When you walk down the street, do you ever look up? No, I don’t mean just looking up from the sidewalk and staring at the mass of approaching people. Or the birds.
When I really look up while walking around, I try to watch for the parts of the city that aren’t at eye level. You know, those parts of the built environment that we don’t often see, but are integral to the character of the places that we inhabit. These are the details, the nuances that differentiate buildings, neighborhoods, and cities from one another. They are part of what helps create the meanings attached to a place.
One especially pleasant spring evening in late March, I took advantage of the weather to stroll around parts of downtown St. Louis with my camera. This was during the NCAA tournament, so I expected to find crowds of basketball fans carousing on Washington Avenue.
Instead, I found was a fairly quiet set of restaurants and bars. So, I started looking up. And, as expected, I started seeing new worlds. I saw the Civil Courts Building lit for night. I saw the green glow of a neon “Shell” sign. And I saw the weather ball on top of the General American Life Insurance Building (which is now Terra Cotta Lofts).
Slowly leaving that coming night sky was a sliver of the moon. It was just above the skyline, about to head out of sight. Once I saw this view, I knew I wanted to try and capture it. Yet I also knew that time was not my friend. Luckily, after several tries, I finally got the camera to stand still long enough to capture this shot.
Needless to say, I was glad to have spent the night peeking in to another world, the world above the streetscape, above our eye level.