Back in about 1987, American Photo did a big piece on the new studio that Albert Watson had opened at 777 Washington Street. It was a magnificent place, impeccably designed in an 80s modern way that never seemed to go out of style. Watson's studio seemed to usher in an era of big, ultra-luxurious photo studios--both private spaces and rental spaces. But the time of the big private studio is over--at least for Watson. He has sold the Washington Street space for $34 million and is relocated south, in a penthouse in Tribeca. The new space will be dedicated to Watson's printing operation only. "For shooting we'll be using rental studios," says his son and assistant, Aaron.
When Watson moved into the Washington Street space, in Manhattan's meat packing district, the area was filled with transvestite hookers. (He paid $850,000 for the building in 1985, according to New York magazine.) Later, Fabrizio Ferri opened the Industria Superstudio down the street. Now the area is super-hip, and there are so many big buildings that Industria has, according to many photographers, lost it's natural light.--David Schonauer