New York Rises at the Museum of the City of New York
Just saw a very nice exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York that uses the photos of the chief photographer for the NYC Dept of Bridges, Plants and Structures. It runs through October.
The exhibit is of 50 original and contemporary prints of the many of New York's bridges, etc., made from the 8x10 glass negatives in the city's archives. The prints are a mix of printing-out-paper, and original (selenium toned) and contemporary silver gelatin prints.
The prints are beautiful. The compositions are surprisingly artful given the origin of the photos. The use of depth-of-field is truly beautiful.
As someone who works in construction, has a background in historic preservation, and has a fascination with NYC history, this show was a hat-trick. Unfortunately, the book accompanying the exhibit wasn't much more than reproductions of the exhibit. Given the size of the archives, the book could have been much, much more comprehensive.
I'm not surprised that the photographs have such professional quality.
Many agencies such as Bridge and Tunnels had the opportunity in the Great Depression to hire top notch, down-on-their-luck professionals in many disciplines. And many of them remained in public employment afterwards as they'd found secure jobs with favorable pensions etc. were worth keeping.
But I'm a bit upset that you posted this because now I may have to figure a way to sneak out of work some afternoon this coming week for a quick visit!
Even at $9, it was worth it. My friend and I must have spent a couple minutes looking at each print. Makes me long for the original walkway on the 59th St Bridge.
The photographer started with them 20 years before the depression. He had no known photography background, and previously ran a boarding house in New Jersey. He appears to have worked under the head of the department for 3 years before the fellow died and then took it over.