Friday, March 27, 2015

Project in the Big Apple

About a year ago, a friend of mine asked if we would be interested in taking on a photography commission. Having never done such a thing, I wasn't really sure what that entailed. The commission was to fill a beautiful apartment on Roosevelt Island with our photography. Site specific... fill these walls. Part of the deal was that we were invited to come to NYC and stay in the apartment while we scouted and photographed to our heart's delight.

The image creation took the better part of the summer with multiple visits to NYC and Roosevelt Island. Over the winter we edited images and tried to sift through the mountain of images we had created. Part of the process was figuring out what would look best on these walls. It's one thing to make a great image, but the best image - printed at the wrong size, or on the wrong wall - is just useless. The uppermost image is the southeastern most bank of floor to ceiling windows... facing Queens and eye level with the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan. From this vantage, you can see the old hospital being torn down to make way for the new Cornell Tech campus.

On our trip down last month to start hanging artwork, we realized we would need to measure the walls accurately, so that when it came time to place the artwork, it would end up exactly where we wanted it. This image is where we started realizing that even with the shades drawn, the apartment gets so much sun during the day, that our laser level lines were tough to see.

Everything coming onto the island arrives via FedEx or UPS, including the artwork and our gear. On our last trip we were shocked/appalled/scared to find one of the boxes with metal prints, quite crunched up. Luckily, the inner packaging kept the work in perfect order. Whew!

When you have twelve foot ceilings and big maps of the New York waterways to hang, you start with the big stuff first. Set a level for the whole room, and start measuring everything on paper. In this case, we were able to use a fantastic collapsible ladder. Perfect for apartment dwelling!

Nancy was absolutely essential during this process. Inevitably, one of us needed to be across the room shooting a laser level or judging space along a wall.. and the other person would be trying to hold the artwork flat to the wall. Each of these metal prints has two small holes bored in the foam block that allows the print to float on the wall. That means each piece requires two perfectly horizontally hammered nails that are also perfectly in line with all the other pieces in the cluster.

This last image is a slightly wider shot showing the laser level at work. Over two days we hung nearly two thirds of the artwork for the apartment. The next trip in April will be filling the bedroom with massive framed black and white prints!

Now that you have some idea what we've been doing during the installation, the next post will be the "finished" images... the "after shots" if you will.


  1. Replies
    1. Meredith, it has been the most amazing opportunity. Totally challenged our business model and has changed our paradigm completely. Have you seen many of the images from our visits to NYC?

  2. What a wonderful opportunity! Looking forward to seeing the finished product. Good show!
    -- Karin W

    1. Bit by bit the work is all starting to come together. I was thinking about writing a post today with finished walls looking very sharp in the bright sunshine.

  3. That is just fantastic, Alex. What a wonderful journey of a project.

    1. Thanks, Kasia. It has been a heck of a project. Definitely helping reshape what I want to do as a business. This has been a much more personal project than most. It has pushed me way outside of my boundaries. Best of all, it hasn't stopped being exciting since we first began discussing it.