Daily Archives: May 25, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background – The Views from the Stairs of 525 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco


Good Afternoon:

First, a little background on the foreground of the background. Or, uh, um, something like that:

"Firefly" by Ned Kahn, San Francisco, California

“Firefly” by Ned Kahn, San Francisco, California

That vertical item is Firefly, an excellent environmental sculpture by Ned Kahn that adorns the outside of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission headquarters on 525 Golden Gate. Firefly consists of thousands of clear plastic squares affixed by their top edges only to a framework in such fashion that they flutter in the breeze. Actually, it’s a wind, sometimes a very strong one. The sculpture is always in motion, and thousands of people have stood at the base of Kahn’s work taking tens of thousands of photographs from all sorts of angles.

As it happens, Firefly conceals the main stairway of the building, which I photographed in one of my responses to the “From Above” challenge. The stairway has windows looking out, and between the glass and the clear plastic squares, workers there have a very curious view of the world, literally cubist (“square-ist?”).

DSCN5411 DSCN3761 DSCN2743And now, another lesson on How To Apply For A Job: over a year ago, the SFPUC needed to hire a new graphic designer and applicants to include a portfolio of their work. One such applicant included not just a portfolio, but also a few samples of how a new logo for the Commission might look. You can see the logo in the foreground of the next picture.

DSCN3017Oh yes, that artist got the job.

Recently I have experimented with a variation of the above theme. Instead of photographing the backgrounds directly, I have photographed the reflections of the same in the glass walls that stand behind me in each of the above stairwell shots. Aside from the disadvantage that of necessity as least some part of yours truly appears in all of them, some still manage to look rather interesting.

DSCN4890 IMG_4743 DSCN5012Thus I have transformed all of the backgrounds into foregrounds, even as they remain backgrounds.

Or, uh, um, something like that.

Vonn Scott Bair