Last week I was able to cross off an item from my bucket list by doing a photo shoot at the Salk Institute. This mid-century marvel is the brainchild of Jonas Salk with the bold architecture of Louis Kahn making it not only a revolutionary place for science and research, but a pilgrimage site for architecture and design lovers. The historic campus of the Salk Institute has long been one of those iconic San Diego sites that you may have seen captured somewhere on social media, but not known exactly where this magical place might be. Something about its raw materials and reverent stare toward the sea is reminiscent of an ancient Greek temple of the gods. Salk’s vision for the institute was to “dare to make dreams into reality.” Stepping into the space, it is obvious this was a place meant to harmonize with nature in order to inspire the mind towards great discovery.
Because it is a functioning laboratory and research center with a lot of student activity, access to the site is strict and is allowed only between certain hours. My talented friend Bronson and I were lucky enough to be granted permission for a low key shoot in the public space. Both of us had dreamed of creating imagery here for a long while and we took full advantage of our time.
Although the central plaza and the iconic river of life are the most well known, we were both equally inspired by the harmony and flow of the stairways and flanking cavernous hallways.
We had a break in our summer heat and got an atypical cloudy day for the time of year. Initially bummed about this, my mind was quickly changed when I saw how this enhanced the already gorgeous light play in the space by diffusing it in a really magical way.
It was really hard to pull ourselves away from the space. As the sun set, we kept seeing the space evolve with the changing light. We were oh so grateful for the time we had and it was such a blast. I’m so thankful to Bronson for always being willing to create art with me. I found it profound to be creating imagery in a space where cures are created and life is saved on a daily basis.
All photos by Bronson Pate of Bauman Photographers