Project 1A: Photography/Framing

This project is inspired by Helene Binet’s photographs by which she focuses on capturing architectural objects and spaces with shadow and light. Helene’s images explore the relationship between form and light; the form is essential in creating volume for the light to rebound thus reflecting the fragmentations and shapes that are central to her work (Harvard GSD 2012). Her curiosity for shadows is explained through the idea that memory exists in dark spaces:

“If you think about shadow as a sense of light you can go back in time and space and you can see that it connects you to the past. How do you convey something that is more deep, that allows you to dream or think… this is weird so you start to dream and think and you maybe go out purely from the picture but into yourself. The light and the shadow are tools to allow you to do that” (Phaidon 2017, para 8).

I was really taken with her perception that shadows lures us into the structure as well as our minds. Her understanding of architecture delves deeper into our imaginations as we feel more than we see the structure in front of us.

After sifting through a myriad of beautiful images I selected three frames to guide me before I set out to take my own.

Above: Photographs by Helene Binet — St. Eglise Saint-Pierre in Fierminy, France, 2007 (left); Riverside Museum in Glasgow by Zaha Hadid (centre); Jantar Matar Observatory in Jaipur, India, 2002 (right).

As seen above, much of Helene’s work is expressed through black and white. She asserts that black and white photographs are more effective for both contrasting shadow and light in addition to reflecting the texture of the buildings (Harvard GSD 2012). With an appreciation of black and white images due to its simplistic but expressive qualities I decided to design the series in a black and white theme.

With Helene’s photographs in mind I made my way along George St. observing how different intensities of light, natural and artificial, interacted with fragments of buildings. I planned to start my shoot around midday as I would have a few hours before sunset which allowed plenty of time for the light to transform.

The two images below were not included in my final series although I did take some time to decide whether or not they would be. The image to the left was more attractive in colour and would have disrupted the black and white sequence. The image on the right I felt would have been too ambitious because the Opera House has been photographed innumerable times.

The following images are included in the final selection. To the left are the originals shot through an Iphone 6 and to the right are the finals which have been edited using Adobe Photoshop.

I composed the first three photographs by pointing my camera up into the sky as I wished to exaggerate the height of the buildings. I wanted to combine the reflective qualities of the surface material as well as the multitude of artificial lights glowing from within. I also experimented with framing and angles by contrasting the first, being more angular, with the second, straight. As there were two buildings in the second shot I chose to photograph the symmetry of the lines of both structures. The third photo is similar but I focused primarily on shadows created by natural light and contrasting the shapes in the foreground with the sky at the back.

Photographs four, five and six were constructed in more intimate frames. For the fourth image I noticed the window before I noticed the building so I decided to frame this one with just the window with a part of the wall in view. Effectively it is much like the first two photographs in the series whereby the light is reflected off the building and from within. I also straightened out this image by use of the horizontal lines that run along the wall of the building. Photographs five and six were taken at the topmost level of the UTS Library. I liked the combination of artifical and natural light in the fifth photograph as the shadow seemed to become an extension off the lamp on the wall. The last photograph is devoid of artifical light altogether and concentrates on the shadow created by the light falling through the atrium above.

Above: final series presented during the studio pin-up.

Reference list

Harvard GSD 2012, Hélène Binet, “Composing Space”, video recording, YouTube, viewed 6 July 2017, <>.

Phaidon, Ten questions for photographer Hélène Binet, London & New York City, viewed 6 July 2017,<>.

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