Archive for the ‘architecture’ Category

churches of northern new mexico

This week, during a photography workshop in Santa Fe, we had the opportunity to photography some beautiful New Mexico churches. The one above is St Francis of Assisi Church, outside Taos. This adobe church has no windows. This view, from the back of the church, has been photographed by Ansel Adams and painted by Georgia O’Keeffe. It was privilege to walk in these hallowed footsteps.
San Geronimo Chapel is at the Taos Pueblo. The church just dates back to the mid 1800’s, but the pueblo has been inhabited by Native Americans continuously for 1300 years. The pueblo still does not have electricity or running water, following long standing native customs.
Pictured above in the church in Chimayo, about halfway from Taos to Sante Fe.
The Mission of San Miguel in Santa Fe was built in 1610 and is believed to be the oldest church in the country.  Excavations under the altar have uncovered a pueblo that some archeologists date back to the 12th century.
San Loretto Chapel, in Santa Fe, has a Gothic exterior, and looks a bit out-of-place among all the adobe structures in town. The church was built in 1873. In a lot of the churches, I used a wide-angle lens and often lay down in the aisle to get the perspective I wanted. In this image, my feet appeared, and while I could have easily removed them in Photosohp, I chose to leave them in the picture.

pilgimage to the holy land, part two

by Blake Robinson

April 10th, 2011    7 Comments     Add Comment
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This is part two of our pilgrimage to The Holy Land. If you missed part one, see it here.

Ceasarea was a seaport built by Herod on the Mediterranean Sea, also used for one of his many palaces.

Aqueduct at Caesarea

Here’s the Aqueduct at Caesarea. It’s amazing to see the size and scale of these structures and realize they are 2000 years old. Herod named the seaport to honor his boss, Emperor Caesar; Herod was a crafty politician for sure.

Sea of Galilee boat

We took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Many of the Gospel stories about Jesus and his disciples took place on and around boats on this lake.  I didn’t notice this small bird on the bow of the boat until I uploaded the image to the blog page.

The Wall, from the Palestinian Side

The Israeli government has been building a wall, roughly going along the border between Israel and the occupied West Bank, according to the “green line” agreed to in the Oslo Accords of 1992. But in some places the wall zigzags into the West Bank, to encompass Israeli settlements, for example. We learned that the wall has made life extremely difficult for many Palestinians, cutting through neighborhoods or separating farmers from their fields. Pictured here is a section of the Wall in Jerusalem. You can see the barbed wire on the top of the massive wall, and the watchtower on the right. There’s a lot of anger and frustration expressed in the graffiti on the wall. I’m not sure what this white creature represents, perhaps the mean Israeli separating one Palestinian from his family or friends. 

child at the Princess Basma Center for Disabled Children, Mount of Olives

The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem – yes, there are a few Episcopal or Anglican churches in Israel – supports many schools and health clinics.  We visited, on the Mount of Olives,  a school for disabled children. One of the charming young girls we met is pictured above.

The Jordan River

We spent part of a beautiful morning at the Jordan River, upstream a few miles from the place where Jesus is remembered to have been baptized. Our group renewed their baptismal vows and we were sprinkled with holy water from the river, from olive branches shaken over our heads. Many denominations would go for full immersion, but we Episcopalians are a bit timid  and tentative about these things.

As mentioned in my first post, we stayed in Nazareth at The Sisters of Nazareth Convent. It is unknown where Joseph, Mary and Jesus lived in Nazareth, but it was a small town at that time, with perhaps only 500 residents. So, we were likely very close to the home of The Holy Family. In the courtyard of the convent, there is a statue of the family. Here’s a detail of that statue. I love the expression on Jesus’ face, and the way in Mary holds one hand and Joseph holds the other arm.

If you have an opportunity to go to The Holy Land, don’t pass it up. It could change you life.

You can see more pictures, videos and articles by other members of our group here.

Philip Johnson’s Glass House

by Blake Robinson

October 21st, 2010    17 Comments     Add Comment
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Recently, I had the great pleasure of photographing Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.  For those of you who don’t know the house, architecturally it’s one of the most important modern residences in the country, along with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater and Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House.  For more on The Glass House, click here.

It had been a gloomy, drizzly morning the day I was scheduled to do the shoot, and the forecast was not promising.  But about an hour before I drove to the site, the skies cleared and the sun came out – a beautiful New England fall afternoon.

The house is really a simple glass box – and yet very elegant in its simplicity.  The design is in part about connecting with the landscape environment around the house. I tried to keep this in mind as I was shooting – many of the images are as much about the trees, grass and sky as they are about the building.

When it was new, the house was radically different.  Some people who visit the house react to the rather impractical aspects of living in a glass box.  The architecture critic Paul Goldberger tells the story of a woman coming to visit the house while Johnson was there. After looking about, she said rather snottily, “Well, it may be very beautiful, but I certainly couldn’t live here.”  “I haven’t asked you to, Madam,” Johnson replied.

The house was built in 1948-1949. Johnson lived in it until his death, at 98, in 2005.  Over that time, he added other fascinating buildings to the property and made many changes in the landscaping. He called his home his “fifty year diary.”

Johnson said to some visitors, “Shut up and look around.”  This is good advice.  During the shoot, I had the house all to myself, inside and out.  Much of the time, I just stood quietly and enjoyed the design and the surroundings.  I’d walk around and marvel at how the house looked from different angles.  I could happily have shot this simple glass box for several days. 

As the light was fading in the late afternoon, I shot a few images with a super-wide angle lens, which greatly distorts the perspective. One of the images with that lens is below. I like to think that Johnson, who had a  great appreciation for sculpture, would have approved of the picture.