When I first visited New York City, in July 1972, I was surprised to find there an architecture that didn't correspond to what I expected based on the photos and the films that were available to the European public at that time.
I had believed that the city consisted exclusively of skyscrapers of vastly over-sized proportions with stark facades. I discovered that a majority of buildings were no more than twenty floors high, dating mostly from the first half of the XXth century and that entire streets were lined with town houses of an earlier period. All displayed an abundance of sculpted ornamental motifs and neo-classic cornices, that gave the city a far more welcoming appearance.

In 1975 I moved to New York City and began working full time as an image-maker and deepened my photographic interest for local architecture. Seven years later I offered my services to a new magazine, New York Habitat (today simply named "Habitat"). Carol Ott had created her magazine for the benefit of co-op owners and managers, a very new audience in a mutating real estate market.

The range of subjects covered was very broad, from the evolution of the market to repairs and renovations, from boiler maintenance to new co-owner selection, from financial matters to the rights of pet owners, and much more, all related to the inner life and operations of residential buildings. Architecture was going to be a key element in the photographic illustrations that I was to create for the covers.

As early as my second cover (on the right), publisher and editor-in-chief Carol Ott, editorial director Tom Sotter, art director Bernie Hoffman and I chose to feature the scale models that I would build using my photographic archives as reference. For the following years, I produced a great number of covers for the magazine, constructing or altering my architectural models, a process that largely allowed me to define my personal style and technique of photographic illustration.

The images presented here are all from this first period, during which I had many opportunities to pay tribute to New York City architecture, the very same architecture that had seduced me on my first visit.

In 1994 I began using digital photographic montage and my illustrations took on a different appearance based on the direct usage of my architectural photographs.

My contributions to Habitat magazine continue to this day and include more than 100 covers.


The first model I created for N.Y. Habitat, based on the facade of my building at 62 Pierrepont street, in Brooklyn Heights.
copyright © 2009 Jacques Moury Beauchamp
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