Sunday, January 30, 2011

Assignment 2: First Photographs

We are currently experiencing very grey dull weather, the snow on the ground matching the heavy white overcast skies.  This is means very limited contrast and almost all photographs I take look black and white unless I very specifically incorporate colour.  Not the ideal conditions for this assignment, with strong sunshine, I can manage the contrast by shot selection, in these conditions I have limited choice.  On the other hand it provides a good chance to work up some ideas and create some low contrast images.

Yesterday I took a walk around my usual photographic circuit, offering a mix of city park, allotments, tower blocks, and ultra modern office buildings - frankly I could shoot the whole course in this neighborhood.  This is actually a serious thought at present, as that would bring me closer to my immediate world and provide a good run up to the Landscape course, I am just not sure if I can sustain enthusiasm for the next 6 months or so that it will take.  In any case my exploration yielded 3 possible concepts for this assignment; 1. Environmental Details, 2. Interaction of trees and buildings, 3. Building Geometries:

1. Environmental Details

Not a complex subject or a particularly inventive one, just hard to do well and produce a coherent set of images.   The challenge would be to try and find a set of images that combine to tell a story or at least describe something - otherwise I end up with a load of clever but banal images.  Here are 5 images from yesterday that would fit this brief:

Of these the final two are the most rewarding.  The rope tying the vine together looks normal enough, but the contrasting yellow stripes of the background ask a question of where this can be.  It is a continuation of the second images 3 yellow stripes around the base of what was once a post office - yellow being the company colour of Deutsche Post.  The final image is part of the emergency exit system from a major highway that runs underground through the local streets.  This was buried a few years ago and the signs of it are now hard to find.

2. Interaction of trees and buildings

OK, not many buildings, other than the occasional shed, however, I like this one, very bleak and wintery.  This is a telephoto compression of the local allotments.

More in keeping with my idea of juxtaposing trees with buildings, however, this is too simple a shot, although satisfying in its own right.

More that I have in mind, however, it is the next 2 images that interest me

One thought I have for this assignment is to show trees obliquely, as reflections or shadows on buildings.  The idea would be to photograph the buildings with the trees almost acting as ghosts of the landscape that was destroyed to construct the glass and concrete cities.

Another approach would be simply one of juxtaposition, showing trees and buildings in interesting compositions, a little boring maybe, unless done extremely well

3. Building Geometries

My final current idea, is the one I started the process with and that is to look for unusual and interesting geometrical shapes created by photographing very narrow frames of modern architecture.

This crane featured in my first assignment, oddly I have gone from detesting the things and their impact on the skyline to really appreciating their structure and strange almost alien presence in the city.  They appear to stalk across the city like the Martian walkers in the War of the Worlds.

One detail would be created by repeating forms, especially where the form is continued in reflection.  The next 4 images are all details of the Hypohaus, a building that provides an endless supply of photographs.

This building could provide all of the photos I need for this assignment, but that might be a little too easy.  However, I have time and perhaps a way to complete this will be to run at it from multiple themes, developing each in parallel and then see which one works best at the end.

All I need now is a little Sun and I can go do some high contrast shots!

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