Hello, my name is Connor Tomlin and I’m Studio 13’s summer intern. I’ll be blogging here for a couple of months so I figured that you, the reader, should know something about me. I am a recently graduated high school senior looking toward this fall when I will be studying Musical Theatre and Nursing at Auburn University (War Eagle!). I can’t wait to share my experiences with you all!
I knew it was going to be a good day when it required wearing a hardhat. My first day on the job with Studio 13 started just the way I like it: filled with heights, wobbly scaffolding, sharp things, and other such general dangers. What does all this add up to? Photographing the exterior detail work and architecture of the newly restored Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis.
The State of Indiana hired Studio 13 to record what the monument looks like up close for posterity and to promote tourism for the state. Although Studio 13 is branded with the label “Commercial Photography”, this term covers so much more than one might think. Over the last 25 years, Lesle Lane and Tena Vetor have worked under the subcategories of Advertising Photography, Construction, and Industrial, just to name a few. Normally, Tena works closer with Lesle on all of the jobs, but since she is deathly afraid of heights, the responsibilities fell to me.
While on the job, the first person we meet is a man named Jason Larrison, a tall guy with a well-trimmed beard, sunglasses, and white hardhat. Little did I know when I first met him that Jason is the architect for the State of Indiana. I don’t think I could have told you the state had an official architect but apparently he’s been doing it for over 13 years, and doing it very well. For the past seven months, his job has been to work with Glenroy Construction and Arsee Engineers to oversee the restoration and preservation of the monument.
The second day of the job Patrick Kestner from One 10 Studio showed up on site. He too is an architect, but besides being the one who gave us the referral for the job, he didn’t really have anything to do with the project. He just felt like showing up and chatting with friends on a construction site. I guess when you know the right people and work downtown you can do whatever you want. I’m going to write that one down.
As soon as we are inside the barrier of the chain-link fence, Jason immediately takes us up on the scaffolding. The stairs seem endless. The “floor” nearly swayed back and forth beneath our feet. We spent the next six hours over two days capturing the beauty of a century-old copper and limestone monument in ways very few people will ever see in their lifetime. Well to be honest, Lesle did that whole capturing part. I held a reflector, changed lenses 10 times, and walked down the endless stairs and back up again to get us some water. But boy the things she captured!
The detail of ribbon-like texture of an American flag.
The small but important differences between the seemingly identical ladies on the four corners of the monument.
The designer’s name carved into the side of the building.
Even the attention to detail found in the fact that the figures portrayed have fingernails!
All these things point to the craftsmanship and that German architect Bruno Schmitz poured into this creation—not just on the small scale but on the larger scale as well. Part of our job was to go on the roofs of buildings on Monument Circle that surrounded the towering obelisk and photograph what the monument looked like with the scaffolding around it.
I can’t believe the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I’ve had today. Indianapolis is such a beautiful and interesting city and I got to see it from an angle that nobody else can. I guess it pays to know people who know people.
If this is what my first day is like, who knows what possibilities await me further along the road this summer?