Random Thoughts: Rip Van Winkle and Architecture

Whitewater West

Architectural photography is not my first choice for an assignment; I’m more of a run-and-gun photographer. But from years of overseas and domestic assignments I came to the realization that the kinetic structure of my knees are deteriorating and the pace of my stride is slowing. I live in my past as most men do at my age, but reality is insidious and has a way of redirecting ones life. In a conversation with my brother Mark we discussed reinvention, evolution and acceptance as we age. I’ve witnessed him overcome incredible odds in La La Land (Hollywood) to becoming a very successful Producer while all along maintaining his integrity – which is the cornerstone of character. He now lives in the great Northwest freeing his spirit from the tragic and deviant characters of Hollywood. As T.S. Eliot said,

“We shall not cease from exploring,

And the end of our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.”

How appropriate, only recently has Mark rediscovered his passions that have lied dormant for several decades.  One of which is using his hands to build and create – he is the only man I know who has built a home from the ground up.

So what does all this have to do with Architectural photography? My assignment was to photograph an older building that is being refurbished, redecorated and rehabilitated. While editing the images I suddenly became aware of the buildings name. By definition Keystone is the central stone at the summit of an arch locking the whole together. The camera is my cornerstone, holding my perception of the world together with its steel, plastic and glass.

I have heard that Architecture is like frozen music and is assembled in light that fills an empty space. So, are we architects of our own life? We lay our foundation in youth with education and life experiences as we try desperately to avoid the pitfalls as we whimsically journey to completion. It becomes apparent as we age to measure the space and spiritual dimensions of our past, the games we played and the poetic inventions of our heart. For some of us, we did this without a blueprint and struggled, but quickly learned that for every new situation and issue requires new architecture. Like the Keystone building that I photographed, I am reinventing, refurbishing, and rehabilitating with a solid foundation without breaking new ground.

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Whitewater West

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