What did the original photo look like?
I am often asked this question when I show people my work, and this view of 22 Bishopsgate makes a great example. Swipe to the left to reveal the original photograph, while the finished image can be seen on the right. Notice the changes from the photograph the finished work.
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Click on the image to move the slider to the left or the right. Or you can grab the bar in the centre and drag to either side.
You need lots of photos!
On the right of the image, you see the main back-plate photograph as shot from Bishopsgate. I say main back-plate because I like to shoot many exposures to increase my options when I am back in the studio. This maximises creative control. Using different images I was able to remove the cars and clean up the foreground of the image.
Why I removed the cars
The foreground was cleaned up purely for artistic reasons. Having an open foreground changes the composition and thus the dynamic of the image. It is immediately calming, the image is more peaceful. The open space in front invites the viewer in, the eyes are lead to the focal point; 22 Bishopsgate. This image shows just how vast 22 Bishopsgate will look as you approach from Liverpool Street. With a cluttered foreground 22 Bishopsgate will merge with the background and the image will be confused. The viewer will not know instinctively where to look. To do this properly we need lots of shots, each time grabbing a different clean area of the street as the traffic moves.
Changing the look
Apart from the appearance of 22 Bishopsgate the another notable change is in the look and feel of the image. I knew what I was after before I arrived at Bishopsgate to shoot the back-plates. I wanted the image to invoke the feeling of late afternoon, low summer sun. As you can see the backplate turned out to be very blue, so the warmer look was all done in post-production using Photoshop.
A note on the glass used for 22 Bishopsgate
I want to briefly mention the glass as this was such an important part of these images. The glass looks to be a little different to most buildings and that’s because it is! My brief for 22 Bishopsgate was to use the same type of glass the Shard has. The best way to simply describe the nature of this glass is to say that it is more extreme in its behaviour. This means that when it reflects it reflects more, yet when there is little or no reflection it is clearer than other types of glass. This has the effect of the surface being brighter when it reflects the sky, and conversely more see through when it reflects the surrounding buildings.