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s a historian, I use pho- to Save list. First, these properties portance in the face of decay and
tography to document are under siege from a range of is- thus an understanding of how it im-
threatened historic sues, and it was important to identi- portant it is that they be treated with
buildings, structures, fy and document the problems as respect and dignity.
and landscapes. These artifacts, as best as I could. After looking at each
the result of craftsmanship and hard property, and consulting the Preser- I take photographs primarily as a
work by men and women in the past, vation League of New York State, I consultant, documenting signifi-
merit our respect; by their survival, sought to understand each site’s cant historic resources for clients
they have gained dignity. When they particular threat. In many of the whose actions require their demoli-
are lost through neglect, alteration, photographs, therefore, there are ex- tion or alteration. While these pro-
or demolition, a tangible connec- amples of deterioration, such as the jects are vital, they are always tinged
tion to the past has been lost. In collapsed roof in the Dutch Re- with sadness; mine are the last views
many cases, my photographs are the formed Church. In others, proximity of these important connections to
only reminders of that connection to difficult conditions is the threat; our shared past before they are lost
through time. the construction of the Bailey Ave- forever. For this reason, I am over-
nue overpass in Buffalo barely three joyed to have the opportunity to doc-
The National Park Service oversees feet from the front of the Wildroot ument the buildings and landscapes
the Historic American Buildings Factory is a glaring example, while on the Preservation League’s current
Survey and the Historic American the location of the Rapp Road His- Seven to Save list. My sadness at see-
Engineering Record (HABS/HAER), toric District between the heavy ing the physical condition of these
which maintains standards for the commercial traffic on Washington resources, and understanding the
formal documentation of the na- Avenue Extension and the threats to their survival, is leavened
tion’s significant architectural and Crossgates Mall places immense by the hope that people and organi-
engineering resources. In line with pressure on the neighborhood. zations in communities throughout
the HABS/HAER standards, I do all Where possible, I tried to show the state cared enough to ask for
of my work with a large-format view these diverse threats. help with finding ways to preserve
camera and black and white film. them.
There are several technical reasons At the same time, as links to com-
for this: view cameras allow for per- munity, state, and national history,
spective control that allows for more these resources are of unquestiona-
accurate documentation; large- ble importance. Their survival so far,
format negatives capture vast conveying the memories of those
amounts of fine detail; and black people who built, lived, and worked
and white film has a greater degree in them, is a sign of hope, and my
of archival stability than either color second goal was to present the basis
film or digital files. for this hope. The beauty of many of
these sites is undeniable, from Stan-
All of these technical matters point ford White’s architectural master-
to the core purpose of my photog- piece, the Gould Memorial Library,
raphy: to record significant parts of to the stunning landscape through
our built environment as accurately which the Adirondack Scenic Rail-
as possible before they are lost, so way passes, and the simple elegance Bruce G. Harvey
that their memories will be available and dignity of the Dennis-Newton Artist Statement
to future generations. House in Ithaca. It is important to 2016-17 Seven to Save Photographs
My goal in photographing these im- recognize and convey the beauty and
portant resources was two-fold, re- hope in these threatened sites, to
flecting the dual nature of the Seven create an understanding of their im-