I’ve always had a fascination with Water Towers. They disrupt the cookie cutter layout of suburbia and are ubiquitous to the New York City skyline.
Water Towers became the way to transport water to the communities and buildings all over the world first starting in the 1300’s but becoming more feasable in the 1800’s. They replaced the often bacteria infected town wells as a new, clean way to pump and transport water to the masses.
The Chicago Water Tower is one of the most popular Water Towers in the United States, this amazing piece of architecture withstood the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The tower itself is now obsolete but the pumping station is still operational and the tower also serves as a major tourist stop.
During the 1800’s NYC required that all buildings higher than 6 stories be equipped with a rooftop water towers. Since 2006, the neighborhood of Tribeca requires water towers on all buildings, regardless if they are being used or not! Two family owned companies in NYC, who were originally barrel makers, have been outfitting the NYC skyline with wooden water towers since those early contracts in the 1800’s. No sealant is used to hold the water in. Tank walls are held together with cables and leak through every gap when first filled. However, as the wood swells, the gaps close and become impermeable.
Most water towers are off limits to the public, however the water tower atop Volunteer Park in Seattle is open to the public and offers amazing 360 degree views of the city. No fence was around this water tower in Portland, Oregon, and I was excited to shoot underneath the behemoth. The image was shot with a new pinhole camera purchase, the 8banners superwide medium format camera. I first saw this camera at the f/295 pinhole symposium and knew in my heart that I had to have one. I am a superwide kinda guy and as you can see that pinhole is pretty darn sharp.
Well, have a cup of water and enjoy the pic!