A matter of perspective

Viewfinder

September 23, 2007|By Karl Merton Ferron | Karl Merton Ferron,Sun Photographer

I was stoked at the thought of capturing video and still images one recent morning as Leif Cogswell unstuck the wooden arms of the 25-foot-diameter southern-facing dial at Baltimore's famed Bromo-Seltzer clock Tower.

City residents tend to take the long-standing tower for granted, barely batting an eye at the structure that was completed in 1911 and resembles the Palazzo Vecchio's tower in Florence, Italy. The city owns the tower and is renovating space inside for possible use as studio space by city artists.

Arriving before the repair was scheduled to start, I walked around the area, looking for a good place to frame the work on the tower clock. The only way to show that there was a time problem was to show another dial with the correct time in the same frame. From a vantage point next to a hotel on the same block, the malfunctioning southern dial and the working eastern dial were visible as Cogswell worked on the stuck hands.

Working on the clockworks inside, repairman David Graf of Kittery Point, Maine, spoke in awe as 18-foot-high frosted glass from the four dials cast soft light in the clock room, more than 15 stories above downtown Baltimore.

"It's really a fantastic thing," he said. "It's clearly a big part of the architectural ambience of the whole town."

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