Emerging Themes

Often when I go out to photograph a location, a theme will emerge, subconsciously. It doesn't always happen, but in places where I'm exploring a larger area, particularly over an extended period of time (days instead of hours), I find that I'm making photographs connected by more than simply a similar subject. This week in Boston, my old nemesis from high school reared its head as the emerging theme: geometry.

When I say geometry was the theme, thankfully, I'm not referring to having to find the circumference of a circle, or the area of a triangle (please don't ask me to!). I just talking about the prevalence of shapes and how they seem to command attention in the compositions I came up with. The Boston Skyline Panorama that I led this blog off with is an easy example. There are of course a lot of rectangles, a cylinder or two, and a few arches, all of which repeat across the frame. That repetition becomes pleasing to the eye, especially when those shapes contrast with organic shapes such as the clouds, the trees, and the Charles River.

By the time I took the second image above, Boston Geometry II (sorry, my creativity does not extend to titles for my work!), I had seen the geometry theme beginning to emerge in my images, and here I decided to embrace it. Standing on Newbury Street in Boston, looking back towards the Hancock Tower, I saw four buildings stacked up in my line of sight, each representing a different type of architecture. Using a telephoto lens to compress the perspective, I wanted to highlight the shapes and fill the frame with them.

Finally, I made my way to Paul Revere Park for sunset on the second day of photographing the city. From the park you can see the TD Garden and an up close view of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge. The last time I photographed from this spot was in 2009, and the scene is in process of gaining a few skyscrapers behind the garden. The Garden & The Bridge is an update of my previous shot. The Zakim Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge with two large triangles formed by the cables and the towers, so the geometry here is fairly obvious. The TD Garden is a small rectangle with a slight arc for a roof, and then the rising skyscrapers in the background form several rectangles and squares. It's hard not to see shapes fitting together like a child's building blocks (do they still have those?). Again, the clouds created a beautiful soft, organic shape to contrast with the hard geometry, and the soft reflections in the Charles River also made for a nice contrast.

It was a very productive couple of days in Boston for me. Boston will always have a place in my heart as a photographer, as some of my most popular images have been made there, but it had been some time since I really explored the city. Last week was a much needed update. You can see more of my Boston work in my Massachusetts gallery.