I love being able to see the same thing in new ways – especially when the geometry of a structure like the Perry World House lends itself so well to this passion.
For three different clients and on three different occasions I was chosen to photograph this uniquely designed global policy research center on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.
For the Architecture Firm: The building’s architects, 1100 Architect, elected to keep portions of an original 1851 brick-and-stucco cottage and fuse them into a thoroughly modern limestone building. In what’s been described as a “blunt collision” of old and new, its singular mission is to bring the entire University – all 12 schools – together to debate and explore global issues.
1100 Architect commissioned me to photograph a multitude of exterior and interior views, looking at the building from all sides, at a range of distances, and in both daylight and at twilight.
One of the challenges was to show the street-facing façade of the building without the clutter of cars and food truck normally parked there. While I arranged with the Philadelphia Film Board to get the block designated a “No Parking” zone for the shoot, I knew that signs alone would not deter Philadelphia drivers from parking. So my assistant set up more than a dozen orange traffic cones to keep any and all vehicles out of my shots – and my resident photo editor later zapped out the cones and signs.
Thank heaven for connections at City Hall and Photoshop.
Ultimately, Perry World House was selected as one of “The 9 Best New University Buildings Around The World” by Architectural Digest – and I’ve been told that my photography had something to do with that!
For the Development Office: Penn’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations asked me to shoot images of the house that would be used as mural-sized displays for “Our Penn,” a traveling presentation hosted by the University’s President that highlights new developments on campus. For this assignment, I focused on the building in use by a variety of students and organizations.
For the Alumni Magazine: Then Pennsylvania Gazette, the university’s alumni magazine, asked me to capture the essence of the house, as well as photograph its director, William Burke-White. For this outing, I sought out more heroic images of the building, focusing on light and space, and less on the people using it.
Being the photographer of choice is a great feeling. Being the photographer of choice three times for the same gorgeous building is the best feeling.