Windows and Lamp, Bruges, Belgium
My favourite city in Europe, to date, is Bruges. Located in the north of Belgium, the Flemish region of the country where the dominant language is Dutch. The old city is beautiful, small and full of history. I plan to return just as soon as I can.
This is a well to do and extremely safe city and you should be able to wander around well after dark without too many concerns. Although of course standard street sense is always advisable, particularly for girls. In my case, wandering around and photographing till around 2am, the only potential problems came through interacting with local party-goers on their way home. But they were fine and really interested in what I was doing. They wanted me to make their photo and my main challenge was getting them to keep their trousers on.
The above image was made on a long walk through the city's backstreets and cobbled lane ways. It was an overcast morning and raining. I wanted to emphasise the size of the wall and the space between the windows so I set my lens to its widest angle (24mm on my full-frame camera) and composed the image with the lamp in the lower centre of the frame. I then zoomed in a little closer (28mm) until I got a good arrangement of windows (open, closed and somewhere in-between) in the background. I like the variation in tone ranging from black, mid tones and near white in the windows.
Actually windows can be very symbolic and are often linked to dreams. This is particularly the case with a closed window, especially one that emits or seems to radiate a kind of glow. How about a different example? Think of an image of a window made from within a prison cell or sweat shop. Compare it to an image of a wealthy aristocrat overlooking their domain. How about a royal wedding or an address by the pope where the powerful, special or anointed one walks up to a window, or through a door onto a balcony, to address the faithful from above? That's a strong metaphor that's all about power and obedience.
So, while this image is really just a design image, the history of art, religion and power, all interrelated, is never far away. And that fact that advertisers and film makers alike have referenced these motifs in their own work means there's likely to be a sense of recognition and connection with just about any viewer. Sometimes its that connection, working at a subconscious level, that attracts our attention.
I opted for a black and white rendering of the image and added subtle tinges of cyan/blue, olive green and orange through the image to both enhance mood and help direct the eye from one important area of the frame to another.
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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru