I had an amazing opportunity this past summer to photograph some great architecture — my field of expertise but also my field of interest! — for a client. Nothing new there as I photograph architecture and buildings all the time. However, this shoot came about in a really different way and for a different purpose than my usual architecture, construction company, developer, and engineering firm clients.
One of the most iconic buildings in downtown Seattle is the 100-year-old Smith Tower. As a lover of architecture, I have photographed this building many times both from the air and on the ground. Its Beaux Arts styling and its historical significance as the tallest building west of the Mississippi R. until the early 1960’s, really helped mark Seattle on the map in the first half of the 20th century.
For this summer’s shoot, I was hired by the folks at a growing Seattle financial services company called Brighton Jones. When they first started out roughly ten years ago, these folks had their offices on the 28th floor of the Smith Tower — that’s about two rows below the Penthouse in the photo above right. Well, ten years down the road and they’ve opened offices in four more cities and employ lots more people than they did in 2004. And after cobbling together office space on more and more floors of the Smith Tower, last year they were finally forced to make the move to a different part of town with lots more room to spread out — but sadly a lot less view. But as part of the move, the firm decided it’d be nice to pay homage to their roots by somehow incorporating a reference or tribute to the Smith Tower in their new space.
After looking through images I already had of the Tower, we decided instead to create something brand new — and really big! Several blank walls in the office were just crying out for some really big art. So to cover maximum space, we decided to go with a three-panel panorama replicating their former view. With careful planning, lots of weather-watching, and several called-in favors to access some empty Smith Tower office space, I was able to take a Hasselblad H50 medium format digital back and capture three side-by-side vertical images to replicate the team’s former view.
Since this was art, not architecture, we weren’t too worried about image distortion, edge overlap, nodal points, or any of the more technical aspects of true, seamless panoramas — just making pretty pictures. Then the guys at Color One Photo here in Seattle printed me three 50″ high aluminum prints. After they got hung side-by-side, the final image area was over four feet tall and more than eight feet long! Here’s what the final triptyche looked like:
The wall is covered, the art is appreciated, and the client is happy. What a great, different, and really fun job this was. Even after eighteen years in business, sometimes I still have to marvel at being paid to earn a living doing what I love to do. Thanks to all my great clients for helping make it happen! If you’d like to see more photos of Seattle’s Smith Tower, please visit the gallery on my stock website, HomeAndGardenPhotos.com .