Sprinklers, standpipes and combination Siamese connections

An interactive photo essay.

Gargoyles of New York is a document, an observation, and if you slow down to really look at the photographs, as I hope you do, possibly a meditation. I shot almost 4,000 photos of auto sprinklers, standpipes and combination Siamese connections in Manhattan. Over 200 unique subjects were photographed as if they were portraits, at night and day. The book app contains a selection from those.

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Close to ninety minutes of street ambient sound, recorded on the spots where the photos were taken, or nearby, accompanies them. You can hear snippets of conversations, small fragments of stories and peoples’ lives passing by, the noise, the cars, the subway, the construction, the sirens, the city’s constant rumble. All this work finally became a real project when I teamed up with developer Brad Bambara, whose extraordinary work and attention to detail made it possible to go from idea to app.

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Photographing and observing these urban fixtures during two years I had the opportunity to see them change. Sometimes for the worse and sometimes for the better. I’ve even seen them rise back from the dead. The New York Times says they originated in New York, around the time of the Civil War, and some of them look like they could be that old. They are symmetrical, anthropomorphic, and like us, hard to find two alike. They are well grounded Gargoyles.

Guido Jiménez-Cruz

Gargoyles of New York is in the App Store.

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