I had been wanting to make this photograph for twenty-five years.
While shooting the feature Outside Providence in – appropriately enough – Providence, Rhode Island, I used to drive past the corner of Hope and Doyle every day on my way to work. No matter the conditions, the dark building crowned by the observation dome always drew my attention. Maybe it was its long setback from the street and the greenery that surrounded it, but the obsession was certainly rooted in the past; I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Theodore Roosevelt, fresh from a daring expedition, bounding down the steps. As is typical, the demands of the job kept me from going deeper and I’ve been sorry about that ever since. Once again finding myself in Providence – this time to shoot a pilot – I made my way to that intersection and found that neither the building nor the feelings it evoked had changed.
I figured the moment had come to trip the shutter, so I finally did. The result is exactly what I envisioned in 1997 and highlights the profound role such musings play in life. I don’t think there’s anything special about that. Everyone is constantly processing aspects of their environment.
The trick is in not waiting a quarter century to memorialize the parts that stick.