Posts Tagged ‘art’

Down at Marina Bay, Singapore’s modern, sleek (expensive) waterfront by the central business district, a funky little collection of light art is drawing in plenty of visitors; local and overseas. I took my camera down and grabbed a range of shots, but it was these two that caught the eye of the Flickr gallery curators, who added them both to a Flickr-wide gallery and graciously afforded me hundreds upon hundreds of new eyes to gaze over my Wall Art. The gallery can be found at

https://www.flickr.com/photos/flickr/galleries/72157642876037235

And the images are here: enjoy! Click on the image to view in my Flickr feed, please star them on Flickr if you like them 🙂

The Red Dot

KPBurgess.com - I Caught A City!

A set design I’m working on for a forthcoming show requires some hints and suggestions of a rundown part of a generic city in an unspecified decade between 1950 and today. Large panels of 2 metres and above, with photographed close-ups suggesting such worn urbanity are in order, and so gave me the opportunity to shoot some street shots with a very specific brief in mind.

Fire Hydrant and Bright Blue background

Bold colours and simplicity, with a peeling orange and red fire hydrant close-up, set against a brilliant blue painted wall. Hard, functional fittings against eye-catching solid colour.

I will share a few more of the images created to this brief in future posts, but first let’s take a look at the brief itself:

1. Nothing complete. For the stage set, it is important not to allow the perception of attempting to create “doors” or “walls” or any pieces of scenery out of photographs. It must be clear that the intention is to suggest urbanity, and not to recreate it.

2. Grot, grime and decay. Each image should show an angle of urban life that is worn, used, industrial, or downright grubby. Nothing that shows affluence, or the facade of city living.

3. Must be framed in a way that can be cropped to square format without losing the balance or message of the original image. This is to satisfy the technical requirements of fitting the printed panels into the set.

4. Must not be busy. The images must not detract from the action taking place in front of them – simple and bold.

5. Must be acceptable as existing in any developed city. Particularly an American city or Singapore (the two cultures hinted towards in the show). Nothing that pinpoints a particular place.

6. Must be acceptable as existing at any point within the last 50 – 60 years. Nothing that is unique to any particular decade or year.

The image of the Fire Hydrant, added to the sales gallery at www.kpburgess.com satisfies all of these criteria, and in doing so proves that excluding so many elements from a photograph can give a much more powerful, attention grabbing image. I’d love to know what you think – share your thoughts with me, and I’ll share some more images out of the set as well as covering some of my tricks for ensuring super-large, 4 metres squared prints still look awesome.

Rows of Stone Men wins another prize.

Rows of Stone Men march – frozen in time and place – through a gallery at the Museum of New South Wales in Sydney. Popular enough to be both the 10,000th viewed image, and the 20,000th.

I won’t bother with the drum roll, as it feels a little bit like deja vu. Back in August 2013, this image of an army of stone men and women, apparently ordinary villagers from an unnamed culture, was the subject of the 10,000th view of my photographs. Well, under 2 months later, and I can now announce (uninterestingly, but honestly) that the same image has also been the 20,000th view. There have been many, many other shots viewed in between, but this one gets the prize – again!

A sincere and humble thank you from me to you for your views, your likes, your comments, your support and your purchases. Your feedback and input injects even more enthusiasm and motivation into what I do, though it does mean I tend to stay awake, tapping away on my computer to file and keyword more images rather than sleeping from time to time.

Here are the shots that were one click away from being number 20,000:

Lonely hut by the sea

A simple tin hut sits alone in a windswept field, by the edge of the South Pacific Ocean in Eastern Tasmania. Number 19,999.

Gold Buddha Face - Close-up

A close-up of the face of the Reclining Buddha statue: a seemingly solid gold, giant icon that sits in its own Emerald Temple in Bangkok. Number 20,001.

Yellow Cable Drum

A yellow, empty, large cable drum sits by the roadside in Singapore. Close up.

I recently posted about the wonders of black and white photography, and so feel it necessary to restore the balance and extol the joy of colour. After all, colour photographs account for almost 100% of all photographs existent on the internet, mainly thanks to the mindless numbness of drones posting every smartphone picture ever taken into the public domain regardless of worthiness or interest.

If you make the decision to include colour – there must be a reason! Like any element of the frame, it should only be there if you intend it to be there (a philosophy that, in honesty, I need to practice more). Filling the frame with a single colour is one way of drawing attention to a colour you find interesting or worthy of attention. Dodging an image (selective brightening) to highlight a colour you want to draw attention to is another.

In the image of the cable drum above, it was the bright, toy-like yellow that reminded me of JCB bulldozers and Tonka trucks I used to play with as a child. With the grime and distress on the rim of the drum, I found that the bright child-like colour is a great juxtaposition to its heavy industrial use. And so, the colour in this shot was important to me. In order to highlight this, I chose to fill the frame with it. Other angles that set the yellow drum against green grass, and grey concrete, became too messy – not enough focus on the colour. And so here is the result. What do you think?

I’m talking about a new addition to kpburgess.com – this Black and White of a single tree in a freshly cut rural landscape:

Black and White tree under dramatic sky

A filtered black and white image, with a solitary tree in a recently harvested field, set against a dramatic sky of white cloud reaching into inky black.

I created this image purely by accident. The photo was shot in colour, and that is how it remained in my library until yesterday, when I clicked an option I had no intention of clicking. I was struck by the result – which turned a nicely composed, but with weak colour in the sky image into something I am happy to put my name to on the Wall Art shop floor.

Moral of the story? I will be revisiting a lot of images in black and white now: it really does remove the distraction of colour, and provided the elements in the shot are composed interestingly, will enhance the impact significantly.

Here’s the original image, that was ruled out of being offered for sale:

Lone tree in field - colour

The original file: the sky wasn’t blue enough for me, and there was a little too much yellow in the foreground field. The wonky horizon was also fixed.

I took a look at the views on my Flickr photographs the other day, and saw that this shot was particularly popular:

Cold, cramped space in the roof void of St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

The main dome of St Peter’s Basilica – an imposing landmark on the skyline of Rome – is actually composed of two domes: one inside the other. The cavity between the Catholic Church’s public image and its inner workings is a cold, shadowy and cramped space.

Although shot and digitally developed in full colour, there is a naturally occurring grey-blue tint amongst the shadows that give an almost monochrome feel to this shot.

The Story Behind the Shot

The Catholic Church is an immensely huge institution, with over 1 billion followers worldwide. At its headquarters in the Vatican City in Rome, Italy, the Basilica at St Peter’s Square forms the focal point for worship, pilgrimage and sightseeing. At the top of this sacred building is an enormous dome, visible across Rome as the centre of Roman Catholicism.

After a long, meandering hour or so up from the sprawling piazza at its base, I climbed through the tight walls at the edge of the dome (‘cupola’ in Italian) to find myself amongst the mosaics and frescoes that make up the fine artistic interior. A quick skirt around the edge of this very high vantage point – overlooking the main altar and entrance to the tomb of St Peter – and I was back inside the dark, twisting interior of the main cupola.

Dark, narrow, twisting staircase inside the bowels of the Vatican

The twisting, dark staircase that winds up through the narrow void towards the top of the main dome at St Peter’s Basilica.

As the dome reached its apex, the passageways became ever more horizontal, diagonal and cramped. Eventually, just before I emerged onto the roof of this Roman landmark, I came upon the sight of the wooden bars at the top of this post. This cold, cramped space fills the void between the inner dome that contains the frescoes and mosaics inside the Church, and the separate outer dome that projects the status of the organisation upon the outside world.

What this shot says to me

The imaginary lines formed by the tops and bottoms of the wooden bars lead the eye naturally through the image and around the curve of the dome, through the blue space before disappearing in an apparent infinity. The infinite coldness, and the prison-like claustrophobia of the bars add to the darkness around the image’s borders to create a sense of the inhospitable workings of the Church – in much contrast to the opulent interior and grand exterior image of the institution. Given recent controversies with the Catholic Church, I am quite intrigued by how the underbelly of the Church’s central headquarters can be a direct representation of the murky world that sometimes pokes through the slick public image. The bright circles of the skylights offer a useful shape that draws the eye in at a glance, as well as offering the only light in the image.

What are your thoughts on the shot? Can you see the leading lines (actually, both shots used in this post make use of this technique)? Would the use of more saturated colours, or even a clearer lean towards monochrome have affected your interpretation of the image? Let me know your thoughts!

 

Rows of Stone Men

An art installation at the Gallery of New South Wales depicts rows of stone figures marching onwards.

Our 10,000th image view last week! This came from a visit to the art gallery in Sydney, Australia. There was a room full of these life size stone statues – all naked – and all carrying bundled children. The room was lit in subdued, soft lighting from above only, and isolated to small pools which then reflected off the glossy floor – making the act of taking this photograph very tricky. In fact, I had been carrying round an 18-200 zoom lens for versatility in tight corners and for getting intricate details, but that only stopped down as far as 3.5-5.6 (higher number = smaller aperture = less light getting through = slower shutter speed needed/higher iso = camera shake/digital noise). When I saw this dark room with these imposing statues laid out in rows and columns (see this photo for a slightly wider view of this) I just had to capture the atmosphere. I had to go back to the bag check area and sign out my bag, rummage around for a fast 50mm lens (f1.4) that did away with my ability to grab the wide scene, but let in enough light to really do this soft scene justice. The fixed lens also forced me to be particular about the shot – they are great for forcing you to think about things!

The artwork had particular meaning to the original artist, and it had an impact on me too. But what does this image say to you?

Just a quick note to let you know that to celebrate the official launch of Wall Art by KP Burgess, you can use the code 25launch to get a 25% discount off any print or printed product (including canvas, frames and the amazing Quantum mounts) purchased through http://www.kpburgess.com. Valid until the end of September only!

Wall Art by KP Burgess

Purchase any print or printed product from KPBurgess.com and use the code 25launch to receive a 25% discount on any Wall Art!