Urban & Architecture Photography


Posts tagged Interior Photography
Bored with perfection: why I had to create a new style for my urban and architecture photography

I initially moved to mirrorless around a year ago in order to find a camera system that was light weight and could be used in the city with minimal fuss; a system that left me a more nimble, responsive photographer.  This is hardly a revelation and I am sure this is the exact reason a lot of photographers ditched their heavy dslr and lenses for a mirrorless set-up.  For me, the switch to mirrorless ran parallel with my desire to create a new style of photography too.

I love architecture and I love photography but I have to admit sometimes architecture photography leaves a little cold.  To be honest, I have always found perfection a little boring (not just in photography!) and to a large degree, architectural photography is often too perfect for me.

I have been wrestling with this in my own photography and have been trying to create a style that focuses on architecture but embraces more of a ‘street photography’ aesthetic.  I love the immediacy of street photography, its imperfections, the grain, the way it captures the essence of a moment.

Zaha Hadid apartments The Highline

After purchasing John Comazzi’s excellent Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography book a few months back I finally became convinced that this was the direction I wanted to go in, or at the very least, a style I had to experiment with.

It had been obvious to me that my style has been undergoing change recently, most notably in the amount of black and white work I am creating.  This certainly wasn’t a deliberate choice and I cannot really say why I began doing this.  Nonetheless, it is a definite theme in my work that has occurred completely organically.  All I know is that I want my photography to look less perfect in order to capture the ‘spirit’ of the building, place or environment I am photographing.  At this stage, I do not even know if I am even capable of this but it is something I need to try and achieve.

Reflections at the Highline

Perhaps it was my visit to New York where I finally realised that the big city is not a place of perfection.  In such a ridiculously busy environment that looking to achieve perfect images often resulted in me missing out on numerous other photo opportunities, or I felt I was creating images that just seemed to lack something.

I would be interested to know if any other photographers have felt like this and felt compelled to change their style of photography.  Is this something we all go through in order to find our voice as a photographer?  Please feel free to comment below.

Great Glasgow photo locations: Scotland Street School a Charles Rennie Mackintosh shrine

Just opposite Sheilds Road subway station, Scotland Street School is a school building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh between 1903 and 1906.  Sadly, the school fell into decline in the 1970s and was closed.  Luckily though, the school is now a museum and is open for free to to the public.

Even from the outside of the building it is pretty clear the two enormous windows are the focal attractions of the building.  These windows run the full height of the school and curve out in to the school yard.  The glass includes many of Macintosh's floral motifs.

Gorgeous windows: 1/125, f5.6, ISO 250 @ 18mm

Gorgeous windows: 1/125, f5.6, ISO 250 @ 18mm

Although the windows are the obvious stars of this building there are many other lovely Mackintosh touches on show.  Mackintosh's use of nature and natural colours are used throughout; green white, brown and blue are used throughout the whole building.

Door in the museum: 1/60, f4.5, ISO 400 @ 18mm.

Door in the museum: 1/60, f4.5, ISO 400 @ 18mm.

Visiting the museum made a refreshing change.  The interiors are fantastically photographable - had it not been for the lack of light - even those enormous windows don’t provide enough to photograph the interior without boosting ISO settings.  Nonetheless, Mackintosh’s design elements use colour, contrast and symmetry, there compositions aplenty throughout.  Give it a visit.

Great Glasgow (nearish!) photo locations: Wemyss Bay's xxxxxxVictorian railway station

Only a short train ride from Glasgow's Central station, Wemyss Bay is the end of the line for anyone heading to Rothesay on the ferry.  For any photographer who enjoys shooting architecture the gorgeous station at Wemyss Bay is a great little location - rail enthusiasts may just enjoy it too.

The station is noted for its architectural qualities and is regarded as one of Scotland's finest railway buildings.  It is a now a Category A listed bulding.  The mix of steel and glass give the building an industrial feel you would expect.  However, the combination of light flooding in through glass panels, the bright paint work and long sloping curves also provide the the building with a modern edge.  It is quite a trick.

Pillars in train station: HDR image at f11, ISO 100 @ 22mm.

Pillars in train station: HDR image at f11, ISO 100 @ 22mm.

Wemyss Bay is only a forty-five minute train journey from Glasgow and weather permitting can be photographed in a couple of hours.  The station is very quiet and staff seem to allow photographers to go about their business - I was not interrupted at all during my visit.

Photography here was a fantastic, relaxing experience.  The only issue to be aware of is amount of reflections - the light reflecting off the gloss painted surfaces was problematic but the use of a polariser minimised these.

So what do you think, is Wemyss Bay worth a visit for you?  Can you suggest any other locations to photograph?  Leave a comment below.

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Amazing Edinburgh photo locations: the National Museum of Scotland

I have to be honest I initially travelled through to Edinburgh to try out some street photography.  I thought the Edinburgh Festival crowds would be a great time to try something different but the vast crowds meant I could barely walk three inches without bumping into someone or being held up in an endless stream of festival goers.

I decided to avoid the crowds and visit the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street.  I am glad I did, the space is fantastic and absolutely amazing for some interesting photography.

Top level of the museum. Shot at 1/160, f8, ISO 400 @ 35mm

Top level of the museum. Shot at 1/160, f8, ISO 400 @ 35mm

The image above was taken on level three of the older part of the building.  As you can see this part of the building is light, airy and in places ornate.  It lends itself perfectly to some interior architectural photography.

The shot below was taken in the modern area of the building and there are plenty of opportunities to create light, minimalist style images such as this.

The ground floor is beautifully spacious and airy: Shot at 1/125, f5.6, ISO 400 @ 35mm

The ground floor is beautifully spacious and airy: Shot at 1/125, f5.6, ISO 400 @ 35mm

Inside and out the, the museum offers ample opportunties to create a very interesting photographs.  The shot below shows the exterior of the newer style building.  The combination of line, shape, and texture provide very interesting compositions.

These are only two of the images I shot at the museum.  I intend to get back again soon, this time with a more than my 35mm lens to take the beauty of this space.  What do you think?  Have you ever visited the museum?  Do you have any shots you'd like to share?