The Emerging City

The Universe is constantly changing, becoming. New phenomena emerge and disappear. Stars, galaxies, planets, life, consciousness, civilizations. We humans and our creations are a part of this process, but most of us live our lives without fully appreciating this basic fact about ourselves. One way this lack of recognition shows itself is in our feelings about the change we see around us and are part of. We typically focus on what we don’t like, what we have lost, often focusing on a particular time as the reference or ideal state. Having lived in cities, Austin and Seattle, that have grown significantly in the last 20 years, I am interested in how people react and respond to change in their urban spaces, particularly those changes associated with rapid growth. People tend to have a sense of what a city “is” based mostly on their first experiences with that place. Change from this Edenic state is not only seen as negative, but even as unnatural and somehow...wrong. People yearn for a past that can never be returned to, that really never was. This yearning is a fundamental part of the human experience. In this collection of photographs I strive to make some peace with the changes around us by showing a city as fundamentally ever-changing and continually in the process of emerging. The buildings of Seattle are direct evidence and a reminder of this eternal process. From the city’s first skyscraper to the latest building boom, we can see that the changes we experience are really no different than the changes experienced by those who came before us.

Smith Tower (1914)
Seattle Central Library (2004)
Pacific Building (1971) and Arctic Club Hotel (1917)
Motif Seattle (1973) and City Centre (1989)
Downtown Seattle, looking north along 2nd Avenue
Westin Building (1981) and Amazon Tower I (2015)
The Rainier Club (1904), 5th and Columbia (planned 2017), and Columbia Center (1985)
Amazon Biosphere (planned 2017) and Tower II (2016)
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