Friday, September 2, 2011

A BMW Dealer

Well not quite, any old BMW dealer, this is the main showroom for the whole of BMW.   Sited next to the Munich factory this remarkable building is almost as striking inside as out.  I initially mistook it for a museum, not quite believing that this colossal structure is actually a car showroom.  The building and the bridge opposite was a close candidate for inclusion in my last assignment submission:

I rejected this image as it did not fit well with my overall theme, however, I still think it is one of the better photographs that I took during the development of the set, I particularly like the two Asian tourists thinking they are avoiding the shot, a 17mm lens on a full frame camera has a huge angle of view.  This is certainly one of the key advantages to very wide lenses, they enable imaging of people who are convinced that they cannot be in the frame.

Other than the wedding and finalizing assignment 1, the last three weeks have not yielded much in the way of new photography relevant to this course.  Last weekend my mother, brother, his wife and two sons spent the weekend with us in Munich.  I decided to take them up to the Olympiapark, knowing now what a cool place it can be for a couple of young lads.  As it was foul weather we headed into the BMW building to see what was there, I was amazed. The building is a modern glass, steel and concrete cathedral to the automobile, every BMW model on display and accessible, motor bikes that the kids could clamber over, classic cars, and even a stunt rider popping wheelies on a trail bike.  The kids were enthralled as was I.

I did not have much time to take photos, but had my little Samsung NX100 and a 20mm lens with me, so grabbed a few shots.  The light was poor and the structure was so dominant in the images, that they suit a conversion to B&W.  I view this as a brief exploration of a space that might become part of my ongoing study of Munich's legacy, perhaps in this case the industrial legacy or even a statement on the obscene consumerism of modern society. Access is free and the staff seemed to have no problem with people taking photo's.  Out of the huge crowd in the building I doubt that many were actually there to buy a car.

My first three shots show the interior space within the building, there are at least 3 or 4 different levels within the outer shell, with interconnecting walkways.

The next is a reminder that this is a car showroom, although a very sophisticated one

This shot shows the different levels, looking down onto the reception desk.  Above is a circular roadway and parking space for new cars.  Customers can collect their new BMW from here, pretty much as it comes of the production line.  They pick up the keys and then drive around the roadway in the middle ground, just above the desk.  Then it is a short drive to the A9 Autobahn where they can figure out how fast the new beamer really is - no speed limit, so a good opportunity to see how well the 155mph speed restricter works.  This is a "safety" feature to ensure that people do not drive too fast on the autobahn.  Back in the UK I somehow doubt that limiting a car to 155mph would be seen as a safety conscious. The Germans see things differently.

The final image I have left in colour due to the strangeness of said colour.  This is within a spiral staircase adjacent to the main building.

An interesting place with much photographic potential.  Could be a contender for my study of a single acre, although the building is somewhat bigger.  My concern would be that this is too overtly architectural and that it might be difficult to capture sufficient variety and meaning within the shots to make it work as a cohesive assignment.  Although as stated, this is an interesting comment on consumption and greed together with people sense of their own prestige and value.  Food for thought, but well worth a visit.

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