Like photographer Anderson Moran, who showed how scaffolding could be beautiful, German photographer, Thomas Struth, depicts a perspective-altering view of construction sites in his photo series “High Art.” The series is part of a larger work in the latest New York Times Magazine issue “The New York Issue: 800 Feet Above the City,” which included the virtual reality video Man on Spire, a climb to the top of 1 WTC. “High Art”gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at some of New York City’s tallest buildings as they were built, and at their completion.
Struth says that the building construction is like “urban surgery,” and he aimed to tell the story of the buildings from the perspective of construction and maintenance workers. But Struth’s photos also explore issues of anonymity versus intimacy in urban centers. Struth began taking photographs of New York City in 1978, and says that the photos he captured from the tops of buildings are “much more anonymous. If you consider what intimacy is: it’s closeness, it’s of privacy, protective moments. When you look out the window here, it’s shocking.” It’s a feeling echoed by Jimmy Chinn of his view from 1 WTC’s spire: “It was really beautiful and almost lonely,” he described.
One World Trade Center/Photo by Thomas Struth for the New York Times
A video included in the photo series captures the lengths Struth took to get the perfect picture. Often, Struth had to climb to the tops of other towers to get the photos of the building he needed. The photo below is the view of One World Trade Center from Four World Trade Center. In another photo, he captured the top of the Chrysler Building as seen from the MetLife Building.
In Struth’s photos, the viewer is able to see details of each building that they could not see from a vantage point on the ground. See the rest of his series and the other projects in “800 Feet Above the City” on the New York Times website.
Next, check out the see-through floor the external elevator on the 1 WTC construction site. Learn about the secrets of the 9/11 Memorial.