainly the northernmost place I have ever been. At this time of year, the temperatures look to be in the 20-30 degrees range, with about 14 hours of sunlight daily. I’m told Polar Bears can be an issue.
Please allow me to officially introduce an ongoing body of work entitled “GREEN ROOFS NYC.” This portfolio serves a dual purpose. It is my intent to bring an exploration of what this technology is and does to a wider audience, and also to examine these ecologies in relative scale to the environmental challenges they help mitigate.
With the ongoing development of our great metropolises comes a growing awareness of how they impact the finite water, air, land, and ultimately life sustaining natural resources that surround them. Our planet is undergoing a population explosion and a paradigm shift as previously underdeveloped nations industrialize, while industrialized nations move away from the agrarian models of earlier centuries. Populations are returning to urban centers and there is a growing desire to make them more livable.
The cumulative actions of many can make a difference, and this provides the backdrop for my narrative.
Please join me as I continue to photograph a wide variety of projects and ecologies – Green roofs and walls, blue and white roofs, storm and wastewater management systems and components, urban heat islands, and of course the people and firms involved in the design, construction, and transformation that is happening all around us at a quickening pace.
Last week I was able to visit the World Trade Center site- this image of One World Trade was made from an exterior setback on the 48th floor of Tower Four.
Over the years I have had the privilege of working with some very talented people, and always strive to learn from each collaboration how to better incorporate the genius of those around me. I’m a big fan of keeping an illustrated notebook where I can reference all of these “rules”. It is a great resource to have in multiple contexts- I have found myself flipping through the pages for both inspiration and technical specifics.
On the subject of “people- ing”. While there are situations in Architectural Photography where it may not be appropriate to incorporate people in images, I always try and do so when permissible. It not only helps to illustrate scale, but adds a dynamic of functionality by portraying the space in use. In addition, from a photographer’s point of view, using people also significantly increases an image’s “salability” to a broader audience. One must be careful though- if the person or persons are clearly recognizable, be smart and get a model release.
The above images are both from a recent assignment for Mancini Duffy, an international Architecture and Design Firm. (Assignment location undisclosed at request).