Trois D’un Coup, 2011
Sometimes in your quest to make a photograph of a familiar place that is different from what you’ve done before you strike upon a new angle or perspective or notice some feature of that familiar subject that you haven’t noticed before.
That’s how it was one morning two weeks ago when I arrived in New York. I’d taken the shuttle bus in from La Guardia that drops you off on Park Avenue in front of Grand Central Terminal. I was toting a briefcase and dragging a roll-aboard suitcase and had twenty blocks to walk to get to my hotel further downtown. (It was such a pretty day that I was happy to have the walk.) But as regular readers will know, I can’t be that close to Grand Central and not pull out the camera.
What I wanted was a new and hopefully more interesting photo of the southern façade of Grand Central. Unfortunately, every angle I tried resulted in a picture I’d either taken or see a hundred times before.
Then I decided to just let go and forget what I thought I wanted to photograph. I snapped off a dozen or so completely mindless shots. Then, standing at the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, instead of looking out, as I have many times through the year---here and here, for example—I instead looked up. The picture above was the result.
I really hadn’t cared to make the MetLife Building the dominant feature in this photograph. And I suspect someone could look at this photograph and wonder whether I’ve just Photoshopped all of the different buildings into it.
I didn’t. This is straight from the camera. While the resulting image is not what I set out to photograph, I am intrigued by the way I was able to use the canopy over a doorway as a framing device. I wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped, however, in featuring the eagle whose silhouette you might just be able to pick out, as a foreground element. Live and learn.
I hope to be back at Grand Central briefly later this week. If the sunlight is good, I’m going to see if I can do a better job.