Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bad whole, good detail

click photo to enlarge
It's a paradox of many man-made structures (and a few natural ones) that something that you dislike as an overall piece may well have details that you appreciate. Take automotive design. I've never been a great fan of Jaguar styling yet I've photographed bonnet and front details of the marque on more than one occasion because they appeal to me. Or how about contemporary architecture? The development near Tower Bridge in London with the ridiculous name of More London was justly short-listed for the 2007 Carbuncle Cup, an annual award for bad architecture, but I've taken a few photographs of the buildings' details that I really like.

The other day in London I entered a new building and noticed that the ceiling in the foyer above the receptionists' desks had sheets of undulating, perforated, reflective metal fixed to it. I can only assume that it was a styling feature though I suppose it may have fulfilled some acoustic purpose. My immediate thought was, "That doesn't work." In a very impressive and elegant structure this detail looked cheap by association. By that I mean it reminded me of foil covered cardboard packaging of the kind that is sometimes used in a vain attempt to "lift" the appearance of the contents of the box. But then I looked closely at the reflections that changed as I moved beneath it and I saw something that interested me. This photograph of a small part of the expanse of metal has a semi-abstract quality that I like. I rather regret not taking a shot of the whole of the location for comparison purposes, but I was pushing my luck getting this shot, and I think the receptionists might have taken exception to my camera being pointed at them rather than up at the ceiling.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 47mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/40
ISO: 2000
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On