|Charles Clyde Ebbets|
I've decided that Charles Clyde Ebbets doesn't get enough credit. So, today I'm doing my party to rectify that.
|11 workers having lunch on an exposed steel beam 840 feet above the ground.|
Who is Charles C. Ebbets? That photo above - he apparently took it.
Ebbets was a native of Florida (actually born in Gadsden, Alabama) who became a photographer back in the days when that was a really cool and esoteric thing to be doing. You didn't just snap a photo and download it to your laptop then. It was a whole, long process of getting the right camera, getting the right film, getting the right lighting, setting the shot up for multiple takes to get just the right one because you won't know how they'll turn out until they're developed and getting the right this that and the other thing badda bing badda zoom. But Ebbets was really good at it.
Anyway, he set up the stunt called "Lunch atop a Skyscraper (1932)." Everybody knows that shot, it still sells in framed prints to this day. The shot is pristine, perfect lighting, perfect framing, just the right moment and all done under terrible conditions.
|While there were 11 workers, in many versions of the shot two of them get cut out.|
It wasn't like the famous shot just happened. He had to set it up, which involved a whole lot of work.
|Here is all 11.|
The famous shots were taken on the 69th floor (no, I don't know why he picked that one) of the RCA building as it was nearing the end of construction. If you compare the shots, you see that he apparently "worked" on the version that became famous. Notice that cable on the right? It magically disappears in the most iconic versions. Don't think they had photoshop in those days? You're right - but people who knew what they were doing could accomplish magic with an airbrush.
|"Man Balancing on Skyscraper" by Charles C. Ebbets, 1932.|
Anyway, aside from a few of these shots, I don't know if Ebbets took every single one. There was a fad in the 1930s to take these types of daredevil shots, not just in New York City, but in Los Angeles and elsewhere. There weren't a lot of really tall building being built around the country in those days, so most of them are from those two places.
|Chrysler Building, ca. 1932.|
Anyway, enough said. Enjoy the photos.
|This one was in Los Angeles.|
|30 stories high looking over the Hudson.|
|This is 1925, they are over 20 stories high.|
|1931, working on the Empire State Building. Chrysler Building in the background, it was finished just a year earlier.|
|The Jones Family carried out a sword fight on the edge of the Times Square Hotel in 1925 to publicize it.|
|This is a photographer. Yes, they knew how to dress in those days.|
|Men taking the test to become painters on the Brooklyn Bridge.|