Archive for December, 2008

Friends in High Places

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

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San Francisco Friends School opened recently in the original Levi Strauss & Co. building in Valencia Street. The new school, designed by Pfau/Long Architects is heavily slanted towards sustainability with some quite innovative solutions employed for lighting and ventilating the various internal spaces.

The main facade of the building is set back off Valencia Street with little opportunity for an overview from any adjacent vantage points. The one place we thought could work declined to let us photograph from their rooftop because of security concerns.  Apparently with all these terrorists on the loose, they felt they couldn’t take the the risk on us.

I am so sick of hearing this sort of ostrich-inspired rubbish from low-level bureaucrats.

We had permission from the school.
We were commissioned by the project architects.
We had a totally legitimate reason to be doing this.
We had indemnity releases out the wazoo.
And we even asked nicely!

Making photographs is NOT A CRIME. 

I felt like crashing their next family birthday party and confiscating all the cameras. Or trashing their soon-to-be Christmas holiday snaps.

Instead we hired a personal lift and a truck from the Hertz rental depot around the corner and dominated the three parking spaces outside their front entrance during morning rush hour. Tempting as it was to enclose myself in some sinister garb for the duration of the shoot, there seemed little point in raising their already elevated state of paranoia.

Sava the Moment

Monday, December 8th, 2008

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Just about to open in the Sunset district of San Francisco is the long-awaited Charlie Sava Swimming Pool. Designed by Mark Cavagnero Associates, the spare lines of the poured-in-place concrete lend an austere mood to the projects.

Apparently one of the client’s requests was to retain the visual connection to the surrounding parkland. Seems they liked to see the trees while they were lapping.

Edge of Reason

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Every now and then you just can’t get far enough away from something (or someone, but that’s a whole other story). So when we needed to get a view of the roof top terrace that included said roof top terrace, drastic measures were called for.

The tripod, complete with camera, lens and digital back was tentatively balanced over the side of the handrail rail with a trusty magic arm to keep it falling down to the street below. Triggering the shutter for each exposure required the suppleness of a contortionist to stay out of the frame but it all worked out okay in the end.

Of course the already high tension level was escalated dramatically with the arrival of the anonymous white blimp. What is it with these things?