Ah Bet E’ll Fall | Part 1 of 3

4 May, 2012 § 3 Comments


In September of 1932 Charles Clyde Ebbets took a picture that ended up defining his career. It was called Lunchtime atop a Skyscraper.  Its subjects were the fearless construction men who built the Rockefeller Center in New York City having their tea and cigarettes in a break room that would make even the most lenient of OSHA officers go into cardiac arrest. As an art receiver, when I saw this picture my stomach turned inside out for those men but I didn’t give much thought to the photographer himself. After all, the construction workers are the ones out on the crossbeam, dangling their leathers hundreds of thousands of feet in air. The point is that I never questioned Mr. Ebbets’s safety when I looked at this picture.

I imagined his feet firmly planted on a platform taking pictures of people who were decidedly in a more precarious situation. The truth is that Charles Ebbets was in as much danger of falling as the men who debuted in this historic photograph.

The concept of being two hundred thousand feet above 6th and 49th fashioning art that makes you look like you have your feet firmly planted on a wrought iron platform is what I like to call the principle of scaffolding. Without scaffolding no artist or author could get high enough to snap, paint or write about the situations that peak people’s interests. There are two types of scaffolding that an artist or an author has to deal with. The first is the chronological scaffolding of his or her influences and the second is his or her mechanical scaffolding.

Continued Next Friday: Chronological Scaffolding

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