Why manholes?

People ask me why I bother shooting manholes when I show them the pictures. Well, dammit. I don’t know. Because the manhole is there and it stands out. It’s there and people walk all over it. Cars, trucks and scooters whiz over.

Well, it’s there and there’s stuff happening below it. A world of sinks, drains, clogs and slush. And that’s a bit like our lives. Like things we cover up but all of it is there and the cover’s got to look nice. Don’t you agree? The cover’s got to look nice. So, there’s this woman photographer I know and she looks at my manhole pictures and says, “Well, everybody shoots manholes you know”, and kind of shrugs. But it’s what you do with the idea, how you build it and that’s what design is all about. Everyone gets ideas. They’re out there, like manholes. And then, what do you do with it?

It’s just beautiful if you think about it. This cover, this perfect grid, like a layout for a magazine, something I would make before I started to draw and define things and then instead of defining, putting type in slots, the leaves start to fall all over in swirls. There’s this harmony of free form against a grid. I see then this perfect order of how we make cities or pretend to make cities and then we really don’t know what’s going to happen. At the end of it all, there are four seasons, many possibilities and chance. That’s the potion you have to stir to make design.

By Anthony Lopez on Aug 05, 2014
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