Thursday, December 16, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

You've arrived early to meet your friend Tom from Newtown, PA, who was in Phoenix for a meeting. We planned to meet him for lunch and get him to the airport by 2:30.

To be on the safe side (given a new restaurant, new part of the city, and uncertainty about route to airport and manuerving within the airport), we arrived early at the Hayden Ferry Lakeside complex, the site of his meeting.

The complex is covers 43 acres and includes office, commercial, retail and residential space along one mile of the south shore of Tempe Town Lake in Tempe.

Once we saw the complex, I was hooked by the architecture.

So, with a bit of time available, I grabbed my camera and just started looking for interesting angles in the buildings. (Photos #1 and #3 are different views of the same office and retail space; photo #2 is of the parking lot and condo.)

Now, taking photos of an office building is bound to raise questions in the minds of people who view the building as merely a destination, not a work of art.

"Getting any good shots?" was the opening question from a 20-something young man.

Fifty years ago, when my college roommate and I would walk around Iowa City taking photographs of rust, old buildings with worn paint, and anything else unusual, we drew a few glances and a head shake.

Today, taking photos of buildings housing brokerage firms and insurance companies, located (I later learned) at East Rio Salado Parkway and Mill Avenue, one of the three hottest intersections in Metropolitan Phoenix, was certain to raise questions based on suspicion, not simply curiosity.

But, with all the questions going through my mind, I responded to the question: "I'm really struck by all the architectural details and structure of these buildings."

"Are you an architec-tural pho-tographer?" was the next question.

"No, I just look for subjects to photograph wherever I am," I answered.

"My girlfriend is an architectural photographer, and I take her to parks just to have her use her skills in another setting," was his response.

We soon parted with an understanding of my actions and his questions. No reason for suspicion--on either of our parts.

I then returned to the buildings. The reflection of the office building in the windows of the condo created some interesting abstract images.

Since returning from the outing, I have been unable to find information about the materials used in the construction of the buildings, but I have learned that the architect for the building in Photos #1 and 3 was Cornoyer-Hedrick.

I later learned that the project used several construction innovations on its exterior to capture the impression of being under water.

I liked this unusual treatment to the corner of this building, but when I rotated the photo 90 degrees, I liked it even more.

In case you were wondering, we enjoyed a leisurely lunch with Tom and even made it to the airport by 1:30.

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