I am not sure there is any other pair of monosyllabic words in the English language that evokes as powerful a sense of place as Wall Street, except, of course, New York itself. So writes famed architectural critic Paul Goldberger in his introduction to one of the most important photographic books on New York City to appear since 9/11: David Anderson's On Wall Street. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, a lot of glass-and-steel, boxlike buildings were going up in New York City. David Anderson realized that the architecturally elaborate and stylistic buildings of the early 1900s through the 1930s that defined Wall Street would never be made again. He thus embarked on a twenty-year project (from 1980 to 2000) to document Wall Street's classic architecture before further changes in the area were made, including the demolition and destructive renovation of too of its many historic structures.
Anderson's approach to photographing Wall Street is unique. He avoids people, vehicular traffic, and storefronts, and rarely does he present a view of an entire building. Instead, he focuses on the details or a certain profile in order to reveal a building's architectural form and energy and its larger sense of place within the city's urban fabric. Anderson's photographs of Wall Street will forever be part of a visual record of a by-gone era that emphasized artistic craftsmanship rarely achieved in modern buildings. Like the historic skyscrapers and civic buildings that Anderson depicts, his photographs are equally solid, self-assured, and beautiful. Collectively, they capture the spirit, architectural genius, and harmonious elevated scale of this special place in the financial capital of the world.
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David Anderson's poignant photographs capture the coldness, power, and impregnability of the mythical Wall Street. Devoid of the flux of street movement and crowds, the monuments speak. Creatures keep watch, frozen in stone, while surprising traces of decay and delicate detail suggest the contingency, even frailty, of human existence. Paul Goldberger's masterful introduction guides us as well in seeing and appreciating this historic citadel of American finance
From 1980 to 2000, photographer David Anderson documented Wall Street's architecture as few others have. Through an extensive range of black-and-white images whose focus is equally on the historic character and iconic nature of the buildings, a real sense of this famous place emerges. I compare the look and feel of Anderson's photographs to some of the great urban photographers of all time: Berenice Abbott, Eugene Atget, Paul Strand, and, more recently, Thomas Struth and Bob Thall. On Wall Street will be an immediate classic that not only appeals to the aesthetic of architects, historians, and photographers, but also functions at street level for those who love cities everywhere and, especially, New York
An architectural shift left Manhattan with an unusual blend of buildings. On Wall Street: Architectural Photographs of Lower Manhattan, 1980-2000 is a collection of black-and-white photography from David Anderson, snapping photos on the aftermath of the new construction past the 1970s, offering a snapshot of the twilight of the twentieth century with soulful black-and-white photography, capturing the details of these buildings. On Wall Street is a must for historical and architectural photography collections; highly recommended.
Anderson had been working as a cinematographer for at least fifteen years before becoming an architectural photographer in the early 1980s. He explains in his preface that he decided to document Wall Street's buildings, knowing that the particular aesthetic and harmony of their design was not being replicated in newer buildings and wishing to capture their distinctive geometry and details. The project took him twenty years. This volume presents his black-and-white images full page, with an introductory essay by architecture critic Paul Goldberger.