Thursday, September 30, 2010

Assignment 4: Planning

In my first comment on assignment 4 I specified the district of Munich that I have selected for this assignment and presented a large number of photographs illustrating possible locations or subjects for the submission.  In this entry I want to set down some ideas about the style and approach that I am currently considering.

My modus operandi for these assignments is to first write down a number of subjects or locations that might provide interesting potential and then to methodically work through most of the list by doing a series of photographic studies.  This assignment should be no different, however, I do want to constrain the stylistic approach and try to achieve a degree of commonality in the look of the images.  My current reading and observation of other photographers work makes me want to pursue two distinct and very different approaches to this assignment:

  • Street Photography
  • Deadpan Photography
Adopting a street approach would mean walking through a specific neighbourhood camera in hand looking for the spontaneous or unusual, images that will frequently include people as well as place. An example (and a photo very likely to make the final selection) is the following:

Photographers that this style brings to mind are Joel Meyerowitz and Martin Parr.

The other approach, following a deadpan stylistic cue, would require careful planning of each image with the objective being to faithfully represent the shape and content of the area, still including people, but not with people as the goal.  The following image might be a good starting point:

Here the combination of architecture, transport and urban decay, contrast to generate a layered image.  I would plan to use prime lenses, particularly my wonderful 24mm tilt shift lens,with my camera tripod mounted, slowing down the creative process and allowing for more thought.  My inspiration here would be Andreas Gursky and Stephen Shore, very different in their own styles, but both achieving a very crafted carefully constructed image.

I also plan to play a little with framing, not always using the conventional A4 landscape and portrait.  I have in mind to experiment with the tilt shift to create panoramic views of the city scape and square frames containing close ups of apartment blocks.  Time of day and weather will be another 2 key variables, some of the steel clad buildings may look better against a grey sky than blue, creating a flat but chromatically harmonious image.  Equally many of the residential buildings will transform as people inside switch on their lights at dusk.

The other aspect to this photographic study or essay will be to tell the story of an historic district combining the old and the new in a way that brings an extra meaning to some of the photographs.  This is after all the home of the 1920's Nazi party and relics of their evil still persist in the landscape.

I have developed a subject list, possibly not all will be covered and others will be added:
  1. Transport
    1. Ostbahnhof - Munichs second largest station
    2. Trams and Public Transport in the streets
  2. Eating and Drinking
    1. The Hofbraukeller beer garden
    2. Cafe Wiener on Wiener Platz
    3. Cafe Atlas - famous place for Sunday brunch
    4. Molly Malones Irish Pub - my old local with a friendly landlord
    5. Escobar - a Portuguese resteraunt surrounded by other eateries
    6. Paros - completely mad Greek restaurant prone to providing free Ouzo - have regretted this 
  3. Places
    1. Orleonsplatz - Haidhausen has many French street names and the layout of the area follows a French style street plan
    2. Weisenburger platz - Munich's only French style pedestrian area
    3. The pedestrian area near Rosenheimer Platz full of cafes
  4. Public Buildings
    1. The Bavarian parliament building - an odd ugly building
    2. Several medieval churches, some plague churches where mass graves were created in the 13th/14th centuries
    3. The Gasteig - Home of music in the city and also containing the cities main library
    4. Museum Villa Stuck - An Italianate building housing an art museum
    5. The Rechts der Isar Hospital - one of the best in southern Germany
  5. Spaces
    1. The River Isar and the bridges crossing it - landscape shot
    2. The park that runs along the river bank, many interesting buildings
  6. Street Life and Private Buildings
    1. Panoramas of shopping streets
    2. Flats - some of the largest blocks of flats are in this district
    3. Haidhausen also has a couple of rows of two story houses dating back hundreds of years and historically very significant
  7. Businesses
    1. The Paulaner Brewery
    2. The bizarre looking Telekom buildings (above)
  8. Entertainment
    1. Two cinemas, one is a famous old English cinema that holds the world record for showing the Rocky Horror every day since it was first released (I guess 30 years)
    2. The Kultfabrik - an area with around 30 bars and nightclubs in an old factory, comes alive after midnight so may be tricky
I could go on, there is huge potential in this small area, but creating a well crafted and cohesive set of photographs will not be easy and will take many visits over the next 6 weeks.

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