Windows And Lamp In Salzburg, Austria
Salzburg is a very old and beautiful city. With lovely architecture, parks and historic sites there’s plenty to keep the enthusiastic photographer happily photographing and exploring. And that’s even before you consider a Sound Of Music tour.
Exploring The Backstreets Of Salzburg
The above image was made on a long walk through the city’s backstreets and cobbled laneways. It was an overcast morning and raining but, with my time in Salzburg almost at an end, I felt the need to get out and about.
I wanted to emphasize the size of the wall and the space between the windows so I set my lens to its widest angle (i.e., 24 mm 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 (28 mm) 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, through mid tones and into near white in the window panes.
More Than Just A Nice Composition
Actually windows can be very symbolic and are often linked to dreams. This is particularly the case with a closed window, especially one that seems to radiate a kind of glow or reflects clouds.
How about a different example? Think of an image of a window made from within a prison cell or sweat shop. That kind of photo is likely to suggest notions of freedom unattained.
Compare that to an image of a wealthy aristocrat overlooking their domain through an open window. 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.
We Derive Meaning Through Images
Whether we’re talking about a window into our dreams, onto a world of possibilities or a physical barrier keeping one detained is the point here. It’s just a window, but the meaning we associate with that window is what’s important. And it’s the photographer who provides the visual clues that often determine how their audience will read and understand a particular photo.
Ways Of Seeing
While this image was made, primarily, as a way of exploring composition the history of art, religion and power, all interrelated, is never far away. As is an exploration of the Human Condition.
The 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 remember a wonderful little book, from my earliest days as a photography student, by John Berger titled Ways Of Seeing. It was the companion book for a BBC TV series, which you can find on YouTube. I highly recommend you take a look at it.