The Carousel Piano Bar in Hotel Monteleone, part of the French Quarter of New Orleans, was a favourite of writers pretty much since it opened in 1949. Hemingway, Faulkner, Capote, Tennessee Williams numbered amongst its regulars.
This opulent, rotating, carousel-themed, bar in the centre of the room makes it a ‘must see’ for visitors to the Louisiana capital. It performs four complete, gentle revolution per hour. Now it felt quicker when Liz and I tried it last year, but there are also booths and tables for those who would rather not spin.
Hotel Monteleone is a literary landmark in its own right. It crops up in the works of Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway, Eudora Welty to name a few. Truman Capote once even claimed he was born there (not true). The hotel still family-owned opened in 1886. It has stubbornly hung on to its unique charm and character for over 100 years. It took several shots (photographic and NOT alcoholic), at different shutter speeds, to get the right degree of blur in my picture.
The turn of the century heralded boom times for architectural photographers in Dublin. The noughties saw the city’s skyline sprout a forest of cranes, with former inner-city wastelands ceding space to gleaming steel and concrete. I remember shooting some of these new buildings, marvelling at the talent of their young architects. You can see my architectural photography by visiting https://www.robertmullan.com/Architecture/The-Built-Eviornment
Back then, digital photography hadn’t established itself and digital camera sensors had not ‘come of age’, these new ‘toys’ were viewed with suspicion. Most architectural photographers in Dublin stuck with film.
There was one film camera that became de rigueur: The Hasselblad SWC https://www.hasselblad.com/history/. Made in Sweden, it combined the precision of a Swiss watch and the strength of hardened steel. The legendary Carl Zeiss optical company designed the lens in the 1950s. Nothing came near for its distortion-free images. Lines were always parallel it never failed to deliver brilliant colour reproduction and contrast; oh I could go on and on! For interiors, it had no equal, no wonder the camera was in every good architectural photographer’s camera bag.
I used my Hasselblad to capture one of my favourite images: Trinity College Dublin’s iconic Old Library building. This magnificent building celebrated its 300th anniversary a couple of years ago. Work started in May 1712 and it took another 20 years to complete the building. Many famous students of the college like writer Jonathan Swift, philosopher Edmund Burke and artist Mary Delany were amongst the ‘regulars’. More information on this wonderful building see www.tcd.ie/library/tercentenary
Mention Architectural Photography in Bilbao and one building springs to mind: the Guggenheim Museum. https://www.guggenheim-bilbao.eus/en/It has become the city’s ‘avatar’ since it opened nearly 20 years ago.
I was lucky, it had rained most of the day but by evening the weather shaped up for a nice twilight shot. It was crucial that I used the small window between sunset and darkness to get the effect I wanted. You can see many of my ‘golden-hour’ images here: https://www.robertmullan.com/Architecture/The-Built-Eviornment
If ever a building turned a struggling industrial city into a cultural metropolis it was this one. In fact, you could it say the expression ‘the Guggenheim effect’ was coined because of it. Designed by ‘starchitect’ Frank Gehry, it changed the fortunes of this Basque city. The region was once known as a former powerhouse of heavy industries like shipbuilding and coal and steel production.
Failing to embrace modern technology, one by one, outdated dockyards and warehouses had to close. Workers and their families deserted the city, leaving in their wake a ‘rust belt’ of abandoned factories and shipyards. Passionate art lovers were thin on the ground in Bilbao, so when plans for the ambitious cultural project were revealed, many assumed it was a bad joke. It was no joke! In all, 20 million visitors have contributed to giving the city a new life. The Guggenheim effect, also known as the Bilbao effect, has turned into the symbol of how art and culture can boost the struggling economy.