When you look at the winners of ENR's Annual Photo Contest, you will notice that some are memorable images that come from amateur photographers. Selected by a panel of judges from 1,752 entries, those excellent amateur photos prove digital cameras have democratized high-quality photography to a degree never imagined by George Eastman, and the construction industry is a key beneficiary.
The process of construction is a work of art in itself, often covered up by the utility or beauty of the project's final form. Construction often starts out under conditions that are difficult, challenging and sometimes dangerous, as the following pages of ENR photo-contest winners demonstrate.
Of the three absolute requirements for life—water, air and shelter—only shelter depends on human ingenuity. This gallery celebrates the process of the intense communication and teamwork that modern construction requires of its participants to realize in metal, glass, wood and stone, the heights of design imagination.
Everything that is built begins with people and their minds and hands. People are the soul of construction, and we celebrate that with some of the best images of people at work you ever will see.
If habitats are seen as the cells of life, everything else we build in the world that services and connect them must be seen as infrastructure. The range and variation boggles the mind, and so does the expertise required to design, build and maintain it. This gallery is the most eclectic and surprising of all.
As ENR closes the year with its fifth annual construction photography contest issue, the improving quality of the submissions is quite noticeable.
Will anyone ever forget the images of the Chinook helicopters target-bombing sandbags into the breached New Orleans canals? Or the sight of $3 a gallon posted above the pump at the gas station?
If one was to judge by the headlines in 2004, America was in desperate turmoil during the year as the bloodshed in Iraq continued unabated, ferocious presidential campaigning was pursued relentlessly by candidates seeking the opportunity to steer the nation one way or another and political demonstrations took on proportions last seen in the Vietnam era.
The world struggled with issues of terrorism, security, economic recovery, environment and quality of life in 2003 and construction was along for the ride, sometimes driving solutions for sticky problems and other times being dragged reluctantly along. Global construction needs seemed almost insurmountable when taken as a whole.