Benjamin Swett – 30/30




On view: September 12 – October 13, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 12, 6–8 PM


Planthouse is pleased to announce 30/30, an exhibition featuring photographs (many of them large-scale panoramas) of the New York skyline by Benjamin Swett. Taken during the course of a year from the 30th-floor penthouse at 30 East 85th Street, the photographs capture views in all directions and in all kinds of light. They comprise a portrait of New York City from high up, presenting the city as a complex landscape of shapes, colors, and depths. The exhibition will be on view at Planthouse from September 12 – October 13, 2019.

These photographs were made on a commission from a family who lived in the apartment, who knew that they would be there only temporarily and wanted to preserve a record of their time there.

The location of the building from which Swett took the photographs—on the east side of Central Park, and roughly at the centerline of the park—allowed unobstructed views of midtown Manhattan, Central Park, The Central Park Reservoir, The Upper West Side, The East Side of Manhattan, Queens, The George Washington Bridge, the Palisades, and the far hills of New Jersey. Because the photographs were taken at dawn or at the very end of the day, and in moonlight, they depict the city as a place of subtly variegated surfaces and hues, with the glow of sunset merging with the twinkle of lighted windows, and clouds hovering and forming according to their own patterns.

Swett is a writer and photographer best known for his books Route 22 and New York City of Trees, which won the New York City Book Award for Photography in 2013. Swett founded the Parks in Print program at the New York City Parks Department, which produced maps and guides for New York City’s underserved parks. He teaches photography and writing in New York City, and is the expedition photographer for the Notion Archaeological Project in Turkey. His photographs can be found in private, corporate, and public collections.

A catalog, 30/30, made in conjunction with the exhibition, will be available. This is Swett’s second solo exhibition with Planthouse.