The Million Dollar Staircase, New York

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gnagel Veteran Member • Posts: 7,585
The Million Dollar Staircase, New York

On my drive back to Chicago from Newfoundland, I decided to revisit the New York State Capitol in Albany. It was one of the first state capitols that I photographed...and I've gained quite a bit more experience having photographed 48 more of these buildings. And, the New York State Capitol is one of the most interesting ones. I will share more of those images in a separate thread.

The Great Western Staircase is located inside the New York State Capitol. It is also known as the Million Dollar Staircase. It took an unheard of 14 years to build this staircase at a cost of more than $1 million back 1883. During the course of those 14 years, more than 500 stone cutters and carvers were brought in from Europe. One of their goals was to carve 77 famous faces into the sandstone walls of the staircase. The sculptors spent years, at $5 per day, to sculpt some of the finest carvings anywhere in the world.

Toward the end of this massive project, the sculptors were then permitted to continue adding faces--but faces of their choosing. So, along with the prominent faces are faces of friends, family and others (sometimes someone they happened to see on the street)--all of which can be scene when viewed from the staircase.

From a photography perspective, I found this staircase to be very challenging. The light streaming in from the skylight and side windows can be very harsh. And, it can be difficult to set up compositions from the stairs. It's also tough to shoot anything symmetric as the light fixtures are positioned in the most symmetrical locations.

Here's one of the exterior of the NY State Capitol:

And now for the staircase (a couple of these are from my previous visit):










Next up, the rest of the building!

Thanks for looking (and reading)...


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