Architects vs Engineers

The ratio of architects to engineers with whom I’m acquainted is at least 10 to 1. It might even be higher because I only know two architects. One of them no longer practices. The same ratio, using architectural photographers, is just as high for me.

The legendary stories of Frank Lloyd Wright’s ability to anger his clients never fails to amaze. Recently I re-read the account of the John Hancock Tower in Boston. In short, windows were popping out and crashing hundreds of feet to the ground under certain atmospheric conditions known as a steady wind.

Naturally, the architects blame the engineers when things go off the rails. The engineers cry that architects think they can change the laws of physics.

When I arrived at this location to do a series of corporate portraits, I expected to take advantage of the noteworthy architectural interiors. The building was designed by a “starchitect” and was prominent in the suburbs of Chicago.

Instead of majestic interiors, I saw scaffolding and tradesmen fixing a leaky roof from the inside and outside.

Luckily I had a fallback location. It was a temporary shelter erected by engineers to protect the workers from falling debris.

The ultimate irony was that my absentee client gave me kudos for incorporating the building’s architecture in the portraits.

About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.

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