On its own, the brick is an unimpressive chunk of clay. Mortared alongside a few thousand of its friends, though, the brick becomes a molecule in the urban ecosystem. Here are 31 photographic odes to the humble brick.


Winner: UCLA

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

This was taken at UCLA and even though there were so many other interesting things to shoot. This was a clear favorite.

Camera: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi; Auto Exposure; Focal length: 43 mm; lens: EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS; aperture: f/5.2

- Troy Ford


Jacob's Ladder

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

This is a picture of one of my buildings at my college. I set my camera at hip level and shot straight up. This made the building almost look like a road that leads to nowhere.

Nikon D3200, 18-55 DX lens; f/10; 1/60 shutter speed; 200 ISO; 18mm

- Nicholas Shirley


49 Street

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

I am spending one week in NY and it was a "lovely" raining day, OK, let me stop bitching because I am in NY for God's sake!

Waiting for a train at the 49th street station seemed a perfect opportunity for a brick shot, so here it is.

- Alecio De Paula


Beverly Blvd.

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

For this photo I used a 35mm Nikon Nikor lens(ISO 1600, f/2), the shot was taken on Beverly Blvd in Los Angeles at night. When I read about the shooting challenge with bricks I had a location in mind to take some shots. I got some ok photos there, but when I was walking back I came across this huge brick wall and was inspired to show how the bricks seemed to be endlessly stacked on top of one another toward the sky until they become impossible to distinguish from one another.

- Andrew Knaup


Reflected Brick

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

A friend and I enjoyed a lovely spring day in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia… I always enjoy capturing the charming architecture with my camera… and thought the reflection of one brick building in the window of another created an interested layered look.

Canon Rebel SL1, f/9, 1/60

- Cheryl MacLean


Anchor

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

I found this nail in the side of a brick building in Old Washington, KY. Washington was originally called Kenton Station, and is one of the oldest European settlements in Kentucky. This particular building is one of the newer buildings on the street, built in 1829.

Canon T3; 50 mm f/1.8 lens; shot at f/2 at 1/1600th sec

- Chris Sears


Pothole

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

Is the building standing or is it laying on the ground? I could be looking up at it or about to walk on it.

Sony RX100-M2; f/4; 1/250th; ISO 160.

- Costas Kitsos


Ballard Hardware

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

Walking to my car after seeing a terrific Black Prairie performance in Ballard, I came across this tall brick building hulking in the sky.

Panasonic GM1 with the 20mm f/1.7 lens. 1/30s (steadied on a fence), f/1.7, ISO 2500. Editing in Lightroom and Color Efex Pro 4.

- David Lee


Arch

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

I was toying around with different ideas all week for this challenge and remembered this planter my grandparents have had in front of their home for longer than I've been alive. A nostalgic way to portray this week's subject for me.

Shot with a Sony NEX-5T, ISO 100, 19mm, f/4.0, 1/800sec. 3 exposures merged together in Photomatix Pro for HDR image.

- Devin Cheek


Brick Mix

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

While I was walking I saw this brick/rock wall (I live close to a river, so ancient builders often used rocks instead of bricks) and I was captured by it's regular pattern going on and on, brick/rock/brick pieces/rock/brick.

Shot with Nokia Lumia 925, with ProShot application.

- Francesco Lorenzin


Pre-War Buildings

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

A client of mine lives in a building on West 86th Street between West End and Riverside, and whenever I visit I always marvel at the wall of pre-war buildings stacked alongside each other with each a unique earthy color. By my amateur estimation no other Manhattan block can boast this much brick.

Sony RX-100 f/11 ISO-125 1/80sec

- Gene Li


Salem

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

There is a lot of brick in Salem, MA. Pictured here is St. James Church, a mighty and shapely brick structure that stands out amid asphalt, trees, and wood houses. On this particular day, the view looking up from directly in front of the church, where a celebration had just ended, was inspiring. The brick itself suggests harmony and edification; while each brick is itself well-formed and important, the greater whole magnifies its splendor.

Equipment: Olympus E-M10 camera with an Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18mm zoom lens at 9mm native (18mm-equivalent). Settings: Aperture-priority, f/8, ISO200 (Auto), 1/1250s, RAW only slightly processed and cropped to a 3:2 aspect ratio.

- Gregory Vozzo


Grit

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

- Jake Jensen


The Classics

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

The image was obtained with an iPhone 5S set to auto HDR. Global adjustments made in Snapseed for color and contrast. Then the HDR was dialed up in autoHDR to highlight the texture of the bricks.

- Jonas Demuro


No Parking

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

I wasn't planning on entering a photo, but on Friday I found myself wandering around in Northampton, Massachusetts - a town with an abundance of brick buildings. All I had with me was my Android phone (I usually shoot with a Canon 7D), so I had to make do with what I had. I took a number of pictures, but this was the best shot I could manage within the hour of free time that I had.

- Joseph Marinelli


Nature Finds A Way

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

Ever since I moved to Washington, DC, I have been taken with the charming brick sidewalks in historic Georgetown (though it makes going out in heels extra challenging!). I love how the grass creeps up between the bricks in some places, creating a natural green grout.

The photo was taken with an iPhone 4 and edited only with Instagram's Lux effect to highlight the brick's porous texture.

- Karelia Pallan


For Years

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

I've been watching these bricks fall apart for years.

Taken with my Sony alpha NEX-6, edited courtesy of Google.

- Kim Prokosch


Still Standing

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

Shooting in alleyways and dank corridors - loved seeing how buildings have been retrofitted over time and how the cheapest solutions were always the most interesting.

Canon T3i, 1/1000, f3.5, 200

- Logan Nickels


Leading Lines

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

Shot in the alley outside my building. I like how the lines of the brick rows seem to merge together the further down you look.

Shot on Nex6 with 18-55mm lens, 100 ISO, 1/15 and F22. Edited for contrast and structure in Google photo edit.

- Marc Solomon


Bricks on Bricks

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

My girlfriend is a big fan of bricks, and we are both big fans of LEGO, so as I soon as I saw this challenge I knew we had to combine bricks with bricks. We stopped into Target to find a set with a camera and a set with a good minifig, then went on a walk on some local streets during the golden hour. After many fun shots with a lot of different scenes (and comments from pedestrians), we decided this was our best. Bricks on bricks!

Equipment: Canon Rebel T2i; Shutter Speed 1/200; Aperture 5.6; ISO 160

- Paul McNiel


Mortar Mess

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

Well, I had gotten bored with Minecraft for the day, so I decided to get outside for a bit. The daughter had just gotten home, so we all went. We were walking around in downtown Winslow, AZ, which is full of old buildings from the early 1900's. Some walls had collapsed and were rebuilt. This building was a bar at one point in the recent past (90's). I took some shots at a distance, but I felt that the closer shots were better. Close-up you can almost feel the textures of the brick and mortar. Since this wall is on the north-side of the building, it seemed kind of wet and cool. Like the bricks were just laid.

I used my Canon T3i with the 50mm lens, IS 100, f/5, exposure 1/250. Used gimp to resize to 970.

- Randall Sahmie


Patio

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

My image was taken with a Nikon 5300 camera, using a macro lens. I intensified the color and contrast in photoshop elements using nik software. This shot was taken of a brick patio. I liked how the brick was covered in small debris that had blown in or fallen from the trees above. There's some sand, pine needles and a piece of string. A piece of wood divides the patio bricks. One brick is standing up.

- Suzanne Mallory


Another Brick in the Wall

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

This photo was taken at an abandoned school in Northwest Louisiana. The school had only been closed for about 10 years, but the harsh Louisiana weather had already taken its toll on the structure. Any wood left had warped and buckled and the hot, humid summers had stripped the paint off the walls. I didn't have the shooting challenge in mind during this shoot and I didn't even notice the brick in the corner when I set up for the shot, but once I saw it during post I knew it had to be the focal point of the final product.

Details:24mm 3 exposure bracket (1/40, 1/10, 0.4) f4 @ ISO 100; HDR compiled in HDR Efex Pro 2 & Processing in Lightroom 5

- Thomas Nourse


Impromptu Garden

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

Went for a walk with my mother to shoot some photos and enjoy the sun. Started looking for bricks and realized that the parking lot was made with lots of bricks. Some grass growing between the concrete pieces added this nice visual.

Taken with iPhone 5S

- Bruno Oliveira


1924

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

This is part of a fireplace backing that the previous owner of my house salvaged from a building that was torn down. I wanted to really show the textures of the brick and mortar.

Equipment: Canon 60D Canon 50/mm Lens Bower Ring Flash; Exposure: ISO 1600, 1/30 sec, f/2

Processing: Photoshop CS6, Nik Viveza

- Gregory Milunich


Old Dwelling

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

This is an old dwelling still used on the east side of tucson that is as old as the land it sits on.

Nikon d5100 at 22mm with 18-35 zoom,auto setting, 1/250 sec;f/8;iso 140 adjusted in lightroom 5.4 and B&W effects with Niksoft silver effects pro in CS6

- Steve Wolfhope


Dusk Or Dawn

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

- Rob Tolli


Brick Hunt Treasure

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

I shot this with my Droid Maxx as I walked along my neighborhood on a brick hunt. I knew I wouldn't need to look very far as there is a lot of old brick in my neighborhood. Exploring both old and new brick, patterned and painted brick, this was hard to choose just one. I came across a brick wall with beautiful spring colored roses blooming right at its ledge. I love the contrast of the soft, aroma filled beauties next to very hard, old chipped sturdy brick. I focused on the detail of the brick while keeping the roses in the foreground. I didn't capture a large quantity of brick in one frame but I think the detail makes it special.

- Kristen Erling


Seachange

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

For some reason I'm not able to get camera data, possibly because I overlayed another photo using canon software and then exported to aperture, but this is from today at NY harbor (the water) and one later in Red Hook. I liked the RH one fine on it's own but felt it would be nice flooded.

- M Chez


Juicy Bricks

30 Odes To The Humble Brick

- David Steinberg


This just might be my favorite Shooting Challenge in almost forever! Great job to all of our urban explorers. I'll never look at a humble brick wall the same way again. Find the full-sized shots on flickr.