Welcome to part 4, which could equally be called 'The Lamppost Edition', as a lamppost features proudly in each of the photographs shown here.
In fact, ornate, omnipresent lampposts are an unmistakable and inescapable part of the Parisian skyscape. My daughter's mother used to have quite a thing about them, and I think some of that's rubbed off on me, coz they seem to often crop up in my pics.
And there is something about them, these solitary sentinels, lighting up the city, stretching heavenward optimistically.
They are exceptionally useful elements to include in pics because not only are they often very photogenic in their own right, they often highlight other parts of the shot, either by echoing something tall and thin, as here, or be contrasting starkly with something long and horizontal, such as the horizon or skyline, for example.
In the second shot, it's the same church, again with a lamppost, but it's a very different take on the subject. This beautiful and strange church is just at the end of my road, and here there is a strong dynamic between the lines of the spire, the lamppost, and the roofs, none of which are vertical or horizontal, which makes for an arresting composition. The lamppost and the spire almost seem to be leaning in protectively over the church roof, coddling or cherishing it, perhaps.
It's easy to take boring or unoriginal pictures of churches, and lampposts, because you're not playing on their inherent attributes and making the most of them. For example, church spires and lampposts are long, thin and tall, so make the actual pic the same way.
Churches are supposed to places where we can feel safe, so use the surrounding elements to wrap themselves around it reassuringly. Symbolism is everything. So look for it everywhere. It doesn't matter if only you see it; that's good enough. The fact that you saw something or were inspired in some way is what counts. After it's for others to try to see what you saw, or to be touched by something in your vision, even if they're not quite sure what it is.
In the final picture I was struck by the exceptional purity of the tones and shapes. The soft grey wall blended perfectly with the harsher geometric forms and I particularly like the placement of elements in relation to each other here.
Again I created quite a tall picture, as the lamppost and doorway encouraged it, but the lower section of wall along with the snippet of kerb in the bottom left, along with their converging angles, almost lead you around the lamppost and off into the picture exiting stage right, or is it left? Well, it pulls you in anyway, I feel, which is the sign of a good photo.
I didn't want the lamppost to interfere with any of the other elements, and I like this kind of passive isolation of all the various bits and bobs: the window, the water outlet or something, the number, the door, the decoration above the door, and of course the lamppost, majestically crowning the whole rather sterile scene. Yes, purity is the word that comes to mind when I look at this shot.
I like it when a shot conjures up a word in my mind, because that means I've succeeded in eliminating a lot of the horrible 'noise' that populates so many amateurish pics. Extraneous, distracting stuff that does nothing. Look out for it like your life depended on it! Things like litter bins and things! Don't publish rubbish!!!
All images & words copyright © Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free 2005