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Capturing Industry’s Souls

Great works come from minds and hands. Great photographers get that.

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Of all the great construction photos industry veteran Gökhan Günes has studied over the years, only a few possess the elements that lend a mystical quality to the image and give it soul. “A photo can tell about construction, [but] not the people, without any soul,” he says. “Our picture is a kind of mix: the work, but also the human [aspect].”

Click image to view winners slideshow
Photographer: Marc Barnes
Submitted while Barnes was with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; he now works for the hospital built on the site of the Fort Belvoir, Va., Army base. Barnes climbed a platform above the innovative steel-framed atrium roof of a new federal building under way at the Fort Belvoir base to trail installer Andreas Olson for this photo on a day when sky and sun cooperated. The roof-panel system, unusual in the U.S., was used to construct the “Water Cube” at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
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Günes, tender preparation department manager at Istanbul-based Rasen Construction Inv. Inc., submitted a photo taken by Fatih Saglam, one of his quality engineers. The shot shows a worker enveloped by mist as he cleans rebar on the Mercury Center Tower Project in Moscow.

“The photo is showing us how people spend their energy on small but also very important details of a construction, and how important these minor works are in a major work,” he says.

It is a theme ENR editors heard repeatedly during interviews with the winning photographers chosen for The Year in Construction photo contest of 2010.

Roger Loguarro had been commissioned by the contractor Salini Costruttori, Rome, which asked him to photograph a number of their construction sites around the world, concentrating on the human-capital aspect of the company: the people, faces, the many nationalities, their lives, their stories, their enthusiasm—“all to be captured in time in a photo,” says Loguarro in a translated e-mail exchange from Bologna. One of his shots, taken at the Bujagali Hydroelectric Project in Uganda, shows the results he sought.

He says it was the light that first grabbed his eye, a radiant sun sparkling on black rocks that drew his attention to people relaxing in the sun. “I climbed higher to capture the moment since I was quite a distance [away]. They saw me and a moment of embarrassment occurred. But our smiles met and we all relaxed,” he says.

“I love the sites,” adds photographer Cyrus Creveling “[I] admire the (mostly) men who work there. I safety up and always report to the project superintendent, tell him what I want to do, show what I’ve done in the past and ask permission to shoot. Then I provide the individuals with photos, which are always appreciated, since most of us work our entire lives and don’t have a single picture of ourselves to show our grandkids.”

Günes is right: It is all about the people and the creations they build. Enjoy the show.


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