Monday, 28 May 2012

ASSIGNMENT 2 : shapes, patterns and rhythms

I have further considered more of the photos from the London series selected a number of candidates for i) distinct even if irregular shapes, ii) pattern, iii) rhythm and iv) vertical/horizontal lines to add to the pool for final selection for assessment.

For distinct, even if irregular shapes, I took a number of images of this converted Airstream caravan on the Embankment;  it offered different shapes from different angles and its fabrication from numerous curved and reflective metal plates riveted together  made for an attractive subject to photograph.  The second of the two images shown is my current favourite as I like the interesting parallel between the structure of the Airstream and the steel bin just in front of it!  Airstreams are originally an American trailer and have gained popularity in the UK; you can have a holiday in one, join a club to know all about them, rent one to tow around, get food from one, and even spend more than £50k to have one of your own.
Candidate 1 - irregular shape

Canidate 2 - irregular shape

Other candidate images are the empty capsule outer shell from the top of the London Eye and the bow of HMS Belfast which is moored on the river – both have distinct shapes of an irregular nature, although the bow of the boat is certainly more irregular than the element of the Eye.
Candiate 3 - Irregular shape

Candidate 4 - Irregular shape

The definition of a pattern is that it should be repetitive and extend beyond the frame of the image, clearly giving the impression of there being more to see than that which is visible.  Freeman (2007) asserts that although pattern and rhythm are both founded on repetitive elements in a photograph, pattern is “associated with area and not direction” and that patterns do not draw the eye in any particular direction, but cause it to scan the image. My currently favourite image in the ‘pattern’ category is a view of the side of a building which gives the impression of being constructed of a million shelving units (apologies to the architect ..) and I felt that the eye is encouraged to meander around the frame looking to see whether there is anything present to break the continuity – unfortunately there wasn’t anything there to relief the repetition, but I like the image for what it offers.
Candidate 1 - pattern

A second possibility for ‘pattern’ is a shot I took at the bottom of the Gherkin.  I was attracted to this initially by the power of the diagonals, but took this image as I felt it emphasised the pattern of the structure and was weighted at the base by the row of tables and chairs.  It would have been better if there had been people in the restaurant area, but the lashing rain and freezing conditions might well have put them off ..  This photograph would also be a good contender for the ‘diagonals’ category, where it also appears in my firt blog post on the gathering of material for Assignment 2.
Candidate 2 - pattern
There was one other photograph that appealed as a possible ‘pattern’ and that was taken of the apple market in Covent Garden.  The curves of the roof, and this would make a good contender for ‘curves’ as well come to think of it, has pleasing pattern and I liked the way that the curves of the roof structure are mirrored by the curves of the ‘Apple Market’ signs at the bottom of the image.

Candidate 3 - pattern

Rhythm requires that there is an ‘optical beat’ that draws the eye in a particular direction through an image; there is an obvious parallel with a musical beat here, whereby visual elements of an image dictate the cadence with which the viewer moves through the picture.  I thought that the ‘Boris Bikes’, which are located throughout central London for the use of anyone wishing to risk their credit card in the machine, would proved an excellent example of rhythm, and I set out to find a location and situation where I could both photograph the bikes and have the chance of someone checking out one of the bikes for use.  The first thing I learnt is that these things get little use – at least on the days that I was there – as the racks are mostly full and not many folks decide to risk the roads of Central London!  Fortunately, I did find one willing cyclist taking a chance after spending some time staring at the bikes ..  I’m not sure I currently have a favourite, but will give it some further thought, and maybe print the candidates out and see what I make of it with a side-by-side comparison.  The first one here is a strong contender as I like the person at the end of the row of bikes and also the way he is fortuitously framed against the phone box.
Candidate 1 - rhythm

Candidate 2 - rhythm
Candidate 3 - rhythm

The ‘vertical and horizontal lines’ element is the final set in this post.   This glass office facade has a wealth of vertical and horizontal lines and I really liked the mirroring of the same elements in the reflection in the glass.  It’s a complex image, but it gives the eye plenty to look at and could potentially also be a contender as a ‘pattern’.   A further photograph  featuring vertical and horizontal lines was a glass office frontage in which I spotted the reflection of the Gherkin as an additional level of interest.
Candidate 1 - vertical/horizontal

Candidate 2 - vertical/horizontal

This leaves me with i) two points, ii) several points in a deliberate shape and iii) at least two kinds of implied triangle to work on; I might need one more trip to London as the ‘points’ and ‘triangles’ elements have proved to be quite elusive.  Even though I initially thought that these would be easy to find, it is hard to discover anything interesting that is just a ‘point’ and also to do so without other distracting elements is not always easy.  I do have some potential offerings for these, but we’ll have to see how time goes and whether I can fit in any more shoots.

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