Capturing the Spirit of Urban Spaces

 
Urban structures are fascinating subjects that can be an excellent study in form and geometry. Photograph/Sushant Verma.

Urban structures are fascinating subjects that can be an excellent study in form and geometry. Photograph/Sushant Verma.

Human beings live and flourish in towns and cities. These urban spaces are the hub of economic and social activity. And so, it is only natural that each of these spaces have their own distinct flavour.  Learn how to identify and capture the effervescent spirit of these concrete areas.

In and Around Your Society
Carry your camera and move around your own neighbourhood. If required, take 2–3 trips—early in the morning, towards dusk and at night. This will help you understand how the feel of a place changes depending on the time of day. Do not be in a hurry… good pictures often need patience and when you spend more time walking around a particular place, you will gradually notice more photo opportunities. For instance, a rusted gate can make a great close-up. Alternatively, you can point your camera at sunlight filtering through trees, or even at a broken window pane.

Opportunities Inside your Home
In the rigmarole of city life, if you find yourself unable to travel anywhere beyond office and home, do not worry. Even the cramped, box-like homes of modern-day cities can be interesting places to shoot. Observe the tiny elements—a doorknob or a nameplate. Alternatively, you can capture arty pictures of the ceiling fan, the curtain. Finally, you can make great pictures of places in your house that are rarely used. It could be the attic, a store room or a shed or garage.

Relatively unexplored places inside your house can offer interesting photo opportunities too. Photograph/Sarat Ch Das.

Relatively unexplored places inside your house can offer interesting photo opportunities too. Photograph/Sarat Ch Das.

Capturing the Concrete Jungle
We often complain that city structures look ugly, with buildings mushrooming from absolutely everywhere. However, if captured in the right manner, this concrete jungle can also look fascinating. For example, an easy way to capture stark imagery is to visit a construction site. Abandoned buildings can be interesting too, as they often have a lot of stories that lie within. Also, every city has a few vantage points and tall buildings from where you can capture a view of the entire city. Climb to these locations around dusk, and shoot a long exposure as the city lights switch on. You will be surprised to see how beautiful the concrete can look.

This article originally appeared in the August 2012 issue of Better Photography.

 

Tags: window, glass, rust, flavour, urban, spirit, city, town, concrete, jungle, gate, abandoned, doorknob, nameplate, graffiti, broken, stark, construction site