Glass and Water

On my most recent trip to London I spent some time out in the Docklands area of London – an area that has seen colossal development in recent years. Canary Wharf is the financial centre of this area with many of the major banks having their HQs based in towering glass-fronted buildings. This is the closest one comes in the UK to imagining what it must feel like to walk through Manhattan.

Glass has, for some years, been a fascination of mine, photographically. Primarily for its reflectivity, its ability in some structures to be a faithful reflector of the local environment, and yet in others instances to exhibit an almost Cubist tendency to warp and distort.

_DS82329‘Docklands’ is an area where, for centuries, maritime trade was plied in a vast area of docks. And those waterways still exist – they dissect the land. And the water reflects. On a calm day it is a faithful recorder – precise, mirror-like. But on other days when a breeze ruckles its surface, the reflections are warped . Water is dynamic. By contrast, glass is static: its reflective qualities fixed either during manufacture or during installation.

_DS82313It has occurred to me just recently that water and glass are both canvases upon which light paints an impression of the neighbourhood. Sometimes with precision, sometimes impressionistic, sometimes modernistic. And what I find so attractive about Docklands is that the glass and the water exist side-by-side, or perhaps I should say vertically: fancifully I see them competing to see which of them can provide the best show.

Two images today – taken during this visit – probably shot about 30 minutes apart. I will be returning here many times, I can feel the emergence of a new relationship.

Click on either image to see a higher quality enlargement.

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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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23 Responses to Glass and Water

  1. suej says:

    Like you, I love flat glass in modern buildings for the reflections….but I haven’t taken any images lately. Time to change that! I love these images here, and look forward to seeing more 🙂

  2. oneowner says:

    We don’t have many newer buildings like this in Rochester so it’s always nice to see a photo like this. However, we do have quite a bit of water here, so I guess that makes up for part of it. Excellent shots, Andy.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Ken. The beauty of water is that the reflections are constantly changing. London has undergone a remarkable transformation and glass is now, I would guess, the predominate external building material.

  3. Andy, this is a wonderful post! I like what you say about reflections, and these are two really nice examples. I spent a long time looking at them large. The glass photo has a composition in almost every window, and the whole is another good composition. Besides the composition in the water photo, the colors are especially nice. I’d say the competition results in a tie.

  4. alan frost says:

    Reflections in glass and water have so much potential, and these are two excellent examples. No wonder you want to return.

  5. onlyonebecky says:

    Well done for making (what to me as a Londoner) seems a very soulless part of the city have some life. Personally I don’t feel the area is anything close to the wonder of Manhattan which I have also visited many times. Our buildings are not tall or close enough! Although near the Bank of England feels similar to the financial district in Manhattan. Anyway some lovely shots and I hope you get to see more of the wonderful city again soon!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks very much for your comment. I agree that area may lack soul, but what it lacks in soul it makes up for in photographic possibilities if the interplay of light and glass attracts your attention. I will be back…

  6. poppytump says:

    Love these Andy …Pop Art crossed with Gaudi and Cubist … the fluidity and transformations of glass reflections are so mesmerising . You’ve reminded me down at the Thames side last week looking at the Shard’s reflection in one building as I moved my head this way and that it’s outline became fractured and was almost a pyramid of silver balls . What the office workers behind their smoked glass thought of my pantomime I dread to think 🙂 but no photo in the end as I just couldn’t make a perfect match !
    Look forward to more .. I have a feeling this new *relationship will bring many rewards 😀

  7. Meanderer says:

    These are great, Andy. They are both so vivid and vibrant. I’m sure I can see faces in the first image 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Meanderer – there is at least one person in that image, certainly. The weather was kind to me on that visit. Sunshine makes all the difference to this type of work.

  8. shoreacres says:

    I’m especially taken with the second photo. Water with a wind-ruffled surface is quite different from water that’s carrying the waves of passing vessels or showing the effect of tidal flow. Your water here is perfect for this kind of imagery. I suspect the buildings also help to reduce effects from the wind. I’m looking forward to your explorations!

  9. ehpem says:

    I am expecting we will soon see some pictures of the wonderful glass reflections reflected in the water! Then we will find out it is a symbiotic relationship rather than a competition.

  10. Reflections are always good for creating interesting photographs, as these two images clearly reveal. I like them both, but for me the second one is the strong, simply because it’s different and feels like a different take on reality. Very nice, Andy.

  11. Len says:

    I too love these types of shots Andy. I think that, for me, they give an abstract, warped view of reality. I wonder what that says about me. Great pics, my friend.

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