Counter Arts
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Counter Arts

The Crane Amidst the Treetops

Do we ever stop building cities?

“The Crane amidst a blue tree line.” ©Vijay Krishna Palepu

The view from the balcony canvases a line of trees — some near, and some afar. But as the camera pans, the construction crane comes to view … inevitably.

That crane has become a prominent, inescapable feature of my landscape. I cannot imagine a sunrise or sunset without it. It is like an old, bald grandpa — you cannot imagine grandpa as a young man with a full head of hair.

That crane photobombs photographs of pink skies…

It shows up in dusky photographs…

It shows up in zoomed in shots of the tree line on the far away hills…

“Crane Closeup” ©Vijay Krishna Palepu

It shows up in wide-angle shots… unmistakably, right in the center. Its faint, but its there.

“The Faint Crane” ©Vijay Krishna Palepu

It shows up on my evening runs…

“I am always surrounded by trees, near and afar.” ©Vijay Krishna Palepu (Shot this with my iPhone Mini … unlike others which I shot with my Canon.)

I am never far away from that crane.

I usually filter away and ignore photographs that feature this construction crane. But this crane’s persistence got me to reconsider it as the main subject of an entire photo essay — this one.

In fact, this crane has me wondering about the lifespans and lifecycles of buildings and cities and the tools we use to build them.

Do we ever finish building modern-day cities? Is construction an unavoidable, never-ending fact of any urban landscape? How vital is routine construction to replenishing the local economy in the city? Are we building the right thing?

I’ve been asking these questions ever since I clicked the photograph below.

“The soft glow of urbanism.” ©Vijay Krishna Palepu

The soft glow of the evening sun seems to bathe all the right symptoms of urbanism —the road and its asphalt, cars and their rooftops, and that construction crane; while forming dark silhouettes against the more natural elements: trees and far away hills.

Getting back to the question of never-ending construction.

This particular crane seems to be employed in building a new office complex. Do we still need that office space? More people are, and will continue working from home. Will those office plans be repurposed as apartments or condos? It just so happens to be along a major commute rail line — so it would make sense for people to live there.

Sooner or later, that crane will finish its purpose on this project and be moved to the next one. I wonder, what material will it lift next? Will it continue to neighbor trees after it moves? When will it be decommissioned to the scrap yard? What will it recycle into? It seems that the circle of life extends to inorganic, man-made objects.

For now, it does not seem to be going anywhere. I hope it does not. I have grown fond of it, oddly. Here is one final shot of it — a darker one:

“Crane in the dark.” ©Vijay Krishna Palepu



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