Monday, August 30, 2010

17. The user's point of view

Thinking of suitable buildings with very distinctive use cases was the time consuming part of this exercise, I struggled to think of examples where the position of the buildings user is very clearly defined and locked in.  Most buildings offer multiple vantage points, however, some do have a distinct position from which they should or must be experienced.

Starting with a church, clearly there are many different places and activities in which the building can be experienced, however, the one that the church is probably most interested is that of sitting in a pew attending a service.  I did not want to interrupt a service by taking photographs so chose a time when there were simply a few people taking some time for quiet contemplation.  I am not a religious man, but I still find that a church in a busy city offers a respite from the noise and chaos of modern life.  In the following two photographs I have deliberately kept the focus on the person and the pews, leaving the details of the building out of focus.  This is to draw attention to the activity, but ensure that the purpose is clear.

EOS 5D2, 24-105mm, 92mm, 1/45s, f/4, ISO400

EOS 5D2, 24-105mm, 82mm, 1/15s, f/4, ISO800

Slightly twisting the definition of a building, my next set of images are a users eye view on a subway tunnel, clearly requiring a train to experience. The first two images are in one of the older of Munich's subway trains from a seated and standing perspective.  In both cases the passengers were not immediately aware of the camera and did not react.  In the second photo I held the camera waist high and quietly hit the shutter to avoid any attention and capture the expressions of the passengers:

EOS 5D2, 24-105mm, 24mm, 1/30s, f/8, ISO3200

EOS 5D2, 24-105mm, 24mm, 1/45s, f/4, ISO800

In the third image I am shooting from eye level standing on one of the brand new "open" trains, in which there are no divisions between the carriages and resulting in interesting perspective shifts as the train goes around corners:

EOS 5D2, 24-105mm, 24mm, 1/15s, f/4, ISO800

I have done a great deal of work recently in and around the Munich S-Bahn system, photographing the people, trains, and architecture.  For my final user's view study I am presenting 3 photo's taken whilst ascending or descending the escalators within the stations.  All are from a standing position and clearly all are taken whilst moving.  Quality on the first is not great, but it captures the claustrophobic environment of some of the stair wells as well as a simple moment as the little girl looks towards her mother

EOS 5D2, 24-70mm, 24mm, 1/90s, f/2.8, IS3200

The second image is a simpler one as I head to the bottom of the escalator

EOS 5D2, 24-105mm, 75mm, 1/45s, f/4, IS800

The final image is of Munich architecture from the stairway.  For a visitor to the city this might be the first viewpoint they have of some of the older buildings, an interesting and perhaps surprising view from the depths of the subway system:

EOS 5D2, 24-105mm, 24mm, 1/1000s, f/4, IS800

Finally I want to add 2 more images, again showing a user eye viewpoint, each very different and  a bit of fun.  The first one is my cat Doro, sitting in a small animal house we put in the garden for shelter, but viewed through the cat flap, very much a cats user eye view of an important part of our building and their home:

Canon G11, 30.5mm, 1/20s, f/4.5, ISO1600

This is perhaps a view I have enjoyed too many times, sitting at a beer garden bench staring at a pile of empty glasses:

EOS 5D2, 70-200mm, 200mm, 1/500s, f/4, IS100

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