Ed Ruscha — Every Building on the Sunset Strip (1966)
Technique — A strip of topographies forming an elevation.
Which is essentially, landscape photos that depict both the natural and built environment, placed one after another to create a singular elevation, which is a face of a building. The topographies being specifically placed in a strip enables the viewer to relate to the photos, from the perspective of it being a journey, as most people can relate to driving down a street in a car or just walking down a road. It captures everything that you would observe in this journey; not only the grand buildings or designs but also the rather banal, or bland parts of that journey. Ed Ruscha was renown for photographing banal objects and buildings as art to capture the beauty of them, and show how they expressed their own unique characteristics. This technique shows how in architecture, especially within the city, the so-called “banal” buildings actually play an integral role in creating the overall style and feeling of the city. It also captures how open space, or lack space, is also part of the design. The use of black and white helps the viewer to focus on the architectural design of the buildings, rather than any salient parts such as the sky background or advertising billboards and lights. The lack of color also helps show the buildings in a banal light, further connecting them all. Both sets of topographies have no humans in them, which highlight the aesthetic design of the buildings, rather than their interactive qualities. There are cars within the frame though, which helps establish the point of perspective. Overall, I feel this technique helps us see how all parts of the city’s architecture are intertwined and connected to form its own unique style and feel.
Inspiration — Jarmusch, Jim - Down by Law (1986) Opening sequence: pan shoot of the elevation of a New Orleans.
My film — https://vimeo.com/212359335
A pan shot is achieved in both my inspiration and my film by placing a camera in a moving vehicle. The camera stays still, whilst the moving vehicle creates the pan shot. This captures the elevation of a certain space, or in other words a face of an environment and everything in that environment. In Down By Law, the space is the city of New Orleans, whilst in my film the space being captured is the area around UTS. An elevation of a space includes both the natural and built environment. Another element that is often overlooked is the open space, or lack of space within an elevation. It is evident in Figure 1 that space plays an integral role in the city’s architecture.
The use of black and white removes any salience in both films. It connects both the built and natural environment into a singular elevation. Music is played over the top of the footage in both films setting up a certain mood. I chose an upbeat jazz song to give the elevation more character and make it feel more alive and busy. The footage is shot in landscape to capture a wider angle and help show how the buildings connect with elements around them (e.g. the building or space next to it). The camera being in a moving car gives the viewer a perspective, as most people can relate to driving down the road in a car. People can be seen in both films to add scale and show interactive qualities of the buildings, this also adds to how the city may be seen or felt as being ‘alive’. This technique shows how we read architecture in regard to the buildings and elements that are directly around it, but also wider surroundings such as across town. It paints the story that within a city, there are different styles across the city that come together to form the city’s overall style and personality.
Ruscha, Ed. (1937-) — The Ordinary — Every Building on the Sunset Strip (Los Angeles, 1966)
Down By Law (1986), motion picture, Island Pictures, New Orleans