Photographer Ellen Fisch’s new show at New Century Artists in Chelsea showcases the artist’s New York architecture photos of the Bronx. Having grown up in Brooklyn in the late 1940s, Fisch’s love of architecture led her to a career as a draftsman, but she has always been drawn to the camera and how photography captures a fleeting moment in time.
The second half of the twentieth century saw New York’s architectural landscape facing huge seismic changes as traditional buildings were replaced by the modern structures that have come to define the city today. Fisch’s black and white and sepia images of the Bronx invite us to experience a part of the city where glass and concrete have not yet deposed the majestic classical structures that once dominated New York’s skyline.
When I look at Fisch’s New York architecture photos, I imagine them as snapshots of another era. The black and white imagery has a haunting quality. The absence of figures and signs of street life only help to fortify this notion.
But look again and you see the artist has turned each image into its own work of art by going over them with charcoal, pencil or ink and gilding portions with 24-karat gold leaf to enhance, highlight and give depth to the photograph. It is often done with such a masterful subtle hand that you miss it the first time – look closer and the gates at the Bronx Zoo glisten in the winter sunlight; the mosaic of the Fish Building on the Grand Concourse dazzles just a little more than usual; street lamps of Fordham University twinkle; and golden blossoms dot the path to a greenhouse at the New York Botanical Gardens. What else do you see?
Photography is a great way to introduce people to buying art. People are familiar with it and there are a vast variety of subjects for all types of personal interests. I especially like architectural photography because it links my projects to the wider space around them, be it photographs from down the block or across the globe. New York architecture photos like these can be used as conversation points in any room. I personally love to use photographs in hallways where they encourage you to stop if only for a brief moment.
According to Fisch “elements of architecture reflect civilizations: past, present and future.” Her New York architecture photos of the Bronx help to preserve these wondrous edifices of the past and remind us of the rich architectural heritage of our cities. They just might also inspire the viewer to get out and explore these beautiful corners of New York City.
Richard Rabel is a New York Interior Designer and Principal at Richard Rabel: Interiors+ Art, a studio offering residential design, decorating and art advising.
image credits: new york architecture photos: Ellen Fisch, New York City. Her current show, “Novoimago” of Bronx Architecture is currently on view at New Century Artists in Chelsea, New York through 30 May.