#569 – Industrial Fine Art

I’ve had some recent correspondence with Germanas Simonson after coming across his Facebook page ‘Industrial Fine Art‘. I’m always interested in the work of other photographers in the tiny little genre of industrial landscape photography so it gives me great pleasure to consider some of the work from his website ‘Industrial Fine Art‘.

As a genre, industrial landscape photography is not exactly a popular one in terms of the number of people doing it. And that’s perfectly understandable when there are some fabulous scenic landscapes and seascapes to be photographed. It takes a different eye to see something worth photographing in a man made, industrial context, where function is the overriding consideration rather than aesthetic. And yet, there is beauty to be found although as we are often reminded, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

So, some of us are drawn to this genre, and for different reasons which are all perfectly valid. For some it’s a passing whimsy – a camera club competition theme, or a visit to a heritage site. For others it’s a way of recording a place for historical reasons. And for the rest of us, there is a strange attraction to the photographic possibilities to be found in the complex geometries, decay, abstractions, standardised and functional architecture and, well, whatever else catches our eye and screams out ‘Photograph me!’.

Germanas is from Lithuania, and has been photographing industry for four years and is making a rather good job of it. I was struck by his lack of a particular style, something that is refreshing as many – myself included – can get stuck taking / making the same style of photograph repeatedly. This is both a blessing and a curse, and my recent project photographing colliery headgear using someone elses style (Bernd and Hilla Becher) has been a great exercise and is forcing me to think differently. But I digress.

While his website includes lots of conventional views of industrial sites, I particularly enjoyed Germanas’ colour work, especially his abstracts. The subtle tones and simple compositions are satisfying to look at and reduce what is probably a complex, larger, scene into just one slice of what Germanas finds interesting. And that is arguably one of the underrated skills in photographic seeing – finding the interesting bits in a larger scene (or sorting the signal from the noise if you are electronically minded).

Germanas’ night photography also builds on his eye for colour and composition. Along with these two examples (I especially like the cinematic feel of the first one), I’ve picked an example of a larger night time scene of a power station at night with those distinctive red and white chimneys that are commonplace seemingly everywhere except Britain.

The red hill of the ship and the blues in the sky and river complement each other and notice how the buildings in the background fit in the recess between the bow and the bulb.

There was something that stood out and really caught my attention when I saw this photo, and it’s probably the combination of strong colours and strong composition. The gate to the railway sidings is in just the right place and while it would be easy to have either cropped it out or composed it out in camera, the sidings and gate make for a strong foreground to the image.

So there you have it, a quick introduction to Germanas’ work, please have a look at his website http://www.industrialfineart.eu.

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