|Our goal was to show potential buyers that our presses produced the highest quality images. In this case black & white images. After discussing a variety of ideas we decided to go with a shot of the Chrysler building in New York City. Its metallic finish gave us the challenge we wanted in terms of reproduction and its Art Deco design gave us unparalleled beauty.
With a deadline of less than 48 hours, I set off to Manhattan and scouted my subject. The view from the street was nice but not what I was looking for. The view from the Empire State building was interesting but again not quite right. Then I remembered a shoot I did two years earlier. I was hired to document a landmark building across the street from the Chrysler building and knew that the 54th floor of this building was used for maintenance purposes only. So armed with three cameras loaded with film and ready to shoot, I proceeded to the 54th floor, found a window where I could see the Chrysler building and opened it. The window had an alarm. I would have to work fast. I took a deep breath, ignored my fear of height and climbed out onto the ledge high above the streets of New York City.
That was it, the shot I was looking for! But by the time I raised my camera, the sun was gone. With the wind blowing in my face I stared in disbelief. One of the most beautiful images I had ever seen had become flat and lackluster. I knew I had set off the alarm and that time was running out. Just then the clouds opened ever so slightly and the sun burst through hitting the Chrysler building with a stream of incredible light. The metal sparkled. The lines and curves of the Art Deco design took on a life of their own. I was so amazed at the beauty of what I was seeing I almost forgot to shoot.
I fired my motorized camera (six frames per second) and got just two exposures before the clouds totally blocked the sun once again.
The client got the print the next day and the poster was a wonderful success for them and for me.