Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Complex identities

click photo to enlarge
For much of the second half of the twentieth century the BBC 1 TV channel in the UK used a globe as its station identity. In various incarnations, often elegantly designed and rotating, it appeared between programmes to remind viewers which channel they were watching. In 1997 however, this theme was extended and short films showing aerial views of parts of the United Kingdom were introduced. Each of these clips featured a spherical red and yellow balloon, coloured like a globe, floating across the scene. These charming mini-films with the ever-present balloon were very popular, and, as the geographical location was often changed, they never became boring.

But, it seems a fact of life that the creative minds that work in television can't leave a good idea alone. They always want to change it, extend it, make it "better". BBC TV moved on from the globe to tedious little films of dancers dressed in red, and other channels picked up the idea of film clips as station "idents". Most notorious is the current Channel 4 ident which develops its original, also very popular, logo - a CGI "4" that comes apart and re-assembles. Now they show us interminable clips of landscapes and cities with hedges, electricity pylons, blocks of flats etc that slowly coalesce into the shape of the number 4 whilst the audience yells, "Oh come on, hurry up and make that wretched number won't you!"

So, when I looked at my photograph of No 1 London Bridge Road, a modern office block with chunks cut out of it and pierced by a large hole, it was most unfortunate that it reminded me of one of those odious Channel 4 "idents". I took the shot from below, looking up through the "hole" that acts as a light well, using a wide zoom lens at 34mm (35mm equivalent). The contrast between the solidity of the cladding and the lightness of the glazing, along with the complexity of the structure were all appealing to the photographer in me, even if the association took the edge off my liking of the photograph!
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen