Monday’s Photography Inspiration – Charles Clyde

Charles Clyde Ebbets was an American photographer, most famous for his photograph Lunchtime atop a Skyscraper in 1932. He is best know for his work in the 1930s when he published his work in the major newspapers across the nation including the New York Times.

Ebbets started his career during the 1920s in St Petersburg, Florida as a still photographer. He eventually became involved in early motion picture work, both in front of and behind the camera. In 1924, he had a brief stint as an actor, playing the role of an African hunter known as “Wally Renny” in several motion pictures. By the 1930s, Ebbets was a well-known photographer and had work published in major newspapers across the nation, including the New York Times. 

By 1932, he was the appointed photographic director for the Rockefeller Center which was under construction in New York. In September of that year, he would take the photo which would later define his work, Lunchtime atop a Skyscraper this picture represents eleven workmen lunching on a beam, without any safety.The photo was taken on the 69th floor of the RCA Building in the last several months of construction. The second, Resting one has Girder watch these same workmen resting, with the top of the vacuum.


Below are his most famous images.



Construction workers take a lunch break on a steel beam atop the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center, New York, Sept. 29, 1932. In the background is the Chrysler Building. (AP Photo)


New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam
29 Sep 1932 — Construction workers eat their lunches atop a steel beam 800 feet above ground, at the building site of the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center. — Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

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