1998 to the present
In 1997 Janet Borden and I visited the late Brendan Gill to talk about possible architectural photography projects in New York City. He immediately suggested the private associations, clubs and libraries, saying they had never been carefully documented and volunteered to help.
Sadly, a year later when I was ready to begin he unexpectedly passed away. To my great good fortune Donald Oresman, who had made our introductions to Mr. Gill, stepped into the breech and has been extraordinarily generous with his time and efforts on my behalf. The project could not possibly exist without him.
Before I started this work I never have thought of private clubs in conjunction with New York City, now I cannot imagine the place without them. They are architecturally unique and culturally significant. They provide a sense of identity and comfort in an urban setting where the sheer scale and density can dwarf even the most accomplished individual. They offer respite and relaxation through determinedly old-fashioned style; oak paneling and tables, leather bound books and upholstered chairs, carafes of ice water on hot days and warm welcomes when cold winds are blowing through the canyons.
I photographed my first club in a borrowed jacket and tie, feeling semi-throttled about the neck. Now, thanks to the kindness of friends, I have a seersucker suit for the summer, a full complement of year round outfits plus a wonderful selection of ties that I wear in complete comfort.
(c) JIM DOW 2010