Go with the Flow

I read the following post by Stephen G Hipperson yesterday Artist at Work

It reminded me of a similar experience I had while out shooting with some friends. It was a gorgeous day and we were happily snapping away on the Ring, one of the main roads in Vienna and the home to many of its most stunning buildings. We wandered into the Volksgarten, a rose filled oasis located between the imposing Burgtheater and the Hofburg.

In this garden there is this lovely little building:

This is the Theseus Temple, built in the early 19th Century to house the sculpture “Theseus and the Minotaur” by Canova. The statue was moved to the Kunsthistorische Museum at the end of the 19th century and the space is now used for exhibitions. The building has recently been renovated and looks newborn in its Palladian perfection.

As I left our group to head home I wanted to shoot a picture of an artificial tree that was filling the exhibition space. The gallery had been so full of visitors that it was impossible to get a clear shot. But now there was only one man. I lined the shot up, then waited, and waited, and waited. He was clearly taken with the exhibit, or was just happy to be in and out of the sun; whatever, he would not shift. Another large group of tourists was about to arrive so I took the shot with what I thought was the lesser of two evils, one man as opposed to many, mixed bodies.

When I then downloaded the pictures I realized that the shot was probably much better for having this man in it. Without him it would have been a bit boring. He looks a little bemused by this slightly gloomy tree in a brilliant white piece of classical architecture, and that is more enchanting than the tree itself.

I know that I have an obsession with symmetry in my photography, and that this sometimes results in lovely, structured pictures, and sometimes in a dull and obsessively regular ones. I learned a lesson from the man in the cap, messy shots may actually be better shots and classical purity can be beautiful, but a little cold.

Categories: Vienna

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2 replies »

  1. Nice one! People can be such a pain, but then again they can move a picture from one level up a notch by introducing humanity/life (or some other profound quality) into a scene which would otherwise be the same tomorrow as it is today and was yesterday.

  2. Thanks. It’s a control thing I think. People move around and are unpredictable, so we would rather they stayed out of the frame. But as you say, they can often make a shot so much better.

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