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  #55 Nine to Five
Entry 18 of 28
Night desk - Office Tower       ©2009 Jade O.
Panasonic DMC-FZ30       18th place, 43 points
1s, f5, ISO 100, 37mm, Manual, Spot, no flash
Post-Processing: Stretched using GIMP transform tool, resized, sharpened.       Extra Info: One of many who work the night shift in isolation, a lone security guard mans the front desk alone, dwarfed by the glass and steel tower rising above him. -- The place is the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower, the tallest completed tower designed by Mies van der Rohe, and one of six towers which comprise the TD Centre in Toronto, a classic of modernist architecture.
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Mar 17, 2009
    Thanks for taking the trouble to explain why you shot this as you did. I now understand the composition and appreciate it more!

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Jade O.
Mar 14, 2009
    LindyB I anticipated that many would think the guard was too small. I think this may be the smallest subject in terms of the space occupied on an image that I've deliberately taken. But I hoped the perspective and lines of the building would lead the viewer inevitably to the subject and in the various crops I tried, the more I closed in on the guard, the less the impact. If you can imagine it, a photo of a man sitting alone at a desk at night is not very dramatic. In my experimental crops I found I needed the "border of darkness" and the ground in the foreground, in order to give a proper sense of place. In the end, it may just mean that this photo doesn't work -- I like it but I realize that is in part because I was there and the photo captures the experience of the moment, one familiar to me over the years. As for suspicions, I could walk right in though the usual rule with most downtown commercial office towers (at least in Toronto) is that photography is only allowed from the public sidewalk or street to protect the privacy of those who do business in the towers and for security reasons.
Edited on Mar 14, 2009

Mar 14, 2009
    A nice idea for the challenge that would have worked better for me if you'd have got a little closer so we could see more of the man at the desk. Or would that have raised his suspicions?

Jade O.
Mar 13, 2009
    aprilesole Thanks for adding your perspective. I expected some would think the man at the desk was too small or too inactive or too small a part of the image and it is a valid view and a valid criticism given the Challenge topic. But my view is that people work in the context of an environment and I could not find a better way to express how insignificant one soul is (amidst the grandeur of the public space in the modern office tower) simply because of the architecture of such a place. The architecture DOES diminish the individual and I hoped to bring home a visual illustration of that point. It some ways, the architecture of Mies van der Rohe works so well precisely because it dwarfs the individual to the point of insignificance and emphasizes the majesty of the structure. There is no practical purpose to making the lobby ceiling as high as it is here or the area as minimalist. Those are slabs of stone on the wall, not patterns of brick or tile which would better fit a more human scale. Even the door which gives a human scale is photographed in a way to overpower the one individual present in this image. But your view is valid and shared by many as illustrated by the entries here; I think you could divide the images on this Challenge between those who view work as a personal expression and those who view work within the context of the larger workplace environment.
Edited on Mar 13, 2009

Mar 13, 2009
    A very grand photo but it seems more the building is the subject and the job seems lost in the architecture.

Jade O.
Mar 13, 2009
    f_otto LOL! Yes I suppose that is true.

wrosenthal Thank-you! I'm not sure if making the viewer work is good photography but maybe it compliments the theme.

elliott Lesson learned. Check the photo you upload. I actually meant to upload a version where I had straightened the upper window frame to run parallel with the top edge of the image. I did try various crops but in the end decided I needed the "border" as I shot it and as you see it in order to maximize the impact of this image. The vertical angle on the left was straightened slightly but I left the one on the right. It is slightly asymetrical but not obviously so and I wanted to have a sense of converging lines toward the upper frame to emphasize the height, and to use the divergent lines of the ceiling at the top of the image to bring your eye back down to the subject (sort of a giant M perspective). Ultimately, I really think it is that ceiling that leads your eye back again and again toward the subject of the image.
Edited on Mar 13, 2009

Mar 13, 2009
    Reverse of Nine to Five, In my tt.

Mar 12, 2009
    I think you make the viewer work for this one, but it is very effective. It feels like what it is, late night and lonely. My TT.

Mar 12, 2009
    i like the mood. i would have zoomed, cropped, and straightened using one of center pillars for reference. good luck with your entry. el
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By Jade O.


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