Sunday, November 7, 2010

Assignment 1: 2 - Forum Bogenhausen

For the past couple of days the weather has been very clear with a soft blue sky and low sun.  That and a slowing in my work load has meant that I have had the chance to take a couple of breaks and take a few photographs.  Increasingly my attention is turning to the buildings in and around Park Bogenhausen, the stretch of land bounded in the South by the tower block housing development and in the North by the Arabella Park complex.  In between is a very new development, open for only 1 or 2 years, Forum Bogenhausen.  This is a mix of Office and Retail space, including the headquarters of the Munchener Bank.  Located directly opposite the HQ of the HypoVereinsBank, this area of Munich is rapidly becoming a small financial district, wonder how long it'll be before that name is applied by some developer keen to raise rents and real estate value?

From street level the complex is divided into two distinct zones, going down a slope you arrive at a number of supermarkets and drug stores, going up a ramp you are in the office area directly above the shops.  Access to both is through a dramatic steel clad square arch, the dominant architectural theme of the development.  My first photograph images the arch in full and shows the basic topography of the location:

This photograph is, however, rather flat and lacking in any drama.  Moving closer and framing the arch to the edge of the image creates a far more dramatic perspective, although the office block to the rear is still cut off, although this does not detract from the overall image.

Moving even closer it is possible to separate the office block from the arch and at this point start to provide some detail of the retail area.  I am afraid this is as close as I can get to the shops with my camera, as I have found out in the past they really do not like photographers and as the shopping precinct is technically private ground are within their rights to exclude me.  Sad, but a sign of modern life is that photographers are seen as creeps rather than artists, until of course we are needed for commercial or social event photography.

Moving up onto the roof of the shopping precinct, I have tried to capture some interesting sight lines and perspectives.  The first image provides a documentary description of the green of the roof and the structure of the adjacent buildings, the second is a little to bleak even for me.

From this point I started to look at getting in closer to some of the details and try to emphasize the perspective created by strong convergence of lines in a highly ordered space.

Stepping back I also determined to take some environmental shots that would place the buildings within the streets and other architecture of the area, first of all the Munchener Bank HQ:

Stepping even further back, this shot shows the Forum, from across a nearby road and with the immense block of the Hypovereinsbank in the back ground.

Finally I also had a chance to do some night time photography, this image is after full dark.  It would be better a little earlier when there was colour in the sky. I was returning from taking some other shots in the twilight and so might return to this location earlier in the evening and try and improve the shot

As this is really an exercise in workflow, I would like to comment on that aspect of the shooting.  So far so good, the method I am using for the image capture is becoming more fine tuned, the only real challenge is exposure management due to the strongly reflecting buildings, so am doing more bracketing than I had expected.  The choice of a single 24mm wide angle focal length is also quite challenging, the ability to correct perspective is great, but also dangerous as it is very easy to overdo this and end up with very strange looking photographs.  I also find that their are occasions when a longer focal length would enable a more intimate photograph, 24mm does not permit me to get in close with the people.  Also a camera on a tripod acts to create an exclusion zone around wherever I am positioned.  Out of politeness people try to give me space not wanting to "ruin" the photo, I want them in the frame!

The result is that I am creating a set of technically good (my own opinion of course) photographs that document the architecture and environment of Forum Bogenhausen, but not the people and activity of the district.  My goal here is not social documentary, but I would still welcome some human presence.  Although, perhaps the message here is the sterility of the steel and glass world that we now inhabit in our working lives.

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