Architecture of Cities: the Sounds of Light

PhilipJohnson, CapitalGrille, 42nd Street, NewYorkCity.

Photography is a grand illusion. Grand illusions bind our truths to our memories:  Photography shares the past and future ghosts. Grand illusions are memories that we covet: Memories are held so our eyes may revisit our pasts: We love the ghosts of memories past: we love the memories that will soon appear before our eyes: Memories that you once thought would remain forever vanish.

Photography retains our history.

My mind nightly arises to nightmares: My mind awakens to daydreams not known:

I am everyone I want to be and anyone I can be: The dreams I have never experienced are not unique to me nor anyone: The lives that have never been are why I am a photographer.

There are moments that are meaningless in another life: Moments are meant to celebrate: There may never be a moment again:

ToyoIto, HotelportaFira, Barcelona.

I often stand in Tolkien’s middle earth: It is a quiet place before I realize the  imaginary Arda is home to imaginations not yet seen. My photographs are not any different than what others may make: My captures allow me to celebrate where I stand: Tolkiens’ center earth envelops a large portion of my world’s history: The agenda in full is to experience his world, and the study of one million astrophysicists and mine in single  frame: I try to marry every science in existence to one stolen capture: My purpose is inane insane and absolutely why I live: A few seconds ahead of this moment a new capture will be revealed: just wait and see.

I stood in the center of Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa: I wondered not merely about the diagonals and the dimensions of a continent: What stood today before yesterday.

I am not sure why Ethiopia is now the analogy for why I take pictures: Nothing seems as real as Ethiopia: Maybe I am sharing my camera not only about what it captures: Maybe it is the ultimate archaeologists tool.The camera refines every exploration: It is as if each frame is siphoning a quasi history in f-stops.

ThomMayne, SanFrancisco, Federal Building.

Maybe it has something to do with Mussolini: Can you hear the planes, tanks and explosions echoing across the 1930s African continent during the invasion: Yes? No? Then you become me:

The history in that moment that I have no captures lives in my mind in every single frame: I allow the designs of world wars and more infuse some sensibilities: I realize every single photograph is a novices’ class in archaeology: I examine every breath before I capture:  I stand before every frame not yet made and begin: the dream:

Every city I visit,every city I anticipate, every city I dream about is my Addis Ababa: What happened before me and what will happen tomorrow and a century following: That my friends is why Mussolini rapes my ears: I listen: I listen: I listen for things not seen, and what remains: I still is not about war: It is about Middle-Earth and Arda: It is about Astrophysics and Archaeolgy: It is about almost three-hundred years of photography: I ramble and race: I wonder how long until I no longer hear and see:

I have told so many stories about things that I no longer remember: my passions alight in a moment

My camera is alerted: I thrive: It is as if one thousand luthiers call upon me to hear the perfections and imperfections in their craft: Yo Yo Ma and all of the instrumental accompaniments play not for me but for me to listen:

The sound plays before I see the light: I stood patiently for a light to whisper “shoot”: I was in San Francisco photographing the San Francisco Federal Building: I heard a sound down the side street: My eyes averted the noise and I gazed up:

I followed a thousand cackling tourists as they followed pass a corner of a splendid Disney Hall accent: Silence prevailed: I spotted three shadows on a curved passageway:

I stood across the street from the Chrysler Building: Sirens alarmed me to danger: My eyes averted the sound and the emergency lights: in the southern exposure something changed: The lights became:

I Spent a few days in Spain: If my memory is right: I made one thousand images of the country’s history in one hour: Is that true or envious? No: But the sounds of one city and more shared pleasurable torture in every single frame: the sounds averted my eyes to discoveries yet seen: One million times I repeated the mantra: shoot: The captures enlightened my dreams:

Empire State Building dances with Marble Collegiate Church.

If it was was not for the drilling I might never have looked up I, till this day believe the sounds of moments were like a conductor’s baton leading in places and directions that I might never know: Then there was the light. I was never in Ethiopia.

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