The Architecture of Cities: The World

The beautiful dance: The beautiful dance: It is something that comes to mind whenever I have a photography tool in my hands.

You cannot properly assess what may be exposed to your eyes unless you dance: Ansel Adams often made a dance while panting to be in the fractions of moments.

It has been suggested that the brilliant Japanese photographer Eikoh Hosoe danced naked in his mind when his camera captured the even more naked Yukio Mishima in frame.

I could never write or even speak about the  “I” in me, about myself.

I am not enigmatic. I am an enigma to myself: I have no idea what I look like scampering from image to image: room to room: reflection to reflection.

I know there is no Nureyev in me.

Citicorp Building New York. Architects: Hugh Stubbins and William Le Messurier.

I obviously like to dream in metaphors: the grand gestures: like a tree falling in the forest that nobody hears: But so painstakingly loud.

I might have dreamed that someone saw me as Jack London’s Ghost Wolf: There might have been someone who spotted me as Melville’s Moby Dick at sea. But if I dream wildly, I might be a fraction of the metaphors above. I am still the guy who dances naked atop the whales of the seven seas.

If you understand that I have never seen myself run with cameras in tow: Then there is a sense to how I imagine my passion: Not in my reality but in the dreams of something the planets have yet to fathom:

Certainly everything I mentioned above is made for asylums: A preposterousness that lives in an imagination: It is my own ultimate acknowledgement that it is ok to infuse reality into a dream: It is ok to  infuse dreams into reality.

I was in Lewis Carroll country one day. It was the day I saw the second largest poached salmon in history: I was with the artist John Piper: I saw him make a wave towards the Thames. I asked him who/what he was waving to. “I always wave to my imaginary Lewis Carroll rowing with Alice Liddell and her sisters in tow. It reminds me of the surreal happenstance Carroll presided over in his stories: It inspires me to bring my dancing shoes to my canvases”.

I looked over the entire Thames in view. The scene was empty: I waved anyway: I chose to imagine Alice and sisters skittering down river with Carroll at the oar.

Isay Weinfeld meets Zaha Hadid on New York City.

The word “urgency” is the one I pronounce most often when I see a moment that needs to be seized. As an architectural photographer I like to photograph many achievements. I would like to make a successful photograph of the Masai Kraals: I can make sense of an empty Big Sur cabin filled with Monarch Butterflies: I would like to make successful images out of anything Zaha Hadid: I can make sense of anything Frank Gehry.

My mind may play tricks with what I might see. So I stare with a bit more urgency.

There might be a bit of a panic. I know I cannot afford to miss making the moment: The best moment the camera can see. The urgency that fires all of my senses matters.

If your light, your shadow even slightly vanishes then that is when I wonder like Melvilles’ Ahab: Is it too late to harpoon the  whale: is my necessary moment missed: How do I explain what I was intended to shoot for client or art: The possibility of the near miss is felt throughout all of Moby Dick: With all of the apparent subplots diverting our attention away from Ahab, it is Ahab at the helm begging for mercy from the gods. We the attentive audience in part don’t want Ahab to succeed. The whale is a bit sacred: But the capture is part heroism and part fanaticism. That is what I embrace when I see the need the urgency to make a capture.

Detail of RemKoolhaas’ Wilshire Boulevard Temple with Shoei Shigematsu.

If you do not sense any of the above and then realize the calm when you look through your lens, then why do you do it.

I try oh so very hard to marry my passion for the seizing the perfect exposure with a breathless dance: Country roads and freeways might be minor obstacles to see what perfection looks like.

Can you imagine racing across Tokyo, Shenzhen, New York and Los Angeles: Maybe 2000 square miles is mine to cover: I run, I drive to get where I need to be: My body is burning fuel with anticipation: My mind is in a state of agitated simultaneous combustible explosions.

I am reminded of the Ghost Wolf’s howl: The pained fanaticism that resides in Ahab: It is something that I can hear: It is why I dance: It is why I make photographs. The photographs may become beautiful. Then I begin again.

All photographs by Richard Schulman.

Richard Schulman is a photographer and writer. His books include Portraits of the New Architecture and Oxymoron & Pleonasmus. He lives in New York City.