Photoessay: The Verticality Project, part II

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XXVI, Hong Kong

Today’s photoesssay is a continuation of the Verticality Project photoessay. I see this as an ongoing study of architecture. The aim is to replicate the feeling you get when you stand at the base of one of these things and look up: a sense of overbearing monolithic massiveness. The choice of a black and white square with no building base is deliberate: the sense of size remains because off the perspective, and the mood is maintained regardless of the color of the sky.

The majority of these were shot in San Francisco and Chicago, with a Pentax 645Z. Enjoy! MT

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XXVII, Chicago

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XXVIII, Trump Tower, Chicago

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XXIX, Chicago

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XXX, Wyndham building, Chicago

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XXXI, Chicago

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XXXII, Aqua Tower, Chicago

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XXXIII, Hancock Tower, Chicago

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XXXIV, Chicago

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XXXV, Chicago

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XXXVI, Chicago

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XXXVII, Neiman Marcus, San Francisco

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XXXVIII, Chicago

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XXXIX, Chicago

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XL, Millennium Park, Chicago

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XLI, Chicago

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XLII, Hobart Building, San Francisco

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XLIII, San Francisco

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XLIV, Bank of America, San Francisco

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XLV, Transamerica Pyramid, San Francisco

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XLVI, Embarcadero, San Francisco

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XLVII, San Francisco

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Comments

  1. Peter Boender says:

    Some delayed catching up here, Ming. What an exquisite series! I enjoyed these immensely. I especially liked XXVII, Chicago for its old world feel, XXIX, Chicago for the implied symmetry where it actually hasn’t any, XXXII, Aqua Tower, Chicago for the light that makes the facade look like a landscape and XXXIII, Hancock Tower, Chicago for the engulfing cloud.

    Never realized these pictures are presented in the square format until I read your accompanying text: “The choice of a black and white square with no building base is deliberate: the sense of size remains because off the perspective, and the mood is maintained regardless of the color of the sky.“. The second part of this comment (black and white to maintain mood across the series) is very helpful too.

    To be continued?

  2. Jorge Balarin says:

    Wonderful photos and architecture.

  3. skuramshin says:

    I love XXVII, Chicago. It captures the spirit of the building. Art Deco skyscrapers are so different.
    If making an Ultraprint, which size would you print it?

  4. Reblogged this on Hello world.!!.

  5. Walter Foreman says:

    I had an interesting experience while contemplating “XXXI, Chicago.” I was looking at the bottom of the photograph, noting how, in a superficially symmetrical framing, you gave the image life by NOT being symmetrical—the way you had the building meet the sides of the frame at a different level on each side, and the difference in lighting between the two “halves” of the building, the dark-light contrast up the middle and the contrast in texture between the two sides (which I assume would look the same if lit the same). As I was taking this in, concentrating on the lower part of the picture, I suddenly got the sense that the clouds in the upper right were moving in the wind, blowing past the building from left to right! When I looked directly at them, they started to slide back to the left (I understand this movement back, but not why they moved to the right in the first place!). Once I became aware of this effect, it tended to diminish—too much self-consciousness. But I did try this out on other photographs in the series where there were clouds behind the buildings. I got the strongest effect among the others on “XXXV, Chicago,” but here the clouds on the left appeared to blow toward the distance, away from the camera, rather than left or right. I just thought I’d report this, as a curiosity. In any case, splendid images!

    • Thank you – they’re not all symmetrical, but rather ‘balanced’ instead – I was going for a sense of evenness in visual weight left-right.

      • Walter Foreman says:

        I may not have made my point clear: what I was trying to comment on was the wonderful dynamism of your images of motionless buildings, the LIFE you give them by the choices you make (angles, lighting, etc.). At least, that’s the way the photographs work for me. I felt that the curious effect of the clouds (to my eyes if to no one else’s) was related to this dynamism. And I didn’t mean to suggest that because (again, at least to me) the pictures had such life that they didn’t also have the balance that you speak of.

        • Not at all. I think we’re talking across purposes: I think balance is necessary to create the impression of dynamism, which is born out of tension. If the tension is unequal across the frame, then you land up with your eyes just being pulled straight out rather than scanning from point to point and creating the impression of action/motion…

  6. Very nice work!

  7. The entire set is fantastic. You’ve not just captured scale but shape too which is tough to do with buildings like this. The processing is perfect too. Very nicely done.

  8. Stunning. Satisfying to view. Agree with Gerner about rich tonality. I like D800E/D810 but 645Z seems to lend itself quite well. Taken together this set seems among the best of Verticality to this date.

  9. I am always afraid of falling over backwards… Funny, I published a few Chicago shots from my archives this morning.

  10. Great shots, you will run out of buildings soon…:)

  11. Magnificent photography Ming. The DR of your 645 seems unsurpassed. Expoure and execution on AA level or above. The tonallity is incredible rich. PP work is unmatched IMHO.

  12. I know, it is almost impossible to get to an mid-level to capture these skycreepers the way they are contructed! Result, they must be captured from down below! For me it is an boring view, because almost all buildings have an similar look! I am saying it, because I’ve worked in the architure fields! But, not to be misunderstood, these images are very excellent captured!

    • Thanks. That’s part of the point: no matter how much effort is put in, most of the time this specific view from below is what the actual users of the buildings see every day…

  13. Stunning Work Ming! They are exceptional!

  14. Reblogged this on tolmima.

  15. very nice job. I like it.

  16. Dens of the overlords :p

  17. These are the best ones yet! Love XXX, Wyndham for its different variation. It’s almost like the prow of a ship.

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