Places

Unlike people, places of habitation - towns, cities, buildings, etc. - are obviously fixed in position relative to their surroundings. This does not mean, however, that picture possibilities are fixed as well, and you cannot produce your own personal portrait of a place. It is just that good, interpretive shots of permanent structures require more careful organization of viewpoint and patience over lighting than most people imagine. The best picture is seldom the first quick snap.

Decide what you feel strongly about a place - this might be easiest to do when you visit the area freshly for the first time, or it may come from a longer stay giving greater insight into what the environment is really like. Compare Figures 18.1 and 18.2, which both show architecture. The Battersea power station in London, photographed from a stationary train through the scratched window on a gloomy day, provides a very personal view of the familiar site. The photographer

Figure 18.1 The blurred smoke stacks of Battersea power station as seen through a scratched train window provide a personal and emotive view of a well-known scene.

Figure 18.2 A more traditional and less personal view of the Basilica of Sacré Coeur taken from the same spot as many other tourist photographs.

Figure 18.1 The blurred smoke stacks of Battersea power station as seen through a scratched train window provide a personal and emotive view of a well-known scene.

has concentrated the viewer's eye on the scratches using a shallow depth of field to ensure they are the only part of the image that is sharp. The towers are recognizable by their shape only. In contrast the Basilica of Sacré Coeur in Paris has received a totally different and much more mundane treatment. The building has been photographed in the same way from the same position and with the same perspective many times before and apart from accurately recording a pictorial description of the architecture the image speaks little of the photographer's emotions or feelings towards the place.

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