New Eyes

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.

Patterns of Cardiff
Patterns of Cardiff

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!

Parallel Lines of Cardiff
Parallel Lines of Cardiff

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.

Long Checkered Window
Long Checkered Window

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.

Reflecting Red
Reflecting Red

I had the same issue when shooting the side windows.

Chequered Window
Chequered Window

My focus and also the camera’s focus changed as I couldn’t miss out on the guy lighting up.

Lighting Up
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.

The Hotel
The Hotel

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.

The Pipes
The Pipes
The Uprights
The Uprights
The Window
The Window

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.

Marland House, Cardiff
Marland House, Cardiff

See what I mean about Taggers destroying Art.

Love Your Master
Love Your Master

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.

The Missing Name
The Missing Name

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.

6 thoughts on “New Eyes

  1. Interesting thinking about a different style of photography. The monthly challenge is a way to open our eyes to different kind of subjects, and it also gives me the occasion to see things I would not have notice otherwise.
    I loved your “reflecting girl” on flickr and I still love it, but I discover your “lighting up” here. Excellent shot, the blurry pattern emphasises the man.

    I agree with you about tags, what a pity ! Tina will love your walls. Are they in Cardiff ?

    • Thank you Esther. I’m glad you like the “Reflecting Red”. Although most of the shots are patterns, working them into the shots with people as in the two shots above I think is the way I wish to go.

      All of the shots are in Cardiff. All within a few minutes walk of each other. Cardiff Centre is not a big place compared to other Capital Cities.

  2. I do really like the pictures of the street art but I agree with you about the tagging. Tagging is graffiti plain and simple. Street art is usually commissioned by the property owner. I don’t know if you remember a shot I took a few weeks ago of a mural of a woman but both s ides of her profile. I think I posted it on Flickr. Anyway, I walked by there last week and somebody put some kind of tag over the woman’s face.

    I like your shots of patterns and they have nice symmetry as well. It is really difficult to see things in a way you don’t normally see things but you were able to find interesting things to photograph.

    • I haven’t been on these streets for a long while, and by that I mean years. You don’t see many people there. Where the hotel is, it must be more than 5 years since I have been there so it was like visiting somewhere new.

  3. MisterGC

    What a nice selection of ‘different’ shots. Different as in, to what you normally take. That hotel is impressive and so is your shot. Very eye catching. The mixing of patterns and people is always a nice combination…it just gives us more to look at and think about.

    Pity you get the odd idiot spraying over great street art like the ones in your post, why can’t they just stick to tagging the ‘pissy subways’ ;0)

    Only one thing to complain about in this post Wayne…..you’ve got to ask about all those names on the window. You can’t just leave us hanging like that, I’m dying to know the ‘who, why and where’ about it all. To be honest I would have probably walked past that just thinking it was some sort of design to stop people staring at the workers inside.

    Well I’m glad the ‘patterns’ subject opened another road of thought for you when you’re out and about. As you said, that’s what the monthly challenge is supposed to do and so far I’m enjoying it and seeing the images from all the other group members. It’s just a good feeling knowing that there are some people dotted around the world all looking to capture 5 images each month on the same subject.

  4. Grant you put a great theme to challenge us, then it was up to us to interpret that and use it the way we wanted. All of us worked it in different ways, and although it made us all think, I think it had the biggest effect on me, and these are the results.

    I’m sorry that I have left you high and dry with the names. I will endeavour to find out who’s they are.

    Depending on future challenges, there may be more posts to come emanating from it.

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