Posts Tagged ‘black and white’

Silhouettes, lookouts, and a few regular photos to boot

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Since I arrived in Lyon a couple of months ago, I have picked up my old “Place in Silhouette” project that I began a few years ago while I was in a drawing class at Sarah Lawrence College. (You can see the two compositions I made at SLC here and here as well as the one I did in Hobart, Tasmania.) The idea of the project is to create a landscape of a place by (photographically) capturing its relevant or recurring (or just plain interesting) shapes, making silhouettes of those shapes (in a very low-tech laborious fashion in Photoshop – using none other than the “Legacy” Brightness/Contrast tool), and then compositing those shapes together to create a landscape that is abstract but hopefully still captures some essence of the original place.

So, I have been spending some time walking around Lyon on my own trying to gather as many shapes as I can before I have to leave. One part of the city that I have decided to possibly feature is the Fourvière Lookout. On the North side of the Basilica at the top of Fourvière Hill, there is a large lookout area that provides one of the best sweeping views of Lyon. Everyone who visits the Cathedral invariably makes their way outside to look down and usually take a few photos of the city below. (I would love to do a study of how many pictures are taken from that spot over the course of a single day, and I would love even more to somehow gather everyone’s digital images – perhaps over the course of a week – and composite them together to create an extremely detailed panorama of the city… Maybe someday, when wireless camera/computer communication is a bit easier and more ubiquitous.)

Ever since my “Art, Natural Environment and Technology” course at the University Tasmania, I have had a fascination with that sort of ‘scenic overlook’. I might also call such spots ‘visual sinkholes’. I don’t necessarily mean to convey scorn with that term; I just find it interesting how fascinated people are by wide views from high vantage points. Perhaps it is just because that scene is rare in our visual lives, or maybe it is something more intricately primal or psychological. In any case, I enjoy watching the mobs of people lean over the stone barrier. I wonder how much they are really in awe of the view, and how much they are just doing what people are expected to do and looking at what people are supposed to want to look at. (I also wonder how much time people will actually spend looking at the wide angle photo they take from that vantage point. My guess is that it will be forgotten fairly quickly…) I don’t mean to sound like a visual elitist, pitying the poor masses. I just cannot shake the feeling that a lot of inner dialogues at that spot are somewhere along the lines of, “Hmm… Pretty. Oh, there is that thing we saw. We really are high up… How long should we stand here?”

Well, somewhere in the midst of my self-satisfied chuckling, I noticed that the silhouette of such groups of people at the lookout could be compelling, so I decided to start capturing people (sneakily and stealthily, and hopefully not too creepily) as they gazed on. I’ve made it back to do so three times in the last week so far, and I’m excited about the potential.

Group silhouette at Fourviere Lookout (Nov 1, 2010)

Group silhouette at Fourviere Lookout captured on November 1, 2010.

While I have been scouring Lyon for shapes and repeatedly walking up and down Fourvière Hill (or funicularing up and down when I am lazy in a hurry), I have taken a few general photos as well. Visiting the lookout so often is a good excuse to regularly duck into the Basilica (which continues to my photographic nemesis) and stop by other nearby spots as well, such as the Cimetière de Loyasse. There is no shortage of photographic material in Lyon!

Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France between October 29 and November 1, 2010.

A monochrome walk to the park

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Catie and I are trying to restructure our schedules to do more of our work in the evening so that we have more time during the day to go out and enjoy Lyon. (I can put my weather-related Minnesotan pride aside for a minute and admit that the nights are getting a little cold for casually strolling about the city.) As part of that effort (and to celebrate the start of the weekend and the end of Catie’s second month of French classes, as well as to make the most of a strikingly warm day) Catie and I decided to walk up to Parc de la Tête d’Or again.

Catie brought her Kindle and I brought my camera, armed this time with just my trusty old 70-200mm lens. I felt pretty photographically frustrated from the get-go, I’m not sure whether from the fact that I hadn’t used that “trusty old” lens (or any zoom lens) in quite a while or just because I was in a creative funk. To try and give myself a positive spark, I decided to spend the day shooting in black and white. I like approaching the world in monochrome. It always seems to result in a different style of images, and it lets me focus on what is certainly the most important aspect of photography – the light.

So, I consider this group of images to be an experiment (and perhaps the sequel to my day photographing workers across the world in Bangladesh). I tried to experiment with my post-processing a bit as well, sticking with the original out-of-camera black and white JPG’s as much as possible. Maybe that’s why I was able to get them imported, selected, processed, and posted in less than 24 hours!

Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France on October 29, 2010.

What to do on 10/10/10?

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

A few days ago, the date was October 10, 2010, otherwise known as 10/10/10. Some people may have thought this was cool, and others may have not cared or noticed. It meant something to me because 10 has been ‘my’ number for a long time. (I guess you could just call it my ‘favorite number’, although I think it has had a bit of a larger role in my life than that phrase might normally suggest.) I felt like I should do something dramatically impressive or fantastic (or at least something repeated ten times) to match the unique coming of this date in my lifetime. That thought was rather self-defeating however, as it put way too much pressure on me and I froze up and simply took an extra hour’s nap in the morning – during which the climactic time of 10:10 AM and 10 seconds unfortunately rolled on by… Woops.

The day was not lost though. In fact, Catie and I met up with some other Alliance Française students in Place Bellecour, and then we all headed up to Parc de la Tête d’Or, which is easily one of the most beautiful destinations in Lyon. I had a great time wandering about the park and taking photos of the first Autumn I’ve seen in two years. Upon looking at our GPS routes of this and our previous visit to the park, I was amazed to find that we still have only seen a very small portion of what it has to offer! Perhaps another tour is in the cards for us this weekend, while it is still relatively hot and there are more orange, yellow, and red leaves than green.

Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France on October 10, 2010.

Walking in French shoes

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Our time in Lyon is going by far too quickly… I think Catie and I are both feeling like there are just not enough hours in the day (nor in the night, I would add). Catie is gulping down French lessons and vocabulary flashcards and pages of Harry Potter (en français, naturellement!) by the bucketful, and I am trying to make serious progress on various programming projects (iPhone apps mostly, at the moment) as well as commit myself to start a few other art projects, and we are both trying to maintain some semblance of a well-kept blog. The problem is, there are just so many things to see and so many foods to eat and so many people to get to know better here in Lyon! I suppose this problem of having too many exciting things to do might be an indication of a fairly good life at present, but it’s proving a bit frustrating and stressful all the same. In any case, Catie and I are putting our feet to good use and walking as much of this great city as we can – recently armed with new French shoes (boots, in Catie’s case)!

Lyon, France (Sep 18, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 25, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 25, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 25, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 25, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 25, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 25, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 25, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 25, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 25, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 25, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 26, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France between September 18-26, 2010.

From Bangladesh to France

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Through some series of strange events, instead of going back to Bangladesh for a another full year as planned, Catie and I have ended up living in Lyon, France for the next three months. Rather than try to explain this drastic change in our locale, I am just going to push forward and say that while I am very sad to not be returning to South Asia, France is unsurprisingly beautiful and so far I am loving it here. Catie and I have been to France before, but this is our first time in Lyon.

Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)
Lyon, France (Sep 4, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France on September 4, 2010.