Monday, June 25, 2007

Fire Escape Redux

I know, I know . . . I've painted fire escapes before and posted them to this blog. Like water towers and roof gardens, they're ubiquitous features of New York City architectural landscape and I do enjoy photographing and painting them. Particularly in older buildings like this example on Bond Street at Broadway, they add a nice angular geometry to an already interesting structure. And, in another reflection of "first principles" in my artistic mind, the fire escape acts as a great filter for the light, changing the nature of the image entirely. The carved faces which frame all of the windows on this very large building - probably 1870s or 1880s given the history of development along this section of Broadway - lend it extra character in an area often defined architecturally by neo-classical facades.

Of course, I always wonder if anyone has actually had to use them as an escape route or, in the days before air-conditioning, slept on them to escape the oppressive heat of a stifling apartment. (In this context, I'm always reminded of the 1938 "Heatspell" picture, shown left, by noted photographer Weegee.)

As always, I'm unhappy with the quality of the scan in terms of accurate color reproduction. Still don't know what to do about that issue.

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