Blog for the photos to speak
Walled up wall street
From the series "New York by the bird"
On this day, the helicopter had for flight plan to hover above Wall Street (indeed, I didn't have good photos of Trinity church), with the pilot asked to stay at the lowest permitted altitude. Of course, after a while, bankers below didn't appreciate to see this kind of black vulture; we have to leave Manhattan. But before to be kicked from my roost, I was able to make a series on this Greek revival memorial (the Federal Hall, the small lego brick in the middle, with the colonnade). Just at the crossroad of Wall street (the road from left to right, almost invisible) with Broad street (from the bottom up). In this area thickly built (you don't see much of the sun, even in summer), it's a relieve to find this 1830's building so kitsch, made on plan worthy of Plato's antique Greece. You imagine the oracle in the heart of this sanctuary, with the Pythia predicting the future. It would be a good idea for the bankers around to use it more often for their own financial predictions. Question of reliability, it should be wise.
The apocalyptic reverie
Optimism is so often a let-down. I mean, I'm a happy guy. Normal. My work is my passion. But it's far more fun to see the misery of our own lives. There are stories when you unearth the sorrows of souls, souls uprooted from the dust, at dusk, in the lust. The fight against sadness is beautiful. As the rage to be, despite being always thrust. The disgust chokes some hopes, the hopes you didn't admit before; the disgust gives you the guts to see a truth. To know; it's invigorating. Joy is a reaction of a pessimist knowing that a pleasure will end. But happiness is a dull feeling around which nothing happens. The beatitude of angels. The bliss is not the ignorance, not the beatific smile which eradicates the past and the future. Without start, without end, what the hell, there are no tales. Without chronicles to tell, why even to bother oneself about quarrels? I don't like euphoric unanimous views. I prefers opinions, with an origin, with a conclusion. In short, stories. The bliss is not to hear; it's to listen. The bliss is no to see; it's to watch. The bliss is not to live; it's to have stories to spread. That's why we are a bunch of lucky bastards. We are storytellers. We are photographers. I don't try to receive a consent to this. I'm just itching powder.
Seagull in plastic boots
Forget the Grand Canyon. Rather dive amid the iron cliffs of Midtown in New York City. Don't look up, trust your safety harness. Have a firm on your camera to counter the wind. By the gaping breach in which a tornado has entered, put your head outside. Look down. The GE building, here, it's the Rockefeller building with people on the open-air rooftop. On the right, there, the three similar "slab" skyscrapers are the Celanese building (1973), the McGraw-hill building (1969) and the Exxon building (1969), all of them by the architect Wallace Harrison, all of them built in the International II style. Not every one like these towers, but I do, perhaps because I'm a photographer (all these lines… yummy… ). I enjoy as well their changes of light/shadows along each of my tiny steps, well, when I'm walking, not flying. For the scale, appreciate the cars at their feet. PS: I'm the seagull. At least, same fondness for sardines.
Heartbeats in an iron chest, here around the Chrysler building. The density of New York City is one of my favorite theme, almost my speciality now. It's, for me, an endless source of thoughts and paradoxes (about our private sphere in a gregarious society, about taciturn relations in a world obsessed by communications, and so on…). It's the constant root of feelings about the inhumanity wished by our human essence in order to reach a pseudo deification, which is, by nature, unnatural.
Land of blood and honey
Manhattan on a bad day. For them (those without camera). A day for a gathering of clouds. The rain is being no more a promise, just an obvious fact for the next minutes. The helicopter is without doors and weighs 1450 lbs (658 kg), I mean, it's nothing, you feel each breeze, not to mention the nasty gusts coming from dark shadows. While hovering above midtown, feet on the edge, I feel the first drops on my head and heard the pilot's grumbles. You know, then, it's the best time of this journey. And you take the photographs.
Today, I wear for you the tour guide's cap. We are a bit further up in Manhattan, still on the edge of the Financial district. You can see on the left (with the tiny bridges on it) the back of the Woolworth building (1913, neo-gothic, by Cass Gilbert, 792 feet, 241 meters). Mr Woolworth pays everything in cash with the five and ten cents coins coming from his chain of, well, five-and-ten-cents stores. Let's continue the visit. To the right, near the frame, you will see a small spot under construction: it's Ground Zero. By the way, the big cubic skyscraper in front of the building site is the 7 World Trade Center. Behind, the big ugly black mammoth is the 1 Liberty Plaza (1973, International Style II). Now, a bit more in the center of the photo, the black elegant pencil is the Millennium Hilton hotel (1992, Late modern). I told you before, we are on the edge of the Financial district. The big neighborhood, flat in appearance, and taking the center of this composition is the south of Tribeca. You should see Robert De Niro somewhere… This area is highly sensitive (Ground Zero, World Trade Center, Wall street) so I space out my flights above this part of New York city.
Stompin' down Broadway
I don't only work with Manhattan skylines, and sometimes, I like to put my feet on the skids (long metal platforms of a helicopter), I like to twist the harness and to be neither comfortable nor relaxed. I relish hovering my dear camera above the void (with a shoulder harness…), and thus doing it my conk as well. Despite the vertigo and the lump in my throat, it's always interesting to look down. You get some amazing perspectives and some powerful dynamics, so many of them that you have the feeling to fish in Mongolian lakes (well, that's because those are horns of plenty, trouts wise). Just feel the sweet iron curves and the smalls of the buildings' backs. Oh yeah… Use some Barry white's songs for the mood and enjoy the views above New York city!
It's Times Square neighborhood:
- The strongest avenue here is broadway
- The other avenue, behind, is the 7th one
- Down right corner, the building with Allianz III logo is the Paramount Plaza, International Style, Emery Roth sons (fathers of hundreds of NYC skyscrapers) , 1971
- The almost flat building between the avenues is the Winter Garden Theatre (poor thing in the feet of giants), William Albert Swasey, 1911
- The building with the Buffalo logo (center) is the 750 7th avenue building (superb. Feel my sarcasm…), Post-modernism, Kevin Roth, 1989
- Finally, in the up left corner, the building in juxtaposed cubes is the Lehman Brothers building (don't spit on your screen, please), Post-modernism, Kohn Pedersen, 1999