The photos submitted to this issue of ENR demonstrate the aesthetic finesse of hundreds of contributors. They have captured more than the usual number of craftworkers, equipment operators, engineers and managers—who are merely going about their daily business. Most never notice the photographer or the camera. Obscured by a vast landscape and a burning sun or, perhaps, hidden in the basket of a personnel lift, some of these workers are overshadowed by the massive forms they are helping to create. Our annual photo contest celebrates these individuals and the project teams that animate the construction industry.
For example, the image on this page shows two crew members and their eight spectral colleagues, who live only inside the curtain wall’s panels. The picture suggests the unseen, often unheralded “We got your back” collaboration involved in a massive building-team effort.
With construction now busier than at any time since 2008, it’s easy to forget that the industry has a character and a multi-faceted personality. The many individuals who make up a project team must cooperate, not just to finish projects but to act together in the interest of all clients, customers and the public, which benefits from what we design, build, refurbish and restore. What is the industry’s dominant trait—meticulous, resourceful, doggedly persistent, entrepreneurial or brash? All of the above? This year’s photos are a tribute to the men and women who dream the dreams, execute the plans and solve the problems.
The worldwide construction industry is an unusual federation of interests, specialties and fiefdoms. To keep this extended family healthy and growing over the coming years, the industry must attract fresh talent, which partly depends on how well it improves its workers’ quality of life. To do this, the industry must work in harmony and prepare for the future so that its craftworkers, equipment operators, engineers and managers finish their workdays and careers as happy, fulfilled ambassadors who are eager and ready to recommend a life in construction to young people.