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Author Topic: Staircase at AGO  (Read 1987 times)
tonysmith
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« on: January 25, 2010, 01:28:56 PM »
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This is a spiral staircase designed by starchitect Frank Gehry at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. I was attracted by the sweeping curves and the contrast with the more traditional architecture of the building to which this was added.

[attachment=19739:AGO.jpg]

The original colour image was full of light and blond wood. On conversion to high contrast black and white, I liked the drama that was introduced.

Comments and critiques appreciated.

Many thanks

Tony
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AFairley
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2010, 03:12:31 PM »
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I think this works very well as a B&W image, I would suspect better than color.  I partcularly like what the arch adds compositionally -- while the lines of the tops of the walls (?) and the stairs really move strongly to the back of the photo, the arch balances that with movement back to the front (as well as providing a frame) creating a richer internal dynamic.
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John R
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2010, 02:06:42 PM »
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I reviewed this image a few times. My reaction is that I find the the top arch too dark and prominent. It weighs down on the rest of the image. It includes a large painted black swath, also dark, and I find this bothersome. It carries a lot of visual weight but is not well lit, and it diminishes the wonderful lines and curves throughout the rest of the picture space. However, I like the image and would try to brighten the area a bit and perhaps crop a bit off the top arch away to reduce its prominence. But that's my opinion.

JMR
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tonysmith
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2010, 03:34:34 PM »
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Quote from: John R
I reviewed this image a few times. My reaction is that I find the the top arch too dark and prominent. It weighs down on the rest of the image. It includes a large painted black swath, also dark, and I find this bothersome. It carries a lot of visual weight but is not well lit, and it diminishes the wonderful lines and curves throughout the rest of the picture space. However, I like the image and would try to brighten the area a bit and perhaps crop a bit off the top arch away to reduce its prominence. But that's my opinion.

JMR

John:

I had made a lighter version, but decided I preferred the darker one for its drama. Do you prefer this?

[attachment=19776:AGO2.jpg]

Tony
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John R
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2010, 04:34:28 PM »
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Quote from: tonysmith
John:

I had made a lighter version, but decided I preferred the darker one for its drama. Do you prefer this?

Tony

Yes I do like it more; there is gradation of tones from light to dark without going black and I think this really makes the curves and walls appear more alive and integral to each other, and this has its own drama and flair. Of course this can still be darkened a touch, as you say, to taste. No more almost black areas, which, IMO, did not serve the overall image well. I did not realize you had a lighter version, so I thought only of minimizing the dark top arches while retaining your more dramatic look. I personally don't like messing with other people's images unless I think it is inkeeping  with the author's vision of what he or she wanted.

JMR
« Last Edit: January 26, 2010, 04:35:00 PM by John R » Logged
Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2010, 04:45:24 PM »
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I think the lighter one is washed out and lifeless. I much prefer the darker one, the forms are solid and dramatic,

and as an architectural photographer by profession, I say......very well done.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 03:17:39 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

Thanks,
Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
EduPerez
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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2010, 01:55:34 AM »
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I like both of them very much; and I like how each processing gives a different mod to the photograph.
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RobReuthal
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2010, 04:01:04 AM »
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For B&W the white must be more white and the black must be more black, the composing of the image is well done but the cut on top "razor" the bow , thats what me disturbs a little at the image . But all in all a well done capture !
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 05:33:24 AM by RobReuthal » Logged
Christoph C. Feldhaim
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2010, 06:18:13 AM »
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My first emotional reaction was  "Wow - thats a cool image"  (even without an ostrich walking by)

I prefer the darker one (pure subjectivism).

The cut arc isn't so much an issue to me - I believe the inner part which frames the scene is important, to cut the outer part doesn't hurt it for me - like a cut portrait which is also possible...

I'd agree on pushing contrast a bit and utilizing the full scale from deep black to high white, but thats a lot of subjectivism on my side as well.

I like it b/w.

I have only one real issue, and this would be a lighting one:
Below the arc you see a shadow which cuts the structure which leads into the image.
This is a lighting issue and would probably require some sophisticated controlled lighting to get rid of / smoothed.

Apart from that hard-to-fix thingy - well done - I like it!
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AFairley
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2010, 03:01:41 PM »
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I prefer the darker.
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RSL
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2010, 03:23:19 PM »
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Fairley, Afraid your rotating avatar is pretty annoying. Have you considered changing it?
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walter.sk
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2010, 03:58:54 PM »
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I prefer the darker version.  As to the range from black to white, it seems that the banister on the left is your brightest object.  I think that the subtlety of tones in the railing, and the darker forms bring out the drama, and that arbitrarily making the blacks 0,0,0 and whites 255, 255, 255 might satisfy some abstract requirement of what a B&W image should have, I think it would be overkill and drown out the depth of what you have here.  

I also think the highly graphic composition really works well.
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Justan
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2010, 04:46:34 PM »
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Both are nicely done. I like the details of the lighter one but would tweak it a little to add more detail.

BTW That is a mah-verlous stairway. I'm guessing it was added long after the building was completed? The architect and craftspeople all did themselves proud with that one.
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tonysmith
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2010, 06:15:59 PM »
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Quote from: Justan
BTW That is a mah-verlous stairway. I'm guessing it was added long after the building was completed? The architect and craftspeople all did themselves proud with that one.

The staircase is part of a very adventurous and interesting renovation to a quite traditional older building:

The renovation is described at http://www.ago.net/transformation-ago-new-building

Tony

To all : thank you for your very encouraging comments.

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