I am a member of the Five Fall Into Adventure Group on Flickr. The group was set up by five like-minded Street Photographers to work together, to help each other look at Street Photography with different eyes. As part of the group we have Monthly Challenges, 5 subjects to shoot for each month to encourage us to look for shots and sometimes take us outside our comfort zones.
One of the Challenges in October was Patterns, which was set by Grant (Mister G.C.). This was certainly different for me and was set to achieve what the group was set up to do. Look at things differently.
I decided to visit places in Cardiff Centre that I haven’t visited for many years, and the shot above was a big surprise to see. I then headed towards the John Lewis Store. I had noticed previously that the windows had great patterns on them, but I decided to pass as the light wasn’t very good, and carried on to the streets behind. Then looked up!
As anybody that follows the Blog or my work on Flickr knows, I usually use the 85mm lens. I had purposely taken the 24-120mm with me as I know getting the pattern shots would need me placing myself at all different distances to get the shot. So having the advantage of the zoom, but the wide aperture of the 85mm also.
I was certainly looking at what was around me differently, and also really looking. The pattern effect on this window certainly drew my attention.
It’s not easy teaching an old dog new tricks and it’s not easy for them to learn either. A common fault I have is becoming distracted. Saying that though, it can be a good thing. I found my focus drifted as I noticed this girl walking towards my window subject, so the focus changed to her.
I had the same issue when shooting the side windows.
My focus and also the camera’s focus changed as I couldn’t miss out on the guy lighting up.
Looking across the Road I noticed a new hotel. The last time I was here the ground was rubble from a demolished building.
I realised that my way of looking at patterns is the way my brain works. I see patterns as symmetry, especially with straight lines, as the shots above prove. There are people who instinctively see patterns in so many things. I wish I could do that, but it is not instinct, but symmetry is. I, like so many others will have to train my brain to look differently, to see patterns when there are no straight lines, or symmetry.
This shot, although made up of lines has broken with that symmetry to a degree.
These next two shots are specially for Tina. Although I don’t take many shots of Street Art, I really appreciate the skill of the artists. I also hate the idiots who having no skill at all who deface genuine skilled Graffiti with their “Tag”. Why don’t they release a song, and then they can write their signatures as much as they like in teenage girls autograph books.
See what I mean about Taggers destroying Art.
This window is on the new Ty Admiral. It is the Head Office of Admiral Insurance in Cardiff. From a distance it only looks like a pattern on the window, but as you get closer you notice it is all names. My eyes went straight to the gap. I wondered who’s names these are. Are they customers, or employees of the company, and has this person left or passed away in the short time it has been there.
I also felt, being a Cardiff boy that the names were a great symbolism of how Cardiff has changed. The missing name represents the heart of Old Cardiff that has been taken away and replaced with an emptiness that represents all the new Shopping Malls, Offices and Hotels. Not a place to live as it used to be, but somewhere that is designed to coax the money from your pocket.
So where do I go from here. Well first off a big Thank You to Grant for pushing me to open my eyes to something different. I will continue to look for patterns and to train my brain to look in different ways. I intend to look for these patterns, not to replace my Street Work that I normally do, but to compliment it and endeavour to blend it in to my Street Work.