Structure pervades our life - both in nature and by human design. The word structure has a few meanings - as a noun it means 'the arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex.' As a verb it means 'to construct or arrange according to a plan; give a pattern or organization.'
In photography structure is very important - as 'composition' or as a verb 'to compose.' It's about the way we see the world and the way we build pictures out of what we see. This week, why not explore the importance of structure in your surroundings.
I'd like to share a few thoughts and examples of how structure plays out in my work and the work of others.
In the plant world succulents have a unique structure. Often thick and fleshy, this adaptation allows storage of water in the stems and leaves. Is structure and beauty in nature an accident or does it serve a purpose beyond practicality? This is a hotly contested question in the scientific community. Repeating patterns abound in nature. Life forms are attracted to this.
This plant was photographed with a macro lens- this represents a 4x magnification. There's structure on all levels of existence from the subatomic to the galactic level. The need for structure in photographs leads us to compose. We use composition to convey visual information to the human brain. As our awareness of structure increases this shows through in our photographs.
Structures in Russia
Photos By Slava Ivanov
I met Slava in 2013 while he was a student in my Night Photography course at GBC in Toronto. Since then he's moved back home to Russia and we've stayed in touch. Although the photography he's shared with me has many elements of street photography in it, his images that include architecture and dwellings are very strong. Now he is working as an architectural photographer in Russia. Click here or on the photos below to see Slava's website.
"This church is located in a small rural community near an ancient settlement. Like most of the churches this was transformed during the USSR era to a warehouse and then abandoned. Local priest and volunteers are working on restoration of the place. I love traveling to abandoned churches - there you can always explore beautiful light and shadows and feel the spirit of history."
"This abandoned sanatorium located in an historical mansion, Moscow. Vinogradovo - is a massive estate and architectural ensemble. Buildings are badly maintained but there are still many authentic artifacts. Security let me in at night. I had only a flashlight and a camera. It’s a bit creepy to walk through old mansions but night is great opportunity to experiment with light sources."
"The hospice (in Porechye) is obviously a sad place, yet is quite unique for Russia as volunteers created a “home like” environment in a vintage building. I talked to those who work and stay there and felt welcomed. When I travel to such places I always communicate to people so I can go deeper into their story and the story of the structure they live in"
Andrew Moore Wants To Know,
What Happened In Here?
Andrew Moore is a large format colour film photographer who explores spaces with an eye to the past ie he asks the question, what has happened in those spaces, habitats or dwellings? His studies of Detroit and Havana are very well known for good reason.
One of Canada's Best
I have my former student and friend Lisa McLean to thank for introducing me to the work that Montrealer Robert Polidori did in Havana, Cuba. Strong colour images made with a large format film camera, they sing the praises of Havana. Working in divese locations such as post Katrina New Orleans, Versailles and Chernobyl, Polidori has a way of making these places seem very intimate.
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