I've taken a fair number of photographs of the Empire State Building, all of them from New Jersey, mostly from Jersey City and Hoboken, with a few from Weehawken. In many of them the building is relatively small and inconsequential, which was the point. I had a vague political metaphor in mind, distant empire.
In the photos I've chosen for this Friday's series, I decided that the building had to have some significant visual presence. It's not particularly prominent in this photo, however, but it gets its "weight" a different way:
There's no obvious foreground and no central focus, giving the image a fantasy wildness that I like. Because of that you're naturally drawn to the Empire State Building there at the right in the middle distance and partially obscured. Since it is the most recognizeable thing in the photo, it serves to anchor the photo despite the fact that it's off-center and relatively small. And once you've spotted it, you can't help but look for the Chrysler Building to its left–assuming, of course, that you're familiar enough for the New York skyline to know that the two buildings are relatively close.
I once considered this to be one of my best photographs:
This photograph, with the El Greco sky, sets the Emptire State Building against two new buildings, an apartment buildting by Jean Nouvel and an office building by Rank Gehry:
In this early morning shot, which I took from Liberty State Park, the buildings in the skyline are etiolated to ghostly intruders among the clouds:
These shots, from Hoboken, bring them back to life: