This year, I have already checked off one of my bucket list items – airport photography and video. Well, at least part of an airport. Renovations were just completed a few months back at terminal 1 at BNA and with it came some AMAZING artwork and other architectural features.
Back in January, I was contacted by Brooklyn, New York-based Superabundant Atmospheres – an art production company founded by artist Jacob Hashimoto, architect Wade Cotton, and fabricator Jamisen Ogg. While you can find their work all over the world, they had just completed their largest installation to date at the Nashville airport and were in need of both architectural photography as well as architectural video of the new installation.
From the artist: “Composed of 9,000 washi paper and bamboo kites, “The Unscalable Rampart of Time” is Jacob Hashimoto’s largest and most ambitious permanent sculpture to date. The form undulates around the oculus and lunges down into the atrium below, cascading past the escalator and mezzanine. As a whole, the composition evokes the regional landscape’s hills and waterways below and Nashville’s open skies above. The kites contain references to local iconography, architecture, and natural elements, including The Ryman Theater, The Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge, Cumberland Park, dogwoods, milkweed, and irises. With such visible placement in the terminal, passengers can experience the piece at a variety of speeds and scales: driving up to drop a loved one off at Departures, or waiting with a coffee beneath the gently swaying kites.”
For this project, they specifically wanted an architectural photographer vs. an art photographer due to the way the art interacts with and moves throughout the space, and I was honored that my work resonated with them enough to trust me to capture this noteworthy project for them.
It was important for the client to have images with people moving through the images. Due to the fact that this was an airport, it was important that I have full control over the placement of the people that were naturally walking through. I certainly could have hired models and brought luggage props, etc. but it was much easier to capture real people and how they really interact with the artwork within the space.
The way I pulled this off was careful planning. We determined the times and days that would provide the least amount of foot traffic based on flight schedules, as well as the time of day when the light would be passing through the windows and directly into the sculpture. The client was also in Brooklyn so we did a scout the day before the shoot and made selections on the compositions we would focus on. We only had a 2 hour window of time to capture the light and only one day of sunshine in the forecast – so I had to “nail” it on the first try in order to pull this off.
I carefully composed and set up 2 cameras and ran multiple time-lapses during the two-hour window using a Sony a7riv and Sony a7iii. My assistant would keep an eye on one camera while I attended to the other one. Knowing exactly what the light was going to be doing allowed me to know exactly where I needed to be at any given time and when we could take breaks.
Of course, the artwork was the star of the show, so I needed to be sure to capture the details of this piece.
It was also important to capture the sculpture from the outside as well. The challenge I faced with this was very reflective glass throughout the entire day until sunset. In fact, here is one of the scouting images that I took during the day for reference days before the shoot to show you what this looked like alongside the final image taken in the evening:
And, of course – the video. You may have heard me explain over and over how video is such an under-utilized tool in architecture. I really think that this demonstrates how accompanying video with photos really helps to give the viewer a more well-rounded experience.