Sunday, June 21, 2009

The knight and the carnations

click photo to enlarge
One of the basic themes found in all forms of art is the pairing of unlikely bedfellows. The story of Beauty and The Beast exemplifies this very well, so much so that its basic idea was plundered, and subtle changes introduced, in stories such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Cyrano de Bergerac.

Fashion photographers are particularly drawn to this theme, placing their model and the the clothes they are showing off in the most unlikely of contexts. The English photographer, Cecil Beaton (1904-1980), renowned for his photographs of Audrey Hepburn and other film stars, as well as for photoshoots for the big fashion houses, is generally remembered for the images of elegance that he produced. However, one photograph that sticks in my mind is of a refined woman, coat casually draped around her shoulders, reading a newspaper that she holds in her white-gloved hands, whilst sitting on a concrete splattered saw-horse among grimy buckets, spades and the like. The contrast between the subject and setting was what drew the viewer into the shot.

Today's photograph is also an unlikely pairing, but one which I think works really well. It shows a tomb of a Knight of the Order of St John, dating from the 1400s, in the church of St Botolph's, Boston, Lincolnshire. I posted an image of this knight on the blog a while ago, and it depicts the tomb as one is used to seeing such things. However, when I visited the flower festival at St Botolph's (see yesterday's post), I found that someone had surrounded this fine piece of sculpture with pink carnations (and a few orange daisies). That simple act transformed the cold, dead stone, injecting life where there was none, lightening the mood surrounding the effigy, and introducing a colour that complemented the bluish tones. It was a photographic opportunity not to be missed, so I composed this shot using the out-of-focus blooms on the left to balance the head on the right.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 17mm (34mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f3.2
Shutter Speed: 1/50 seconds
ISO: 400
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On