Friday, 29 May 2015

Maybe monochrome

I've been working this evening on black and white versions of my photographs from last weekend. I've been a bit ambivalent about this - I think that the colours of old Belfast buildings have a certain charm and blend together in a pleasing palette of warm stone and brick colours, with some excellent splashes of bright yellow.

But I think black and white might work too. It strips the images down to lines and textures, light and shade. You can see some patterns more clearly. Some elements become more abstract. The impression is at once older and more modern. I'll keep editing and see what happens.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Keep looking upwards

I keep looking upwards as I walk round the city. Possibly to the extent that I have become a danger to passers-by. But once you start looking, you just see more and more excellent details... (Do check out my first Look Upwards too if you like these.)

The most whimsical of all - the pretty copper ship at Bradbury Buildings.

This view is probably much the same as it was in the 1930s, when the Art Deco Bank of Ireland building was completed.

My favourite Belfast roof story. This was supposed to be a super-discreet Orange hall, its purpose signalled only by a solitary carved stone lily. But oops! Someone accidentally installed a 15-foot bronze statue of King Billy on his horse and totally ruined the whole discretion thing.

The work of Thomas Fitzpatrick on the roof of the Ulster Bank in Waring Street

They were confident the business was going to last...

I love this view down Clarence Street, with the Gothic St Malachy's appearing completely unexpectedly at the end.

Turn of the century punctuation is always impressive, even in iron and stonework. How pleasing.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Belfast in detail

My eyesight is unhelpfully idiosyncratic - I'm quite shortsighted in one eye and quite longsighted in the other. By and large, the two eyes compensate for each other, but overall the equation balances out at shortsighted. It's too awkward a combination to wear varifocals, and I hate taking glasses on and off all day. So often I just don't see stuff. Much of life, in fact, looks better slightly out of focus.

But with a 100mm camera lens, I see things I never knew were there. The last couple of weekends I've been trailing that lens round my beloved home city, as you may have seen (check out Look upwards and The guardians). I've found a lot of metaphorical and literal angels in the architecture. What seemed like quite dour Victorian edifices are often decorated with bold and intricate stone carvings, elegant lettering and entirely whimsical details when you see them up close. 

Some of these details have stood up well to time and pollution. Some are well into the process of decay, but none the less beautiful for that. All lift the spirits. Every detail matters.

The Jaffe Fountain, Victoria Square

Imperial Buildings, High Street

The Scottish Provident building, Donegall Square West

The Crown Bar, Great Victoria Street

St Anne's Cathedral, Donegall Street

Central Library, Royal Avenue

The Garfield Bar, Lower Garfield Street

St Anne's Cathedral

Drainpipe, Donegall Square East

The Robinson & Cleaver building and the old Richardson Sons & Owden Linen Warehouse, now Marks and Spencer's, on Donegall Square North

Convent of Mercy School, Sussex Place

Gallagher's advertisement, Clifton Street

Imperial Buildings, High Street

Ampersand on the Marks and Spencer's building