A reader shares his ar­chi­tec­ture shots

Michael Townsend wants to make his ar­chi­tec­tural reper­toire fresh and unique

NPhoto - - Contents -

From a pho­to­graphic point of view I am lucky to live in Lon­don (al­though great pic­tures can be taken in any lo­ca­tion). Ev­ery day I am sur­rounded by in­ter­est­ing peo­ple and iconic ar­chi­tec­ture. How­ever, the views in Lon­don are re­peated fairly reg­u­larly in many pho­tog­ra­phers’ reper­toire. The chal­lenge to me is to pro­duce some­thing new and fresh. This can mean ei­ther fo­cussing on a de­tail, or choos­ing an odd per­spec­tive of a well-known build­ing such as the Lloyds Build­ing [2] or the Golden Ju­bilee Bridge [3]. There’s an ex­te­rior of a car park near Ox­ford Street [1] that seems to stum­ble over it­self and I feel it hasn’t been as fre­quently pho­tographed as other spots.

One as­pect of my pho­tog­ra­phy that I’d like to im­prove upon is my use of colour. Al­though colour is present in some of my pho­tos, I feel I have ne­glected it.

There­fore, any guid­ance on the use of colour in ab­stract/ ar­chi­tec­tural pho­tog­ra­phy would be wel­come.

N-Photo says

Michael, your work speaks for it­self. You ob­vi­ously love clear geo­met­ric el­e­ments, with strong lead­ing lines and straight, cut edges, so you’re def­i­nitely in the right city to find sub­jects that will in­spire you. We see your point that you want to learn more about colour; a lot of your work is just straight-out black-and-white, or has nat­u­rally muted tones that make it feel close to mono­chrome. Black-and-white is a fan­tas­tic form of pho­tog­ra­phy, and we even did a black-and-white spe­cial is­sue of N-Photo last year (is­sue 49), but an

abil­ity to work with colour will present you with even more artis­tic op­por­tu­ni­ties in your pho­tog­ra­phy.

Nat­u­rally, the best way to play with colour is to find colour­ful sub­jects (though light also has an im­pact on colour, es­pe­cially in ur­ban ar­eas where ar­ti­fi­cial lights abound). Your im­age of the cor­ner of a build­ing in the City of Lon­don [4] has a strong yel­low hue and is com­ple­mented well by the blue sky – this shot wouldn’t have worked as well if you’d taken it on an over­cast day. Look­ing for build­ings that con­tain colour, as you have here, and wait­ing for the right time of day to shoot them is cru­cial; the sky quickly goes from blue to orange, pink and red, to blue again as the sun sets be­hind the hori­zon, and the tem­per­a­ture of the light will shift as it does, so the ap­par­ent colour of your sub­ject will al­ter along with the sky.

Maybe find­ing some new van­tage points would help you get a fresh look at Lon­don’s more fa­mil­iar build­ings – many of your pho­tos are taken shoot­ing up (such as the City build­ing, and the car park [1]). In­stead, find a tall build­ing and shoot down on the ones around it. It’d be fan­tas­tic to get in a he­li­copter or plane for some ae­rial shots, though not many of us have this lux­ury!

Don’t ne­glect Lon­don’s older build­ings, ei­ther. Hawksmoor’s churches would suit your taste for ge­om­e­try, while pre­sent­ing you with slightly more de­tail to chal­lenge and in­spire you.

Your com­po­si­tion is good, with at­ten­tion to the rule of thirds, and cap­tur­ing shapes and pat­terns. If we were to sug­gest any­thing, it might be that your fram­ing is slightly too tight. Try to leave a bit of breath­ing space around the sub­ject, rather than plac­ing it right up against an edge of the pic­ture. Al­though we re­alise that may not be doable; per­haps you frame as you do to elim­i­nate other nearby build­ings.

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