Through the Glass Ceiling

A few weeks ago at Compton Verney in Warwickshire, where I went to see a superb installation of sculptures by Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin, I happened to glance up in the building’s main foyer and saw the footprints of someone on the ceiling. Well, they weren’t actually on the ceiling, they were walking on the glass floor of the next level up, but from my point of view they appeared to be on the ceiling, if you understand me. And it was really rather surreal – you don’t often see seemingly disembodied feet walking across the ceiling._DS81054_cleancrop

Fast forward to two days ago and I was in Apple’s flagship store in Covent Garden, London (and very impressive that store is) when I glanced up and noticed another glass ceiling upon which several pairs of disembodied feet walked and stood still. I hadn’t seen feet like these in many years, if ever, and then along they come twice within a month. Strange.

_DS82097Situations like this need capturing. One has to do it with a total disregard for any one else who happens to be standing near by, and who may have paused mid-step to wonder: ‘what the heck is that man photographing?’ Or worse. And every second that I was staring ceiling-wards, camera in hand, I expected the firm hand of security to tap me on the shoulder and escort me out of the building. But it didn’t happen. I stared, and I shot, and I left the building without a second glance. It can be difficult to shoot in situations like this: no-one likes being thought stupid, or risking invading someone’s privacy, or falling foul of regulations, or being marched off by security. But sometimes we just have to be bold and accept the risk: nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The first image in this post is from Compton Verney – the colours are warm and soft. In contrast, those taken in London were more industrial. Cold, contrasty, lacking colour – The type of image that I thought would look good in B&W. But I have mixed feelings about the conversions.

_DS82097_BWThe only one that I think works in B&W is the last one in the gallery below – bizarrely it’s the one that happens to have the most overall original colour, or perhaps I should call that tint. Removing the colour in my opinion does create a more powerful image in that instance. But in the case of the other two, my feeling is that by removing the colour, the image loses an added dimension. Colour is important to their impact. What do you think?

This is a point that I am sure we won’t all agree on, but I would love to hear your opinion, so do please comment. All three of the London shots are shown below – in colour and then in B&W for comparison.

One last point: a very warm welcome to a considerable number of new subscribers/readers of this blog who have discovered me as a result of my recent post ‘Hello’ being featured by WordPress in ‘Around the World in Nine Photos’. I hope you will enjoy what you see and read here, and do please click the ‘Like’ button, or better still join in the conversation by making a comment.


About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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30 Responses to Through the Glass Ceiling

  1. Those images have a surreal feeling to them. It’s really a fun and different point of view. Well seen and captured. As for colour or black and white, I agree with you. Even the one you prefer the black and white version of, I find the colour stronger. I just like the faded and cool colours.

    • LensScaper says:

      Many thanks Otto. There’s always a good reason to look up! Despite being at heart a B&W enthusiast and spending years inhaling fixer fumes, it still surprises me that it can be difficult to judge how well an image will work in B&W. Some turn out better than expected, and some take something away from the colour image that is important.

  2. Adrian Lewis says:

    Andy, these are very good – I agree with Otto, there’s certainly a surreal element here. Adrian

  3. suej says:

    Add me to the surreal agreement! I like your third from last BW image, and if it were me, I might have dodged the bodies a bit to make them seem even more disconnected from the feet…. But great capture, all the same 🙂

  4. oneowner says:

    I particularly like the muted color versions in these cases, Andy. The fading colors are very attractive to my eyes.

  5. It’s no secret that I’m fond of b&w images. However, I like your color versions of these shots: I think the diffused color adds a certain depth to the images that makes them stronger. Also – I really like the first image. The colors and the composition work nicely together.

  6. See what happens when you actually “look” around you or above you??? You come away with inspiring and creative images. Excellent Andy. I agree I think the B&W works really well. It gives it a bit more of an ominous & mysterious feeling.

  7. shoreacres says:

    It amuses me no end that your previous post was of St. Paul’s – dedicated to a fellow who spent a bit of his own time pondering what it meant to “seeing in a glass darkly.” I wonder what he’d think of seeing through a glass ceiling? Maybe he’d have an overwhelming urge to see the subjects face to face.

    They’re unusual images, to say the least. They remind me of the song, “Walking on Sunshine.” When I went back to look at the Katrina and the Waves” video, I really was intrigued. The visual force of the video comes from the juxtaposition of black & white and vibrant, expressive color. Not only that, it was shot in London!

  8. Robyn G says:

    I really liked these when I first saw them. I think youre so right about not seeing this very often.
    I also love your thoughts and your descriptions of how you felt when shooting. These things ran through my thoughts straight away when I saw these images.
    Mono is always a fave of mine and I too like the last one very much.
    I have to say though, in these instances, the colour is my preference… it describes the ambience. Fabulous!!

  9. Emma14 says:

    Those are amazing photos! I know someone already said this, but they are so surreal, the way the soles of the shoes are in sharp focus and then the rest of the body starts to fade away. I can’t help thinking of a ghost or poltergeist. I’ve never seen a glass ceiling either, so thanks for sharing these, what a cool idea!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks so much Emma. As you so rightly say, it’s not just about the shoes but about the ghostly figures beyond. You never know where the next image will come from.

  10. Meanderer says:

    I love these! I especially like the colour versions with those wonderful soft pastel hues. I like the combination of what reminds me of a spray paint effect for the bodies, which contrasts with the very strong footprints. Really fab, Andy – and totally surreal. (Going to have to find some glass ceilings!).

  11. Len says:

    What an interesting subject Andy. I must say that I have never seen anything remotely like this. Very cool shots.

  12. Chillbrook says:

    These are really interesting images Andy. Out in the landscape I don’t often think of looking up. I’m glad you thought of it here! 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Adrian. You make a very relevant point actually – many of us who work primarily in the great outdoors are not used to looking above us. Moving around London as I do quite often, I have got used to looking up.

  13. drawandshoot says:

    I think these are extraordinary and I love the subtle colour ones. Absolutely worth stopping for!

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