Obviously set with St Paul’s Cathedral in the background, I felt this was a powerful image in the series and one I had been contemplating and hoping would materialise in the form of a photograph, ever since I had come up with the idea of turning a space into a place in this manner.
I had observed many caramelised peanut sellers located on or around different London bridges, particularly the Millennium Bridge as I had been photographing different landscapes in London. I had also often noticed how still they were standing as they waited for prospective customers (mainly tourists) coming over bridges like the Millennium Bridge. Because of these facts, when I came up with this theme for Assignment 3 – ‘Spaces to Places’, I recognised quite soon this would be a strong contribution to the theme; provided I could get the shot.
Here is some information about the Millennium Bridge, upon which I took the photograph. ‘Opposite Tate Modern, the new Millennium Bridge – a footbridge designed by Norman Foster with the sculptor Anthony Caro and engineered by Ove Arup – arcs gracefully over the river [Thames] to St Paul’s’ – (Godfrey-Faussett, 2001). I chose the angle looking towards St Paul’s (designed in 1675 by Sir Christopher Wren) from the Millennium Bridge, mainly because it was more iconic in my eyes, than the Tate Modern.
The very modern aesthetics of the Millennium Bridge contrasts with the old, iconic building of St Paul’s; yet at the same time, the bridge leads the viewer’s eye towards the cathedral neatly and then back to the caramelised peanut seller in the corner (where the bridge ends within the frame). Again, similar to Photograph 1 for this assignment, the worker (the peanut seller) remains still; patiently waiting for customers while the other people in the form of ghostly, long exposure figures, stream by. Due to his placement in the corner of the frame, it almost appears as though he is looking in the wrong direction for customers, which I felt added a bit of humour to the photograph (of course there were many other potential customers in the other direction too). Also his dark clothing, compared to the medium tones of the tourists rushing by and then finally the much lighter St Paul’s (incidentally catching the Sun’s light) in the distance, showed his stationary, solid form yet temporary position on the bridge, in comparison to the moving tourists. In fact, the tourists almost acted as a link in between St Paul’s and the seller.
The Millennium Bridge was originally dubbed the “Wobbly Bridge” – ‘when it opened in the summer of 2000 its experimental design caused an alarming wobble’- (Godfrey-Faussett, 2001). I found it hadn’t been fully corrected. As I was attempting to take the long exposure shots for the flow of people, I noticed the long exposures were quite shaky; despite me using a sturdy tripod and a cable release. This, I deduced, was because the bridge was moving slightly. I had to be careful which parts of the long exposure I ‘painted in’ on a layer mask for the long exposure layer in post processing. This was in order to ensure that everything apart from the flow of people (and to a lesser degree the clouds), appeared sharp.
Camera settings for Photograph 2 were:
Because I took multiple exposures and combined them (one for the caramelised peanut seller and a handful for the long exposures of the tourists passing by), I have written down the settings separately for firstly the photograph to ‘freeze’ the caramelised peanut seller and then a setting representative for one of the long exposures.
Caramelised peanut seller exposure:
f/8, 1/250s, ISO 100, focal length 35mm and no neutral density filter. A tripod and cable release were used.
f/11, 16 seconds, ISO 160, focal length 35mm and a 10 stop neutral density filter. A tripod and cable release were used.