An Engineer’s Eye: The Architectural Photographs of Gordon Schenck is now on view in the D. H. Hill Library Exhibit Gallery. Open through March 5 of next year, the exhibit presents over 60 gelatin silver prints of dozens of projects drawn from a sizeable collection on deposit in the NCSU Libraries Special Collections Research Center. The collection contains the records—negatives, prints and transparencies, publications, and client information—of over 30 years from the photography practice that Schenck and his wife Rebecca started in 1963.
Gordon H. Schenck, Jr. (1927–2009) enrolled at NC State when engineering and architecture were integrated disciplines within the School of Engineering. He studied both while earning a degree in General Engineering in 1950. After graduating, Schenck worked for Southern Railway for 13 years. But his life took a turn to the arts in 1963, when he bought a Linhof 4x5 view camera and discovered Julius Shulman’s recently published Photographing Architecture and Interiors (1962), which proved to be a transformative text for him. After attending an Ansel Adams workshop on the image and the word, Schenck and Rebecca founded the practice Gordon Schenck: Architectural and Engineering Photography.
Schenck quickly became known not only for the way he situated his subject in time—harnessing light and shadow, opacity and reflection to reveal a building’s form—but also in place, seeking unexpected vantage points that integrated the structure with its surrounding environment. In 1973, just ten years after starting his business, the North Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Architects (NC/AIA) honored Schenck with its Collaboration Award citing “his personal involvement in each project and his efforts to capture, through photography, the spirit and soul of the designing architect’s creativity.”
An Engineer’s Eye makes just a fraction of Schenck’s body of work public. The exhibit is part of this year’s Click! Photography Festival and Art It Up! Hillsborough Street event. Click! runs the entire month of October and celebrates the medium of photography and its cultural influence by engaging the Triangle community with exceptional photo-based works and artists. Art It Up! is a collection of 18 different events at 16 different locations on Saturday, Oct. 14 in Raleigh’s Hillsborough Street district. There will be gallery tours at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Please enter D. H. Hill from the campus side of the building.