Saturday, October 8, 2011

Assignment 2: Dusk

Although I have yet to fully develop the narrative element of this series of photographs, what is clear is the final construct will owe as much to the lighting of the shots as to the content.  Within a single acre in a city location variety of content is tough, especially in a very formally defined area such as the one I am currently working in.  Large expanses of paving, volumes occupied by buildings mean that building a variety of image through composition alone is unlikely to work.  Subsequently I am turning to considering how lighting affects the reading of an image and how to inject variety by choosing time of day and weather.

I have started this exploration by taking advantage of what might be the last of the "Summer" weather we have been enjoying.  Knowing the time of sunset and the period of dusk I arrived at the Platz just before sunset.  THis time my shots would be architectural and in very low light, so 17mm TS-E and tripod were the order of the day. I first set up looking East to capture the onset of dusk:

With these two shots I have tried to balance the artificial light of the buildings with the sky and although the second photograph is OK, it is not really saying a great deal other than here is the museum and synagogue.  Looking for a better angle and perhaps some statement I tried the following.  This required substantial manipulation of the green and yellow channels to remove an ugly colour caste in the staircase.  This photograph interests me, the steps are going where?  But ultimately I cannot make sense of it, so doubt that anyone else will be able to.

Moving around to the East side of the synagogue and shooting to the West well after sunset the sky has now settled to a deep rich blue and the lighting on the synagogue makes a strong appearance.  Here I have tried to contrast the synagogue with the cafe to the left, however, the synagogue is too dominant.

Realizing this I made the following two exposures with the synagogue and museum as dominant elements.  The 2 guys standing add a sense of scale.

Of these two images the second works better, the shadowed area to the left of the first helps understand the structure but does not do much more, I also do not want the bikes in "this" frame.  I think the above shot is a likely inclusion.  With dusk the building has gained personality, suddenly it is alive with light and mystery, the grey slabness has gone.  I think I could crop this better:

The first 1:1 crop is not bad, but loses some of the strength of the synagogue

The above free form crop is better, but I am not sure that having the frame split down the middle is too clever - this will need some thought before I finalize the set.

My final image here is a definite keeper, with this I am trying to say several things:

  1. Firstly the sheer size and bulk of the building
  2. The barrier to entry, this is a protected space, Judaism may be alive once more in Munich but it is still under threat
  3. Finally even with the stark formality of the building and its defenses, the bicycle conveys a casual use of the space and disregard for its symbolism
I am really pleased with this set of images, I had really struggled to bring a sense of presence to the synagogue and portray it as a living building.  Sadly I do not think I can get inside the structure, to show it as a place of worship as I could in a church, I understand why not.  So this may be the best way to portray this building.

Next step will be to capture some shots in poor weather, I want to step back from these images of "halo'd" magnificence to a dour wet drab vision lacking colour that will help to convey the sadness that precedes the redemption.

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