Looking For Work

Looking for Work: The Industrial Architecture of Columbia County, Photographs by Anita Giraldo heralds and complements the long-awaited publication of Industrial Archaeology in Columbia County, New York by Peter H. Stott, a fascinating and authoritative accounting of the economic and industrial development of the county, township by township, from the eighteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries. A diverse selection of these sites is the subject of this exhibition.

Commissioned panoramic and square photographs by the gifted photographer Anita Giraldo reveal their present condition while providing the viewer with a glimpse into the county's past. The sites were selected for their visual interest, architectural significance, variety of product or function, and geographical distribution across the county. Giraldo's photographs are beautifully composed, but she has also shot her subjects in a manner that subtly reveals aspects of their history. One must scrutinize, for example, Gifford Brothers Foundry & Machine Shop before the Greek Revival detail of the original 1856 building emerges from the blandly painted additions and accretions. This exhibition, then, is a testament to the rich legacy of industrial architecture in Columbia County and a cautionary reminder of our collective responsibility to record and preserve these historical structures.

The organizing force behind this exhibition was Bonnie Yochelson, a highly regarded curator of photography; only through her efforts has the exhibition been realized. Anita Giraldo gave generously of her time and talent to produce these striking images. The hard work and constructive contributions of the Exhibition Committee greatly benefited this exhibition as well as to our ongoing exhibition program. Finally, I would like to express our gratitude to Ruth Ellen Berninger, Director, and Helen McLallen, Curator, of the Columbia County Historical Society for their valued efforts and expertise.

Timothy Husband

Chair, Exhibition Committee

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  The Ironworks at Livingston, 2007. Digital c-print from transparency. 15 x 45 in. (38 x 114 cm).