Travel Photography: Play of Shapes explained with 6 examples!

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This month started with what was one the most amazing travel experiences I have ever had…and my destinations were some of the finest cities in Europe.

Barcelona, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Potsdam, Cologne.

They have some of the most stunning palaces, museums and cathedrals. Be it the astounding architectures or their impressive history, all the tourist attractions in all these cities are absolutely enriching – in every sense of the word- intellectually, emotionally and, spiritually. But then, all this was already anticipated, more or less. These larger than life attractions offered to me some absolutely precious and unexpected things  to bring back with me as a human being, but as a photographer, I found my surprise treasure trove in the streets and in the contemporary life of Europe!

Over the time, I have realized that composing is the part that I enjoy the most during the whole process of photography and it delights me to the core when I am able to discover and depict something extra-ordinary through seemingly ordinary things.

While in Europe, after every 5 minutes of travel there was an interesting frame and at every turning point there was some untold story. There were lots of compositions lying everywhere, full of textures, and, with layers of meanings.

Indeed, if you can pursue at your own pace, Europe is a heaven for street photography!!!

This post is the first one of the special five part series about some of my street photography during my visit to Europe. Basically, I will be sharing some of my images and my idea behind their conceptualization.

As the title of this post suggests- this part is all about the play of shapes! I simply enjoy creating graphic photographs. And shapes… well, I love them!

Power of squares!


I captured this photograph in Barcelona. I saw this multi-storied building from a distance, and what caught my attention instantly, was this giant square clock spanning its two stories. What was remarkable was the co-ordination between shape of the windows and the clock and the overall geometrical nature of the whole elevation.

Windows were square- with rectangle glass panes  in each of them, then some more rectangles were on the wall itself, the figures and needles of the clock adding some even more…But still, one shape was visible the most – The Square. I kept these two lamp-posts in the frame, to communicate the sense of scale of the building and to tell the viewer that well, it was a building!

Diamonds beneath the pyramid!


My favorite part of this image is the two gentlemen standing at the middle of the railing. To my luck, they were standing there, so I could place them nicely at the exact centre of the lower third of the frame and let the Pyramid glass roof grow above them emphasizing its giant scale! Not only that, they were also in the middle of the symbol marked outside the pyramid.

I simply love the way the diamond-like portions of the glass frame weave this beautiful and seamless pattern against the open blue sky above them. This one is undoubtedly my most favorite image of my visit to the Louvre!

The Disney tiles!


I noticed these brick tiles at the entrance of the Disneyland, Paris. These cute hexagonal shaped tiles bear on them small Disney symbols as well as the names of the families who bought them for themselves to be installed there(presumably)forever . To me what makes this composition interesting is that one empty (unsold) tile at the bottom third of the frame!

Tell me how many lines and shapes are there in total!


Another clock, but here I used it as a frame, to picture a tiny but beautiful part of the skyline of Paris, including the famous Basilica situated on hill- The sacre coeur. This huge clock is installed on the building of Musée d’Orsay, Paris. The moment I saw this clock from inside the building, I thought- “Frame within the frame !”.

And shapes- there were plenty! The roman figures of the clock, the arches, the concentric semi-circles, the radii, the triangles originating from the center of the clock, the tiny hexagons and circles at the circumference, this image is strongly a geometrical one and a visual delight therefore…

 The shapes say it all!


This one is from the Holocaust memorial, Berlin, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. I composed this frame sitting in a moving tourist bus, so, could not wait for the man with woolen cap to turn his back too, otherwise this image would have looked several notches better.

However, I managed to place the group at the right spot in the frame with nothing but the horizontal patterns of concrete slabs surrounding them. The fact that most of the people have turned their backs provides the required sentiment and poise for the location. And of course, the shapes of the slabs lend an intriguing visual texture to the image.

Shapes of Grey, Beige and White!


I saw this contemporary architecture in Potsdam which is famous otherwise- for its historical architectures of various European styles. What caught my attention was the minimalist yet interesting use of colors. They made the elevation appealing just by the use of shapes! I decided to keep the illusive beige diagonals at the center of the frame as they divided the white and beige parts of the facade. This composition once again reassured to me that simplest of objects can be used to create interesting compositions if looked at in an innovative manner…

In Part-2 I will share some of my techniques on how to create suggestive frames…

Images & Article ©2013 Gyaneshwari Dave

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