Market Square work area becomes temporary exhibit space

Kurt Shaw
| Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, 8:16 p.m.

Walking Downtown, you might have noticed that Forbes Avenue is closed between Wood Street and Market Square, save for the sidewalk. That's so Millcraft Investments can complete the Gardens at Market Square, a $104 million mixed-use project slated to be completed in the fall of 2015.

But, for the time being, what would have been boring construction fencing blocking the progress from public view has now been gussied up, thanks to Millcraft partnering with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership to display photography that highlights Pittsburgh's landmarks and neighborhoods at the project site.

The 30-plus photos on display are by five local photographers, Nick Childers, Joey Kennedy, Jake Reinhart, Karou Tohara and Barbara G. Walker.

Each has six to 10 images on display, and they all have a favorite.

“I chose my photograph ‘Bigelow St.' because I think that it's the perfect example of the technical and conceptual aspects of this body of work,” says Reinhart of Greenfield.

All of Reinhart's photos on display were influenced by a group of photographers from the mid-1970s: Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz and Henry Wessel Jr.

“They had participated in a group show that is commonly referred to as the ‘New Topographics,' ” Reinhart says. “What inspired me about their photography was the way in which they shifted the perspective on landscape photography. Rather than photographing pristine wilderness, they turned their lenses towards urban environments, land that had been affected by the intervention of man.”

Having grown up in Pittsburgh, Reinhart says, “I wanted to find something new and exciting in the neighborhoods where I spend most of my time. I wanted to slow down and think about how Pittsburgh has shaped my understanding of the world around me.

“ ‘Bigelow St.' is a photograph that is successful in that attempt. This is a corner a few blocks from my house. I walk or drive past this scene a few times a week. The night that I shot that photo, I was looking at the way the streetlight was falling on the houses and the lights shining out from the windows. It allowed me a moment of quiet reflection.”

Another native son, although currently living in Brooklyn, N.Y., Nicholas Childers says “Reservoir Sunset — Highland Park” is a favorite, because it, too, was taken in the neighborhood where he grew up.

“It's one of those magical moments that you see and don't really appreciate it, unfortunately, in this day and age,” Childers says of the image, which is one of 10 he has on display. “But I got a lot of likes on it on Instagram.”

One moment that remained hidden until the photographer printed the image can be seen in “Watcher” by Kaoru Tohara of Mt. Washington. It features a man looking at the moon atop the Sixth and Penn Parking Garage, Downtown. “I didn't really notice, when it was a small print. But when I printed it out at 16 by 20 inches, I saw a person.”

“Shiny Garden” by Joey Kennedy of Lawrenceville, one of 10 by him on display, is another favorite piece.

“The skyline here really inspired me,” says Kennedy, who moved to Pittsburgh from Lancaster in 1996 and has since worked primarily as a wedding photographer.

Kennedy says the photo of the city skyline taken from the West View Overlook, “was an accident. I was standing there talking to somebody who I knew, and the exposure went a minute over. I shot everything else correctly, and when I got back to my studio, I was like, ‘Oh wow, that's the prettiest.' ”

“Cruikshank Farm” by Barbara G. Walker of Friendship is among only a few images that are not of the city.

“This particular photograph was taken in Butler County at dawn,” Walker says. “I revisit this barn and Phipps (Conservatory) often, as I never tire of seeing them in morning light.”

A straightforward image of a 19th-century barn with a beautiful morning sky as its backdrop, it's a standout image among many.

“I am always in search of something new to photograph and frequently roam about the city or travel from Butler to Braddock in hopes of seeing it all,” Walker says. “That, happily, never happens.”

Angelica Patterson spokeswoman for Millcraft Investments, says the project is a way for her firm to say thank you to the city.

“Millcraft has done close to $200 million worth of projects down here. It's our home, we love it, and again we really wanted to say thank you to Pittsburgh,” she says.

Kurt Shaw is the art critic for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at

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