Slightly north of this area, between 30th and 31st Streets is where Alfred Stieglitz has his famous 291 Gallery from 1905-1917.
The Flatiron Building was a major skyscraper in the New York City in 1904. It had just been completed in 1902 and instantly became a defining element in the city landscape, a position it maintains even today. The building and the area around it became a magnet for painters and photographers. Two famous photographs -- one by Edward Steichen, the other by Alfred Stieglitz -- are shown below. Both were captured on a stormy winter day.
|Gum bichromate over platinum print of the Flatiron Building and horse drawn cabs by Edward Steichen in 1904.|
|This photo of a taxi and the Flatiron Building was taken from almost the exact location as Steichen's photo above it except that I had to move further out into the street because of the new street traffic pattern set up a few years ago.|
|Photogravure print of the Flatiron Building in snow, Alfred Stieglitz, 1903.|
I have worked in this area for decades. Currently, I live just around the corner from where the 291 Gallery stood -- the building demolished a long time ago and replaced with a large, non-descript edifice. Yesterday evening I went to the area where both Stieglitz and Steichen took there photos. As I stood in the exact spot where Stiechen photographed the cab drivers with the Flatiron behind it I thought about how difficult it must have been on a cold winter evening of 1904 to be there with a large, cumbersome camera on a tripod. Here I was with the latest in digital cameras, a Fuji X-T1 camera -- now thankfully weather resistant -- equipped with an 18-135mm zoom and enough vibration reduction and high ISO capability to do-away with the necessity of any tripod at all.
I walked around the park, then up Fifth Avenue to where 291 once stood, taking pictures along the way and passing dozens of smart-phone equipped pedestrians snapping away at the scene with an ease that would have left Steichen and Stieglitz scratching their heads in wonderment just over 110 years ago.
|The Flatiron Building photographed at dusk and framed by trees in Madison Square Park.|
|At dusk color from the lights of the Empire State Building bleed into the cloudy sky and falling snow to provide a monochromatic tone to this close up view.|
|Very early in the morning, around 4AM, the city took on a ghostly appearance. Passing clouds absorb the city lights providing a bright backdrop for this abandoned scene taken with the Fuji 10-24mm zoom.|
These images were taken in pretty much the same area of the city as my previous blog post. I have often said that what we should photograph is the effect changing weather has on a scene. Combining weather phenomena with a scene is what gives it a special quality that makes uniquely your own, and is also how some photographers can photograph the same scene over and over again but end up with a new picture each time. I sometimes use this type of repetitive effort as a way to hone my photographic skills. It forces me to create from my inner vision of what life is like at the given moment.
|In this image taken at 10mm with the Fuji 10-24mm zoom I liked the way the warm glow of the crossing streets near the bottom echo the same color at the yellow light on top of the Empire State Building.|