I am primarily a black and white architectural still photographer, but while documenting post-earthquake repairs at Washington National Cathedral I was impressed by the drama of the vibrant colors the windows “painted” on stone and scaffold. With just weeks before a related exhibition was to open I began mounting cameras to scaffold to take advantage of rare vantage points. The opening and closing view, for example — with Rowan LeCompte’s remarkable west rose window at eye-level and centered straight ahead within the nave — cannot be recreated now that scaffold is down.
The photographs in the exhibition “Scaling Washington” (which was at the National Building Museum in 2015) often played off the unexpected harmony between the Cathedral architecture and scaffold, both having engaging rhythmic structural repetitions. Thus the inclusion of wonderfully painted scaffold herein. For the purpose of the exhibition (which had much other content) the video was left silent and had remained so for several years until composer Danyal Dhondy recently offered to write an original score for it. It fits so well and complements the rhythms of the original edit so perfectly. Now the piece has new dimension and life outside the original exhibition.