Not many of us, myself included, have read Utopia by Sir Thomas Moore but it is essentially a fictional parody of a Utopian society, and a critical examination of Europe. An art student from NUCA used this concept to juxtapose the reflection of Norwich to a Utopian society, sort of like the film Metropolis, and I’m a big fan of the use of literature in art so when I saw this amazing building in the summer I knew I had to photograph it.
I waited for month until the weather was just right, I knew I wanted to make use of Norwich’s misty conditions that often arise at this time of year as a way of drawing the attention to the words of the building. It just so happened that the mist wasn’t as thick as I’d hoped so I had to change my game plan a bit and decided to do what I had promised not to do, focus on just the words. I wanted to express the building as a complete art form, without just taking candid shots of the painted words, so it was tough to focus on such specifics without losing the power of the art.
I initially shot the building face on, hoping it would fade into the mist, much like some of my other photos from back home in Bristol, but that photo looked bland. So using the stairs and a 35mm prime I decided to focus on a defining word, ‘Utopian’. This was shot at 1/250, f2 and iso 200 to keep noise down to a minimum, then the levels where tweaked in Photoshop to draw out the contrast. Ideally it would have been good to photograph it with a 24mm PC-E to get a tilt and shift effect – I’m no fan of crudely adding that in PS afterwards.
Next I moved back around the building to show the scale of the it and the art, the vertical shot was set at 1/100, f10 and iso640 to keep the depth of filed as large as possible, whilst still hand-holding the camera. I was also drawn to the amazing colours of the surrounding foliage and thought it nicely fitted with the idea of juxtaposition so I nestled myself in for the last photograph and shot it wide at 11.5mm at 1/100, f6.3 and iso640 again. I then corrected the distortion in photoshop and straightened out the building, again a PC-E lens would have helped no end!
Thanks for looking