I have mentioned previously that my photographic walking style involves regular turning around to view what had previously been ahead of me from the opposite angle. By doing this, many new compositions and juxtapositions appear in a completely refreshed view. When in a building, there is a third dimension that I add to my “walk”. I look up. As I entered the luxury shopping arcade at Dallas Airport last Monday, on my return to France, I looked up at a highly modernistic and complex chandelier, which immediately triggered my love for photographing everyday objects or scenes abstractly.
For me, the most enjoyable point of an abstract image is the freedom it gives for the imagination to go where it will. Approaching the chandelier from a distance, it was pleasing at a functional and a decorative level and was, naturally, very much in accord with the overall mood of the mall set by the designers. Their aim to give a feeling of style and luxury was effectively achieved, using rich materials and an overall glittering, bright environment.
I took a moment to sit on one of the scarlet canapés scattered in front of the Dior store and gazed up into the chandelier, fascinated by the impression of globules of mercury floating above my head. Like so many children, I had been fascinated by this element during my ultra brief exposure to science lessons at school. Its more magical name of quicksilver better evokes its shape-shifting, glittering, speedy metamorphoses.
Going further into reveries, the floating shapes strongly evoked in me visions of futuristic vehicles floating through the metropolis, or fleets of spaceships carrying Earth’s population to safety from a ravaged planetary home. More pleasantly, I just got lost in the softness, brightness and depth of the glittering shapes above my head.
Although my wife complains about me negligently maltreating my clothes, I can occasionally defend myself through the excuse of my passionate pursuit of art. For example I have lain flat on my stomach in the courtyard of the Louvre on a freezing cold night, in the gravel on the edge of the fountain of Apollo at Versailles and, on other occasions, flat on my back to capture architectural objects from a flat, rather than a slanting angle. This was one such situation. I confess that I did wonder if my lying on the floor might give some angst to the massed ranks of Homeland Security only a few dozen yards away.
Even hunkering down changes the view of anything significantly. My message is, don’t stand and look forward all the time. Be like Henri Cartier Bresson and dance!
Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: 24-70mm f2.8G Zoom
Focal Length: 42 mm
Focus Mode: AF-S
Autofocus Area Mode: Single
Shutter Speed: 1/40s
Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
ISO Sensitivity: 400
I hope that you use the freedom of movement available to you to “see” the world in a different way. Take the risk of embarrassing yourself, being criticized by your companions, or even being interrogated by the police. It’s worth it!
Copyright Paul Grayson 2015