Perhaps best known for her photographs of Buffalo’s abandoned industrial architecture, Patricia Layman Bazelon was born and educated in England in 1933 and immigrated to the United States in 1961. She worked in Manhattan as a film and television producer for advertising firms until 1979, when she moved to Buffalo and began working as a freelance photographer, taking advantage of everything that Buffalo had to offer the field of architectural photography.
British architectural historian Reyner Banham commissioned her to photograph Buffalo’s abandoned grain elevators and industrial buildings for his book, A Concrete Atlantis. She fell in love with the Queen City’s industrial landscape, and was given permission to photograph the Bethlehem Steel Plant during its reclamation in 1988. She became the chief photographer for the Brooklyn Museum in 1988, and continued to frequently visit and photograph Buffalo until her untimely death in the summer of 1995.
Patricia Layman Bazelon’s architectural photography can be found in many collections, including the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, NY; the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography in Rochester, NY; the West Collection in St. Paul, MN; the Castellani Art Museum in Niagara Falls, NY; and the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, NY.
CEPA Gallery is proud to offer Patricia Layman Bazelon’s architectural photography from Grain Elevators and Steel as individual prints AVAILABLE FOR SALE.
Individual prints from the Patricia Layman Bazelon collection are AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE as follows:
“…Also a special tribute to Buffalo, a warm, friendly city which has welcomed and nurtured me; where I’ve had the chance to learn my craft and enjoy my work amidst an abundance of splendid architecture by great masters like Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, H.H. Richardson among many, and by the unsung builders of these powerful industrial monuments.”
A cornerstone of Bazelon’s architectural photography, Buffalo’s abandoned grain elevators proved to be stoic and beautiful subjects.
In 1842, Buffalo entrepreneur Joseph Dart devised a system of bucket “elevators” to scoop grain from freighters into bins. Nineteen years later, when the British novelist Anthony Trollope visited Buffalo, dubbing it “the great gate of Ceres,” more than 50 million bushels of grain annually passed through what would become the world’s largest grain port. By the 1920s, when Le Corbusier heralded Buffalo’s 38 grain elevators as “the magnificent fruits of the new age,” the structures had influenced the Bauhaus school of architecture.
“…in 1987, I began to photograph the defunct mills, aware of their imminent demolition under a program of ‘reclamation.’ Some of the plant had already been torn down; most still stood—unchanged since the closing. All of it slated to go . . . The thousands of workers—men and women of uncommon courage and skill—were long gone, but they had left their marks indelibly. The abandoned buildings evoke these workers in singular and unexpected ways, and resonate still with their energy.’
A record of Bethlehem Steel’s now-demolished Lackawanna Iron and Steel Company in Buffalo, New York, the architectural photography of Steel was once presented as a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum from October 13, 1995, through February 4, 1996.
The Lackawanna plant was constructed around the turn of the century along Buffalo’s Lake Erie shore. These structures inspired, in part, the utopian vision of the Modernist city championed by such architects as Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius. Bazelon’s photographs, taken after the demise of both the plant and the Modernist ideals it embodied, are a testament to the heroic proportions of America’s industrial age and the beauty of purely functional form.