Assignment 3: People and Activity

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The objective of this assignment is to choose five or six buildings and for each produce between two and four images that describe effectively and attractively the way in which these spaces are used. My mission was to capture the spaces while at the same time maintain the impessions the places reflected. The photos were taken at different times during the day and this has helped me to study further the light and its attributes.

1. Living room in our apartment in Athens

The building was built in 1962 by Tassos Karanikolas. It is a 10-floor block of flats, quite modern with simple lines.

Images 1 & 2: Both photos were captured after the sunrise. The room gives you an airy feeling. The big windows welcome both air and light and the eye is pleased with the spectacular sea view, making the space even more appealing. The emptiness of the room eliminates distractions and so the emphasis is directed to the forms and lines giving a serene feeling to the viewer.

2. Acropolis museum

The architects of the New Acropolis Museum (Bernard Tschumi with Michael Photiadis and their associates) have used a lot of glass in order to allow the ambient natural light to invade into the space. In this way the display of sculptural objects changes throughout the course of the day.

Movement in and through time is an important aspect of architecture, and of this museum in particular. The building is divided into a base, middle, and top, which were designed around the specific needs of each part of the building. The base of the museum floats over the existing archaeological excavations on pilotis to protect and consecrate the site with a network of columns. The top, which is made up of the rectangular Parthenon Gallery arranged around an indoor court, rotates gently again to orient the Marbles exactly as they were placed at the Parthenon centuries ago. The glass enclosure provides ideal light for sculpture in direct view to and from the Acropolis while protecting the gallery against excessive heat and light, thanks to the most contemporary glass technology.

The three major materials of the Museum are glass for the facades and some of the floors, concrete for the core and the columns, and marble for some floors. The east and west facades and the Parthenon Gallery columns are made of steel.1

Image 3: The presence of children in the image gives a sense of scale and proportion to the space. This picture has a strong perspective effect.

Image 4: The space’s architectural framework has guided me to this planned composition. This seems quite well balanced to me.

Both images have strong leading lines and bring an harmonious result.

3. Hydra

This is a traditional 3-storey house built in the 1980 with full respect to the local tradition and materials. Each floor has been now converted into independent residences. All openings have been carefully planned and once the windows are open the space becomes very cool.

Image 5: I took advance of the natural light coming from the window. The purple sheets add interest to the image. The open book and the unmade bed imply the human presence.

Image 6: This image needed a tripod, which I didn’t have with me as so motion blur has destroyed the image. It is a true blessing to have an open window during a hot summer evening. Even the dog is grateful for the cool breeze. I should have stepped back a little to take a better image with a wider perspective but lack of space was an obstacle. The bedroom was rather small and I didn’t feel free to move any furniture.

4. The Nautical Folklore Museum of Symi (Dodecanese) includes a representation of a house and is located in Gialos, just 2 km from the main town. The museum is in an elegant neoclassical house. The museum was not well organized as a museum but the building itself was welcome and bright.

Images 7 and 8: Both images share the same light and atmosphere. The stairs leading to the basement caught my attention. The light before noon was very bright and the dark elements on the walls were imposing their presence against the white walls. The stairs have a very symbolic significance for me because metaphorically we can say that they show us the way to our darker side, inviting us to dive into the deep waters of our inner self.

Image 9: This image has a different atmosphere. I wonder if I could have used a lower perspective. My eye was impressed by the colourful paintings reminding more an artist’s studio than a museum hall. I see that the image needed some straightening in order to align perfectly with the horizontal line of the wall.

5. Orthodox Church in the island of Nimos

Nimos is an uninhabited Greek island in the Dodecanese island group of the southern Aegean Sea. Located off the northern coast of Symi, it has an area of 4.6 square kilometres (1.8 sq mi). It is the island Ymos of the ancient Greeks. I happened to be there during visiting the island of Symi. The church of the Panagia Apokouis has been built in the 1940. I was very moved to discover that this small island was a leper colony, a place to quarantine people with leprosy. Outside of this church in the courtyard lies a small cemetery in an unusual form, looks more like a water tank.

It was late in the evening when I took the photos. There was a revival of the traditional Feast in August 23, the only celebration that takes place in this island during the whole year. I felt fortunate enough to be there.

Image 10: The interior of the chapel, a small place simply furnished. The curved ceiling and the shape of the carpets lead our eye to the centre of the image. It have observed something strange with this chapel, there are no chairs. This is quite rate. Even in the smallest one you do find chairs to sit and pray.

Image 11: This image captures the characteristic devout atmosphere. The candlelight is warming the mood and brings life to this space.

Image 12: Image framing plays an important role in defining how we relate with space.

I have used a different viewpoint standing in the entrance of the chapel and used the door as a frame of the interior.

My review

 Besides the obvious sheltering from the extremes of the elements, people make rooms to live in as if they are animated by an unconscious desire to return to a prenatal life, or even before that, to a soul life. This is what they exteriorize in rooms, their internal soul life, or less magically put, their personal values, if you will.”

Robert Polidori, Photographer 2

I feel pleased with the final outcome. It has been very challenging for me to complete this assignment. My country is on a big economic and political crisis and this has affected every aspect of our daily life and work. During this project I have felt depressed and unmotivated. Seeing the final prints and the bright light that invades from the windows, I get a sense of optimism. While working for this assignment, I have often questioned my aesthetic ability. I had a vision to find places as perfect as a poem. My inspiration was a Greek photographer Nikos Panayotopoulos3 he has been capturing some photos, which I admire because of the emotions they evoke to me. Undoubtedly I have failed to produce such a result as my vision was but I keep the enthusiasm for future projects.

Image framing plays an important role in defining how we relate with space. Our places can be chaotic visually and I needed to put order into chaos so that the viewer would appreciate my images. It was a real struggle since I was required to be selective in what to include and exclude. I have faced some problems with the horizontal lines because I was using a wide-angle lens without a tripod.

Points to improve:

Once entering a space I tend to look through the lens right away. I have to stop and sense the space, walk around, take a look and then decide on the perspective and the physical qualities of the space.

Without a tripod the image isn’t static. Yet, I hate travelling with a tripod.

I have to learn to take endless images to a subject using up various frames and angles.

I need to adjust the white balance where needed in the post-processing.

Reference & Bibliography

  1. http://www.theacropolismuseum.gr/en/content/museum-history
  2.  https://www.artsy.net/artwork/robert-polidori-hotel-petra-number-1-beirut-lebanon
  3.  Nikos Panayotopoulos for the book Yiannis Stathatos (“Image and Rerfection, The New Greek Photography”, Ministry of Culture, Athens, 1997).

My contact sheets

my living room contact sheet

acropolis museum contact sheet

Hydra contact sheet

Nautical Folklore Museum contact sheet

Nimos church contact sheet

Rejected photos:

church Symi-rejected contact sheet

2 church Symi-rejected contact sheet 1

Hotel Symi-rejected contact sheet 1

church Hydra-rejected contact sheet 1

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