Almost a year ago in August, on a trip up north, I made a visit to NYC’s World Trade Center site to see its changes since the devastation of 9/11. I had visited several years after the attack when the Freedom Tower had yet to reach its full height, and neither the museum or the transportation hub were completed. And I also visited the site about two weeks after the destruction while the mountain of rubble remained, and the smell still hung heavy in the air. That visit will remain locked in my memory forever. This visit was to see what rose from that rubble.
The main photographic reason for going was to see first hand what I had only seen in architectural renderings: Oculus, the Port Authority transportation hub of Lower Manhattan. It really lived up to the hype I projected upon it, and would probably visit the site often if I were still living in NJ, but had to make due with just a couple of hours. I did previously post a few images from the visit (Click Here to see that post), but just never got around to working on a few frames for which I had specific intentions.
Having been completely destroyed all the way down to the lowest levels underground when the Twin Towers collapsed, this important train station reopened to the public 15 years later in 2016, and includes 800,000 sq/ft. of subterranean space. Above ground is a glass and steel structure designed by famed Spanish architect and structural engineer Santiago Calatrava, intended to resemble “a bird flying from the hands of a child,” bringing a sense of hope to a site of tragedy. Viewing the architecture for the first time, I was amazed at how enormous the odd shaped edifice was, soaring about 125-feet into the air and then sweeping outward, floating over the ground. At 350-feet, it is longer than a football field, and 115-feet wide, with the main concourse approximately 34 ft below street level, and 160 ft below the apex of the operable skylight that runs its length. It is nothing less than breathtaking.
From the photography of the architecture that day, I wanted to try something a bit different than the usual landscape photographs. Several of the frames were purposed to be “booked”; duplicating the frame in Photoshop, flipping that duplicate horizontally, and then matching the two identical ends together to make a mirrored image on an expanded canvas. The original thought was for them to be monochromatic, but the subtle colors of the blue sky and reflected light from surrounding buildings was evident on the exposed white architectural framework, allowing for a variety of approaches. And since they would be abstracts, quite a bit of artistic license would be allowed. Colors could be changed, enhanced, muted or eliminated all together in gray tones. The hope was to dive headlong into the explorations of some geometric forms and shapes.