Sunday, 24 July 2011

A retrospective of a shot of mine from 2007...

A retrospective of a shot of mine from 2007
A study of texture, pattern and geometry, implemented in the architecture of an office block in Arundel Street, close to Temple tube station, London.
Arundel Street, London

With a nod in the direction of +Alfie Goodrich for making me think of doing this, thanks :>)

So to exercise my photo-discussion vocabulary, I thought I'd take apart this image. It'll help me think about it and share what was in my "vision" at the time. By "vision" I mean the conscious and the many layers of semi-consciousness at play when I took at and as both "developed" in the digital darkroom.

The setting was a visit with a government department in the Strand, and on the way from the tube station I spotted a building with interesting, geometric architecture and even more interesting possibilities for my ongoing theme of abstract architecture. I hurried on to my meeting, putting it out of my mind in the meantime, with an intention to do something about it afterwards.

On the way back from my meeting, I took out my camera (that I'd taken with me on the off-chance, like ya do - you do, don't you?). The skies had cleared and the sunlight was bright and direct, angling in at near 45 degrees - as the shadows show,

I loved what the light was doing with the concrete pyramid-like structures under the window and their interaction with the rectangular, textured tiles at their side.

Having the whole area on the right hand side taken up by the rectangular tiles was too much though and I started hunting around for a viewpoint that would solve it.

I tried from across the road, up and down the road a bit and, finally, hugging the wall of next building, a few paces south. I was delighted with what was evolving and , having the main elements as I wanted them, it was a case of fine-tuning.

By staying close to the wall, and crouching down a little, I got my framing about right, paying close attention to squaring off the windows in the top left corner. I then moved around a little more to make the intersection of the wall and the bottom edge of the windows. I zoomed out slightly to make sure I could be pedantic about the cropping in the digital darkroom (easier to crop than to add what isn't there!).

I was conscious the whole time about the balance between the negative space on the rhs and the rest of the image. The hint of reflected light on that wall, brought out by a little dodging, helped to reduce its visual "weight".

Compositionally, there are three areas, each occupying roughly the same space and each sharing similar characteristics - texture, angle, pattern.

For those paying really close attention, there's a single strip-light visible in two of the windows - I could have cloned these out but I like how they balance the two slightly lighter strips in the rhs wall. Ok, that was serendipity - but note that I still made a conscious choice.

As an aside, a good friend of mine, +Gordon Charlton once said that a photo is like a sentence. Every word in the sentence is there because you want it there. It belongs because somehow or other it describes or enhances what you want the sentence to say. You don't put in random words that having nothing mousetrap to contribute, do you?

So I try to do the same in the "visual" sentence my images are speaking.

Anyway, on with the retrospective...

By choosing a very small aperture and a telephoto lens I've been able to flatten the image, removing one of those visual clues that helps the seeing part of the brain to recognise things for what they really are. In other words it helps enforce its abstract nature.

I've given it a contrasty treatment over the whole tonal range to boost slightly what the bright, direct sunlight had already given me. This emphasised the geometric patterning and texture as well as the difference between each of three areas.

What is my intention with this type of shot? I've always been a bit observant and I've discovered that so many folks just don't see the interesting and beautiful stuff around them that I notice as I go about my daily life. So I like to share it :>)

Ok, retrospective over. Will you try out +Alfie Goodrich's vocabulary on your own work? If so, make sure you share.

Make sure you share this with photogs you know who are trying to improve.
Weekend almost over, oh no, still loads to do!
I hope you've had a good one :>)
~~Highton Ridley

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