Friday, 9 July 2010

Research: Architectural Photography

When looking into genres and people relating to this section of the course I found that there are a large number of photographers around the architectural photography genre, but no one name stood out for me, so I decided to look at the whole genre of architectural photography instead.

When researching the history of Architectural photography I discovered that it is up for debate as to how long "Architectural" photography has been about. There are examples of work as early as 1839, using early photographic techniques, however it took until 1982 for the first collective of the genre to be published.

Architectural photography largely focuses on the beauty and intricacy of structures, rather than their purpose. However I think for advertising a place, this is just as important as showing a buildings function. A pleasant looking building certainly helps create a nice feel about a place, so if you can make the building look like a work of art, it certainly isn't to the detriment of the place.

This example above really has taken a fairly ordinary hallway and turned it into something special. The use of symmetry within this photograph is very clever, with two well placed figures at the top of the stairs just to unbalance the sides slightly. Strong complimentary colours create a good feel to the image, and all lines lead you down the corridor. All the rules of photography have been followed and the result turns what could have been a dull hallway into a fantastic image.

Another symmetrical image, using the wet ground to add another line of symmetry, horizontally through the image, has created an extra dimension to this image. The lines of symmetry is certainly a recurring theme I noticed within the genre, helping to really add to the majesty of buildings, but often it was there as a lot of buildings are designed symmetrically. This image has also made good use of a wide view to also add a dramatic sky to the image.

The removal of colour in this image has really helped convey the sense of shape, form, and texture in this image. The circles, and circular shapes of varying sizes, work together really well without the distracting element of colour, which probably would have made this image too much. By taking the photo from a low angle, the lines on the floor are emphasized, and the ceiling really looks much more grand and has a larger impact on the photograph.

These images above have all isolated small areas of a building, and taken a fairly abstract view, so we as a viewer are looking on an everyday object, but in a different way, and noticing how artistic it can look. this is certainly another common theme within architectural photography, the abstract view of a fairly regular scene, focusing on shape and form, as well as the symmetry within these objects, to give us a different perspective on the items.

Architectural photography is certainly a broad subject, with many different examples of fantastic images. I was very inspired when browsing through photographs for this topic, and could have shown so many more examples of stunning photography within this genre. It is definitely an area of photography I will continue to look into, and hopefully produce some stunning photographs of my own.


Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Exercise 18: How Space Changes with Light

This exercise was about photographing the same building at different times of day to show how different lighting conditions could dramatically effect the image.




There is a quite dramatic effect on these three images of the same house shot from the same place at three different times during a sunny day. At 10am the image is full of colour, with the sun directly hitting the front of the house, causing shadows from the overhanging roof, but giving a colourful blue sky in the background and making all the colours pop from the image. However the door and front right window are lost slightly in the shadow.

At 3pm I think this is probably the worst image of the three. The majority of the front of the house is in shadow, the sun is high enough to make the sky a very pale blue, and it is the small patches of bright which attract attention on the front of the house, for example by the top right window, and where the sky dish is. There is too much contrast in this image, attracting attention to the wrong areas.

At 8pm the whole house is in shadow, but this creates much more even tones across the house. The windows are a bit too reflective however and lose some detail. The sky is blown out to be bright white due to the sun now being behind the house. This image and the one at 10am have very different feels to them, but I believe they both work really well for showing off the house. I definitely think at 10am this was the best angle to photograph the house from but I have some alternative shots for the other two times to utilise the light.

This was shot at 3 pm and I have zoomed in closer to crop out most of the distracting light patches. I still do not believe it is a very good image, as the light at this time was too strong and contrasting to really show off this building well, and was hitting it at an awkward angle.

At 8pm I felt this was another interesting shot that could work, as the whole house was in shadow, no one patch was going to attract attention away from the house. It shows off the front garden reasonably well as well this angle.Other times of day would have had the garden with harsh shadows on it, whereas with the sun behind the house, the garden is all in shadow which works much better.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Exercise 17: The user's point of view

For this exercise, the task was to go out and shoot some locations from the user's point of view. I found this quite an interesting exercise, as I would tend to naturally go for the most artistic point of view, and this is rarely the user's point of view. I took two shots, and I thought I would play with the brief a little, so not only did I photograph a golf course as suggested, I thought I'd shoot a car as this was a bit different.

Now above I have a shot of a golf course. Suggested in the exercise was photographing from the tee, but I felt this left the shot lacking in details, with a golf course being so vast, most tees have very little to draw the eye around them (on this particular course anyway). So I decided to photograph from completely the opposite side and chose a shot from the green, containing the flag as detail.

This was my different shot. I decided a car would be very interesting, as it is something we are all familiar with, and it has a quite obvious user point of view. I chose to photograph slightly further to the left than the drivers usual point of view, to get more of their looking out of the windscreen perspective, rather than a shot of the side of the car and in front of the driver.

These pictures certainly connect with the viewer. As I can associate with the views in the images with my own experiences it certainly makes a viewer feel more attached. Photographing from the viewer's point of view should definitely be used to help advertise a building or location as this feeling of a personal connection certainly would help sell a location

Monday, 8 March 2010

Exercise 16: Exploring Function

Exercise 16 was about photographing a room or building with regards to its function. My room of choice was my own kitchen. I decided that this was more than a kitchen, but a bit of a utility room too, so I decided the best way to show it was including as many of the machines that I could, the toaster, washing machine, cooker, microwave were all included in my shot. I also shot from lower than usual head height to give a nice even impression about the room, so shot from about midway between the floor and the ceiling. I think the finished shot gives a reasonable record of the function of the room.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Research: Henri Cartier-Bresson

So, I come to the second assignment in the people and place course, and I didn't have to think that long or hard to decide who to research. This entire chapter has been about people unaware, and who better to look into than Henri Cartier-Bresson, seen by many as the father of modern photojournalism, and in my opinion, possibly the greatest street photographer of all time.

Firstly, I came across this video on you-tube of his photographs, and it's the only way I could include such a quantity of photographs in this blog post. So I urge you to watch it through, because the standard of work throughout is quite remarkable:

Henri was a quite incredible man. He was born into a well off family, and grew up in a bourgeois neighbourhood in Paris. He got a good education, and loved painting, thanks to his Uncle teaching him when he was young. He went to a private art school, run by french artist AndrĂ© Lhote. He also studied at the University of Cambridge, and spent a year as a hunter in the Ivory Coast. To add to all this, he was captured during the Second World War, and was held in a German prisoner of war camp, from which he escaped on his third attempt.

So even without photography, Cartier-Bresson certainly experienced life. He got into photography after his work at art school, when he first picked up a Leica camera. He fell in love with the way his camera and a 50mm lens could capture real life, it was a form of instant art for him. This was very much visible in all his work. He was capturing the 'poetry' of life, and hence every one of his images was composed beautifully, as a scene as a whole, and not just of the person or people that were the main object of his scene.

But even with all this, for me, Cartier-Bresson's largest impact was with his term "the decisive moment". He had a book published under this name in England, and it is a quote that has stuck in people's memories. "There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment". And he was quite right. The biggest art to capturing photographs of this nature, is capturing the right moment, and of this, he was a master. From the perfectly timed image of the man trying to leap over the puddle, caught in mid air, just before he hits the puddle, to a cyclist caught in exactly the right point of the image, to complete the composition with the railings from the stairs. Cartier-Bresson really did know how to pluck the best moment, from a scene in-front of him, and capture it forever in a photograph.

I must admit, Street photography has never really been my thing. I felt it to be snooping, exploiting others, and it seems to have developed a trend for showing people in a bad light. This was just my opinion, and it may just be me that thinks like this. But researching Henri Cartier-Bresson has really inspired me. He has shown a whole new side to street photography. In a lot of his images, the people are anonymous, just characters in a bigger picture. He captured the beauty of everyday life, those hidden moments we see but do not register, and this really is not that far from the photography I am used to, portrait and wedding photography, where the decisive moment is key, the look from a groom as he sees his bride approaching, the natural giggle from the person in the portrait sitting, the tear in a proud mothers eye, as her son makes his speech. To me, the decisive moment is definitely the key in every form of photography.


Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Exercise 15: Public space, public activity

It’s been a while since I posted, having worked very hard on my photography website ( and finishing the assignment in my other OCA course ( However, whenever I had a spare minute I was trying to get out to photograph this exercise. Being the great English winter though, the weather was always against me.

So eventually I contacted my tutor, and we agreed I would just write up about this exercise in order for me to be able to progress with the course. This exercise was moving from an organised event, onto an organised space, ie a beach or a park, that would contain a number of activites. This is an interesting topic and I would certainly have tried to capture a good variety in people’s activites, looking out for family picnics, office worker’s having a lunchtime kickabout, couple going for a walk in the park, etc. I would like the variety a park would bring to this form of photography.

I would use a long lens in most cases, to keep the natural feel to procedings, with the subjects not aware I was there, waiting for the right expression to complete the picture. I would also quite like an overall activity shot, showing the varied use of the area, all together.

Just to add some photographs to this, I will add some from my summer holiday in Sal (Cape Verde). We went for a walk along the beach, and I took a few snaps of the locals on the beach. It sort of relates to this topic so I will upload the few that do.sal(facebook)021

Watching the waves crash in


Waiting for the surf


Jumping off the pier


Diving in