It is now time to update my collection of Monochrome Arches with some more recent images shot this year. The first two images are post-Industrial Revolution structures from the latter half of the 1800’s. Built of wrought iron, they are impressive in their scale and engineering. These super-sized frames are way beyond the human scale, but they have other admirable qualities – a vantage point from which to view the world and a shelter from the elements.
Then third image is another addition to my collection of churches. St. James Church is framed by the gated entrance.
All of my images in the Monochrome Arches series are also framed with a white matte – a frame outside of the frame. They are sized to be mounted on a 12×16 inch or 16 square inch board.
“Spring” is the loose theme for this series of images. All of these photographs were shot in the months of March and April, but they don’t have a lot of the characteristics of spring that you might expect to see.
The image of the women’s clothing store window includes two mannequins displaying the latest spring fashions for sale. Alas, all of the clothes were black and white, so there were no colours to start with – a “natural” for conversion to a monochrome image.
The shrub in the second image has been heavily pruned in anticipation of a new growing season. Lots of sunshine and interesting shadows on display – as well as some nice geometrical shaped. We just need some warmer weather to get the buds underway!
The candelabra is half empty and half full. A minimalist still life found in a church window.
This second series of monochromes that continues with the theme of arches includes three more religious buildings.
St. Paul’s Cathedral in London continues to be a significant edifice in the city. This cathedral, the masterpiece of Britain’s most famous architect Sir Christopher Wren, has operated for over 300 years. This building survived the London Blitz of 1940-41, and good town planning has kept the cathedral and its magnificent dome as a visible landmark during the reconstruction of the surrounding neighbourhood.
Fountains Abbey is located in North Yorkshire. It operated as a Cistercian monastery for over 400 years, until the mid 1500’s, when it was ordered to be dismantled as part of King Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. The abbey and the surrounding Studley Royal Park are a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site.
The rest stop on the Camino is located in northern Spain. I can’t recall which building this is.
I have recently been experimenting with darker tones in black and white photographs. Using images that were shot in broad daylight, I have been processing them with masks and gradients to darken parts of the image. These three images are examples from this processing.
The Rock of Cashel is a popular tourist attraction in Ireland. The proximity of gravestones and the cloudy sky add to the sinister and moody look of the image.
The RC Harris Water Treatment Plant is located in the Beaches area of east Toronto. It is a majestic art deco building that looks much more impressive than its purpose – to process domestic drinking water from nearby Lake Ontario. Water purification is a basic human need, so, perhaps, the “darker” treatment is not in keeping with its altruistic public health goals.
The exterior fire escape is attached to an office building in Victoria. External fire escapes are much more prevalent in other cities, but this is a good example of a simple geometric facade with the fire escape and its shadow dominating one end of the building. Applying a gradient adds some interest to an otherwise monochromatic wall.
Black and white photography has always interested me, ever since my darkroom days. In the digital world, it is easy to get caught up in colours and vibrance and saturation. By returning to black and white images, tonality and gradients become more important.
The framing of an image has always been important to me. In this series, each image is framed by an arch and/or contains a series of arches. The archway leads you into the image, to discover what lies beyond the frame. From an architectural perspective, it is also interesting to study the differences among the styles of arches – be they gothic, romanesque or barrel vaults.