ROOFTOPS: Photographs by Brad Temkin

It is important to recognize that Temkin captures, not an unnoticed feature of the built landscape, but a significant shift in architectural expression. This architecture is a new artistic medium in which nature and humanity contribute equally. It represents a departure from the traditions of the past in which buildings were conceived in opposition to nature.
— Roger Schickedantz, from the introduction to the book Rooftop: Photography by Brad Temkin
Randolph Street (Looking North), Chicago May 2010

Randolph Street (Looking North), Chicago May 2010

X06_City Hall (Looking Northeast) Chicago July 2011

X06_City Hall (Looking Northeast) Chicago July 2011

The elevated landscapes from the Rooftop series represent the judicious reintroduction of nature into urban settings. The photographs reveal that through grace and ingenuity, we may be able to construct a healthier environment and a more responsible infrastructure.

This project, book and exhibition have been embraced by leaders in the field of green architecture, as well as museum curators and collectors. Images from this series have been exhibited in venues nationally and internationally, from San Francisco to Russia. The photographs selected for this traveling exhibition were featured this fall in Second Nature: A Survey – Photographs by Brad Temkin at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Florida, with a supplemental display of images from the Rooftop series at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. This traveling exhibition will be available to tour beginning in January of 2016.

My images do more than merely document rooftop gardens. By securely situating the gardens within the steel, stone, and glass rectangularity of urban downtowns, I ask viewers to revel in their far more open patterns, colors, and connection to the sky. In this break, I see not merely beauty and dichotomy, but the framework for positive change.“ – Brad Temkin
— Brad Temkin


Brad Temkin is an award winning Chicago-based photographer who has been documenting human and environmental relationships throughout his career in photography. Widely known for his contemporary landscape images, his work is held in numerous permanent collections, including those of The Art Institute of Chicago; Milwaukee Art Museum; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Akron Art Museum, Ohio; and Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, among others. His images have appeared in such publications as Aperture, Black & White Magazine, TIME Magazine and European Photography. A monograph of Mr. Temkin’s work entitled Private Places: Photographs of Chicago Gardens was published in 2005 by Center for American Places. He has been an adjunct professor at Columbia College in Chicago since 1984, and a lecturer and visiting artist at numerous institutions in the United States and abroad. Temkin’s second book entitled ROOFTOP published by Radius Books ( was released in October 2015.

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