January 11, 2017
Long Island City, NY – Two photos by the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) depicting work at DDC projects in New York City have been selected as winners of Engineering News-Record’s (ENR) “Year in Construction” Photo Contest for 2016. The magazine selected 40 winners from almost 1,100 entries from around the world. DDC’s photos and other winners are presented in an online gallery beginning today on ENR’s website.
“We know from studying old construction photos that visually documenting the work of DDC creates an important historical record for the City,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “The nature of the agency’s work on public buildings and infrastructure can make it challenging to put a human face on our projects, but our staff have done so here and have rightfully been recognized by the editors at ENR, a leading construction industry publication.”
Both photos were taken by DDC staff producer and editor Matthew Lapiska of Queens.
“When I am photographing a project site I try reveal a human touch on the project,” said Lapiska. “It’s important to capture the all-encompassing wide angle of our projects, be it a library or a plaza, but for me it’s often the faces of the people involved or the small details of a job site that bring the story of a project together and really enliven it.”
The first photo selected by ENR was taken during the installation of a new culvert in 147th Avenue in Rosedale, Queens. It portrays now-retired DDC Resident Engineer Antoin Bedard in protective gear examining diagrams of the project in a shipping container that served as an office for the project team.
“The work site was very wet that day after heavy rain, and the majority of the work being done was pumping water from the trench,” said DDC’s Lapiska. “I was trying to find ways to photograph the workers in a manner other than a posed portrait. [Bedard] had been a silhouette against the bright exterior of the door but once he started turning pages the bright white of the plans reflected enough light to illuminate his face and orange vest. It was a small change but it offered the chance for a good photograph.”
The photo was taken with a Canon 5d with a 16-35mm wide angle zoom lens, shooting at 16mm in order to take in the entirety of a cramped space.
The second photo selected by ENR is of Ernie Johnson, a Lift Boss for contractor Ducky Johnson Home Elevations, as he operates a hydraulic lift system during a home elevation in the Rockaways in Queens.
“House lifts are a start and stop process, with a lot of work prep surrounding a short burst of action as the structure is elevated incrementally,” said Lapiska. “I wanted to try to convey the intensity of a pretty high pressure job. [Johnson] was monitoring both the gauges on his control panel and the progress of the rising house. His bald eagle emblazoned hard hat is a detail that really brings this image together for me.”
For this photo Lapiska also used a Canon 5d but with a longer 105mm lens so he could stand at a distance and crouch below Johnson’s sight line, so as to not block Johnson’s view of the house being lifted.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.