Saturday, August 22, 2009

Indecently Exposed

PPG Plaza and Parking Deck IMG_8126

One of the podcasts I listen to regularly is Indecent Exposure. While that title sure does sound like it's up my alley, it's not quite what it sounds like. The subtitle is "C-Net's Digital Imaging Podcast" and it's about cameras and photography. The hosts, Lori Grunin and Matt Fitzgerald, are professional photographers that dispense camera news and reviews, answer listener questions, and run a weekly photo contest.

I rarely enter the contests because I often listen to the podcast well past the deadline or just don't have anything that fits the category they announce. Also, the people that enter are really, really good photographers and it's a little intimidating, especially if you look at a few entries beforehand.

IMG_8131But last week's topic was 'architecture' which is what I do a lot of. I like architecture because you don't need to cajole a building to stand still, or look into the camera, or not get mad over how many pictures you are taking.

The picture I chose was of the PPG Place in downtown Pittsburgh with a parking deck in the foreground. PPG Place (which I miscalled PPG Plaza in the picture title) is the post-modernist Johnson and Burgee designed skyscraper which looks like a castle made of glass since PPG was originally called Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company.

As I was wandering through downtown trying to find my hotel, I stumbled onto a view of the building with a parking deck in the foreground. The upper railings of the parking deck mimicked the turrets of the building. While my picture didn't win or even merit an honorable mention, here are some excerpts of some of the kind things Lori and Matt had to say about it (all errors in transcription, spelling and grammar are mine).
Lori: [PPG Place] looks as if somebody had built Superman's Fortress of Solitude out of plastic. ... And it looks sort of like a crown on this parking plaza rail. It's very difficult to describe. You need to take a look at it. That is a completely interesting angle to shoot the building from instead of just going straight at the building.

Matt: Very well framed and composed. I personally really liked it because it's my personal favorite buildings. The first thing I think of what architecture is is that building.
So here is the more traditional view of the top of the building:


IMG_7924The one odd encounter of the weekend in Pittsburgh was when my wife and I were taking pictures of the fiberglass dinosaurs in the central plaza. A security guard came up and told us that while some pictures were okay, we couldn't take pictures of the entire building for security reasons. He explained that the plaza was private property and they could make up any rules they wanted.

IMG_7923I shrugged my shoulders since I had already taken some photos of the full building, but I worry about the post 9-11 paranoia that has been used to restrict the rights of photographers. It's all petty posturing and phony protection. While I would hate to have anything happen to this architectural icon, I can't imagine terrorists using my Flickr site as a planning tool.

Nevertheless, I am flattered to finally get noticed amongst such talented entrants and it just spurs me to try harder. This week's topic is 'decay.' Hmmm, I regularly ride my bike past some abandoned buildings along the Patapsco River. We'll see what happens.


Flyboy said...

Keep up the good shots.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

That's pretty cool that you were mentioned in the podcast. You're truly a celebrity of the highest geekitude.