Monday, February 27, 2017

Houston night.jpg, an oft-used skyline photograph of Houston

Calling all photographers: we need an updated skyline night shot here in Houston.

Houston night.jpg





















This is likely the most-used skyline photograph of Downtown Houston. And, it needs a bit of updating. Now, I'm sure there are thousands of skyline shots of Houston out there on the internet, but none as popular at this one, "Houston night.jpg".

The photo was taken by Flickr user eflon back in February of 2008 from the top of the Harris County parking structure at 1401 Congress Street, which sits atop the Harris County Federal Credit Union, a block to the east of the Harris County Civil Courthouse.

If you subscribe to email updates from Houston area organizations, or see news articles written about Houston, you've likely see this image before. It is included in the Wikimedia Commons, able to be used without requiring permission for non-commercial uses. This morning, Progrss, a group that tracks the trends and best practices in the transformation of cities all over the world, featured the photograph in an article announcing the network's partnership with the Rice Kinder Institute. The partnership is something to be celebrated, as it will help allow the City of Houston to start using "big data" to assist in solving Houston's biggest problems.

Houston's skyline has changed greatly since 2008. Of course, due to the angle of this photograph, much of the change in the southern portion will be eclipsed. But, we're missing a t least two of the now-iconic buildings that shape Houston's skyline.

For starters, we're missing BG Group Place (It'll probably be called Shell-something after Shell's acquisition of BG Group. BG Group Place was completed in 2011, three years after Houston night.jpg was taken.

We're also missing 609 Main at Texas.

Market Square Tower would have almost certainly been out of view, as just the extreme southern portion of the Lyric Center is captured, but this will be another one of Houston's skyline-shaping buildings.

A quick image search using Google Images shows that this image is everywhere. It's on a recycling website. One for emergency dentists too. And a marketing company, a tutoring company, a website for private security guards, and a recent Advance Auto Parts road trip planner set for those who were coming to Houston to experience Super Bowl LI.

It's odd how pictures and things like tweets and videos "go viral", and are used in such a wide variety of websites. When photographers allow their photos to be used by others, I suppose that will be expected. (Especially when it's a great photograph!). For as great of a photo as it is, we could use a little bit of an update, showing off the many changes in Houston's skyline.

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