In 2007 The Modern Bank commissioned me to photograph historic 20th century bank vaults in New York City. These images were then installed in their corporate offices. The beauty of their forms fascinated me, and the longer I studied them the more alive they became. Heavy steel molded into both geometric and decorative shapes gave them a life of their own. I started to see the vaults as a kind of altar surrounded by pilasters of marble, gilded gold ceilings and inlaid floors. The interlocking gears and piercing rods exuded a sense of sexuality as they buttressed the delicate mechanisms of blackened handles and shiny metal bolts. The vaults evoked a sense of mystery, awe, and intrigue. Why were they so lavishly appointed? Who deposited their cash and gold in these vaults?

I chose to photograph these vaults with infrared film, which would illuminate these powerful vaults of steel, perhaps revealing the secret stories behind their awe-inspiring presence and remaining Safely Hidden.

All Images: 2007, Archival Pigment Prints