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New Photo Exhibit Takes 'Straight Up' View of Manhattan Skyline

By Andrea Swalec | August 16, 2012 10:37am

MANHATTAN — In March, Lower East Side-based photographer Cameron Neilson shot photos in Lower Manhattan pointing up at the towering buildings directly above where he stood. 

When he examined the shots he took in Louise Nevelson Plaza on William Street, the fashion and architecture fan dreamed up his latest project: a collection of photos called "Straight Up" that examines Manhattan and other urban landscapes vertically. 

Neilson's exhibition, which is on view at Openhouse Gallery's 379 Broome St. location through Wednesday, Aug. 22, looks up at Manhattan with wonder, he said. 

"At street level, everything is forever changing, but the tops of buildings rarely change," he said. 

The black-and-white photos — which also depict Seattle; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco and Jackson Hole, WY — are as much about calling attention to the blank space between buildings as they are about architecture, said Neilson, a Portland native who has shot for Bulgari and Playboy

To stay true to his vision, Neilson, 38, gave himself some constraints on how to take the photos. First, he forced himself to only point his camera directly up and to make sure he held the camera perfectly level from left to right and backwards and forward. Second, at least one edge of each photo's frame had to be parallel to the edge of a building. 

"You'd be surprised — you move the camera an inch one way and it's a completely different image," he said. 

"Straight Up" will be on view at Openhouse Gallery's 379 Broome St. location between Mulberry and Mott streets from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Wednesday, Aug. 22. 

Prints of the photos as well as licenses of digital copies of the images are available for $450 to $1,850.