Architecture of Cities: Something Blue, Frank Gehry

Disney Hall by Frank Gehry.

Frank Gehry sat by my side. Frank looked like a cat on a hammock with a Cheshire grin. The “cat” whispered: “Let’s roll”.

The two-hour train from New Haven Connecticut to New York City Grand Central station was possibly an imaginative reality: There was and is always an illusory frequency of highlighted cinematic rewinds in my mind: In this moment The Trip to Bountiful, Driving Miss Daisy and Strangers on a Train  enter my guileless mind. Most photographs I make are related to a cinematic or music influence. The dreams I have in my virtual life making pictures are a dream within the reality that I might see.

277 Fifth Avenue and more.

Frank Gehry’s eyes reminded me of Geraldine Page’s in “A Trip to Bountiful.” Peering out the train’s window, his eyes equally soft and electric that danced within his genius mind as if he was seeing a newfound landscape: He was more than eighty years of age at that time: His youthful past met head-on his aged architectural prowess. I of course was the Rebecca De Mornay character: yes, yes different genders on a train instead of a bus (but age appropriate). Geraldine, Rebecca, Frank and me became a tailor-made play for present futures and past dreams. So we shared on our Bountiful road trip a bit of who we are on the inside that those on the outside rarely see.

Frank asked me if I had made any photographs of his “works”. So of course I pulled out my favorite of the dozen or so Gehrys I have photographed. He whispered as if looking around stealthily: “I have never seen that angle before; why is that?” I told him he had probably walked by that location one hundred times. The blue probably deceived you: It is the color of design and in this case the blue that blinds most people. The building being a space gray, the heat rays from the bright twelve-o-clock sun has an oxidation that is seen but not recognized.

NYC Avenues in reflection.

I tell Gehry that I have always thought of this image as a Star Trek Black Hole moment where Kirk orders “warp speed” and the ship disappears into darkness. “How come I don’t own that image?” This is where he becomes Miss Daisy and I am the chauffeur Hoke: Well of course (graciously) I would love for you to own it. “It is really beautiful,” Frank says as we continue to look at more of my photos on my iPhone.

Making a Frank Gehry “pic” set the agenda for decades of my photography: All of my photography of architecture has had many layers of relevancy: History, footprint, place, time and more.

I realized with Gehry’s moment that the dominance of shape is enhanced by the shape of light and the shape of color: In the family of the primary colors, blue is the lowly cousin, the third child: red, yellow and some blue make up the spectrum that we see in photography: Well that is an approximation that I assume in my work: Somehow over time, blue became my steadfast omnipresent companion.

St Mary’s Cathedral in Tokyo by Kenzo Tange

My dreams suggest that I have lived among the Blue Whale sand the blue oceans they inhabit for many lifetimes:  I have dreamed about blue sky’s not seen: My cameras have paraded among bonnets of blue bouquets: of Hyacinths, Marigolds, Periwinkle irises in tow.

Blue in all of it’s guises is the the most present color in the universe: Blue is the rarest of the colors that we know:

I live inside the bluest of Sapphires that mirrors my  wandering mind and eyes. The blue melancholy of Coltrane’s Blue Train and Mile’s Kind of Blue whisper throughout my nights: My lens reaches out to make a blue moment: a photograph that will forever be seen and unseen:

We arrived at Grand Central Station: As is customary for strangers on a train: We parted ways with two things on our minds.

Feeling Good:

…it’s a new dawn
A new day
A new life…

Anthony Newley/ Leslie Bricuse

All photos 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.