Tag Archives: abstract photography

From Literal to Abstract, or What a Difference Lighting Makes

Two very similar shots of the same building. One in soft, diffuse light, the other in strong directional light. While both are about repetition of shapes and patterns, the one remains representational, the other, abstract.

Balconies, Georgetown
Balconies, Georgetown
Balconies. Georgetown
Balconies. Georgetown

And the difference between these two shots is about two hours. They were taken on different, but weather-wise similar, days, but one was taken around 4pm, the other around 6pm.

Chinese Wall

Well, it’s not a Chinese wall, obviously, but it is a wall. And a natural phenomenon, light reflected on the wall filtered by the patterns of tree branches, ends up looking LIKE Chinese characters. They’re obviously not real Chinese characters, but they have a very calligraphic feel to them.

Chinese Wall #1
Chinese Wall #1
Chinese Wall #2
Chinese Wall #2

World Health Organization in color

I’ve been photographing the World Health Organization building in black and white, regularly, because the architecture lends itself so very nicely to geometric abstracts. Here it is in color, to show a different take on photo abstraction and the creation of meaning in an image.

World Health Organization, Sky Arc
World Health Organization, Sky Arc
World Health Organization, Sky 'V'
World Health Organization, Sky ‘V’
World Health Organization End, 'Monolith'
World Health Organization End, ‘Monolith’
PAHO/WHO Building
PAHO/WHO Building

The building itself was designed by Uruguayan architect Roman Fresnedo Siri. In 1961, Siri won an international design competition with his arc and cylinder concept. Construction was begun in 1963 and the building opened officially on September 27, 1965. There are bronze plaques on the face of the tower representing each of the 29 member nations.

World Health Organization Recap

A recap of the World Health Organization images I’ve made. There are more coming, but they’re on several rolls I haven’t had a chance to process yet (I’ve got to get a couple more shot to run a batch).

This first one is in some ways the most graphic of the bunch, if not the most abstract. In winter, near sundown, you can see this bare tree in front of the white marble wall on the end of the building. There’s the contrast between the black organic shape of the tree against the white rectilinear grid of the wall.

Tree, Stone Wall
Tree, Stone Wall
The rest of these don’t bear commentary because you’ve seen them before here on my blog. Go back and re-read the posts ( here, here, here, here, here, and here) for the details of my thoughts and ideas about the images.

Underneath the WHO
Underneath the WHO

Columns
Columns

Handrail
Handrail

Flagpoles
Flagpoles

WHO Column, Angle
WHO Column, Angle

World Health Organization Curves
World Health Organization Curves

Eaves, World Health Organization
Eaves, World Health Organization

World Health Organization, Thirds
World Health Organization, Thirds

World Health Organization, Cylinder
World Health Organization, Cylinder

PAHO/WHO Building
PAHO/WHO Building

WHO building
WHO building

WHO building
WHO building

Pavers, Reflection, Grass
Pavers, Reflection, Grass

Architectural Abstractions – The World Health Organization Building

Two different takes on the WHO building downtown DC. This time shot in bright, strong, contrasty sunlight. Due to the geometry of the building I was aiming for geometric abstractions, composing so the context of the structure was absent and what is visible has to be taken non-literally.

World Health Organization, Cylinder
World Health Organization, Cylinder

Pointing the camera vertically to create these images really pushes the perception into unreality – you’re dealing with three texture sets, not anything particularly identifiable. Mid-century architecture like this is a rare commodity in DC – most buildings are either glass-and-steel cubes, neoclassical faux-palaces, or Art Deco boxes of varying degrees of interest and value, so this really stands out.

World Health Organization, Thirds
World Health Organization, Thirds

Toronto Architecture

I’ve always loved buildings, since I was a little kid. I was fascinated by castles and old buildings of all kinds (I grew up in a house that predated the Civil War in a town that was burned by the Confederates). Now, I’m equally fascinated by modern urbanity. Here’s some of my take on super urban Toronto.

I like black and white for architecture, especially modern glass and steel architecture, because it amplifies the abstraction of geometry found in modern design.

A street car emerges from the shadows of the urban canyon carved between high rise office towers. Pedestrians become silhouettes in the early morning light. An early Sunday morning in downtown Toronto:

Early Morning, Downtown Toronto
Early Morning, Downtown Toronto

A daring facade wiggles between more traditional office towers:

University Street, Toronto
University Street, Toronto

A modern condo building rises above the traditional Victorian and Edwardian streetscape of the city center. Taxis fill the street below in the hustle and bustle of the human beehive of activity, while overhead power lines for streetcars divide the sky into grids:

New Condos, Toronto
New Condos, Toronto

The CN Tower soars above downtown, framed by other towers. The sweeping roofline of the concert hall below directs the eye to the CN Tower from any angle:

CN Tower, Concert Hall
CN Tower, Concert Hall

Modern apartments frame an industrial-era chimney in a contrast of textures:

Two Towers, Toronto
Two Towers, Toronto

Two street lamps crane forward into the scene in zoomorphic curves, the necks and heads of two flamingos, breaking the chaotic geometry of the polygonal tower behind them:

Two Streetlamps, Reflections, Glass and Steel
Two Streetlamps, Reflections, Glass and Steel

Looking straight up, towers and street lamps criss-cross the sky:

Streetlamp and Skyscraper
Streetlamp and Skyscraper

Mirrored windows of one tower reflect upon another, as vertical lines converge out of frame:

The Two Towers Between Two Towers
The Two Towers Between Two Towers