November 29th 2011 by Andrew S Gibson
Strange as it may seem, up until last week I hadn’t considered taking any photos of the buildings in Shanghai. I’ve already taken my ‘must-do’ shots – the obligatory photos of the ‘forest’ of skyscrapers (taken from my apartment balcony) and the view of the Pudong skyline from the Bund (both images below). But that was just to get them out of my system; and concentrate on the ‘serious’ business of creating some more original images.
But then I came across this set of images by Joel Tjintjelaar and changed my mind. It inspired me to go out and take some similar photos of the skyscrapers of Shanghai. Initially I wanted to try some long exposures, but the brilliant sunshine and lack of cloud meant that wasn’t practical. But it’s something I’ll try when the weather is more suitable.
You’ll notice that I cropped the images to a square. I’ve been using the square format more and more since I arrived in China, especially for black and white images. I think of it as the fine art photographer’s format. In this case, the square format suited the geometric shapes and sharp lines of the buildings.
Take a look at the two images below to see what I mean. The first is uncropped, but you could argue that there is too much empty sky. Cropping to a square eliminates some of the negative space and focuses attention on the buildings. Actually, I like both images; but it’s interesting how the crop completely changes the dynamic of the image.
Did you know that Shanghai has more skyscrapers than any other city in the world? According to a program I saw on television the other week anyway. Here are some of them:
Skyscrapers of Shanghai
These photos show the Monument to the People’s Heroes on the Bund. Not exactly a skyscraper, but still a worthy subject.
If you want to learn more about the square format, then my ebook Square is the place to start. Click on the link to learn more.