New York City opened the first phase of the High Line on June 2, 2009 in what once was the Meat Packing district. It has been a smashing success, in terms of creating a unique urban space and spurring economic development along the High Line corridor. According to one article, the High Line has created over $900 million in annual property tax revenue in the decade since it opened. That should be obvious to anyone who explores the space. What were once largely empty or old buildings have been rehabbed, with many new buildings appearing throughout the adjacent corridor. It is all high-end living space. Additionally, the development has added vibrant retail space and new restaurants to the neighborhood. Name architects are involved in the redevelopment process, including the late Zaha Hadid's firm.
I've visited the High Line a dozen or so times over the years. Today I followed the trail north to Hudson Yards, exiting at the High Line's terminus on 34th Street. As the photograph suggests, a large mixed-use development is sprouting up above the subway tracks. For me, this is one of the more impressive views from the High Line, although there are many others.
It would be nice to get an unobstructed view of the tracks, looking east, but the fence makes that impossible. Consequently, I had to adopt a different photographic philosophy to create a satisfying photogram. Enter Jason Fulford, who was asked to photograph Saul Leiter's studio on an assignment for Aperture magazine. When Fulford began to move an object, Leiter yelled, "Ya can't move ANYTHING. Ya have ta shoot THROUGH it." Excellent advice, which explains much of what is so appealing about Leiter's own work. I took that advice here, although moving "it" wasn't a question of choice. It was impossible without a blowtorch, which is a cumbersome piece of equipment to carry, particularly because it is only needed on special occasions.
Source: The Photographer's Playbook: 307 Assignments and Ideas, edited by Jason Fulford and Gregory Halpern (an excellent and inexpensive book, by the way).
Copyright 2016, Jack B. Siegel. All Rights Reserved