Wednesday, November 10, 2010

City Views

I took these photos a while ago from the Eureka Tower - Melbourne's highest building! I was feeling some inspiration from one of my favourite photographs, New York at Night, by Berenice Abbott.

"Abbott calculated that in order to get this dramatic night shot with all the office lights on she would need to expose the film in her camera for 15 minutes. She knew that most people left their offices in Manhattan at 5:00 p.m., and of course when they left they turned the lights off. The only night in the year that it would be dark enough before 5:00 p.m. to create the contrast between the building lights and the night sky is the shortest day of the year, December 20th. Abbott also knew that she couldn’t be in any wind if she had to leave her camera’s shutter open for 15 minutes, as the slightest motion could blur her picture. She sought out a building with the perfect view and got permission from the landlord to use a window. At sunset on December 20, 1934 Abbott was all set up, the weather was clear, and she got her picture."

See the National Gallery of Victoria in the bottom corner of the first photo? Well a few days after my visit to the Eureka Tower I heard about the NGV's Luminous Cities exhibition, which happens to include Abbott's New York at Night!

I visited the show in the weekend and would recommend it to fellow Melburnians! As someone who takes most of their photographs with their iphone (!) I am full of awe and admiration for these early photographers.

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