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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Repeating Patterns

Recently, I have had somewhat of a renewed interest in photographing architecture. Not so much the 'literal interpretation' of the building (though that is fun to do as well), but more so the details, particularly in an abstract way. I am particularly fond of repeating patterns and contrasts.

I was recently photographing at Carnegie Mellon University and had an interesting experience. In the past, when photographing buildings in downtown Pittsburgh, I have had building security guards tell me to leave because I am not allowed to photograph 'their' building, based on rules from building management. Of course, they fail to recognize that this is the United States and that one IS, in fact, allowed to photograph any building they want (short, I believe, of Federal Buildings and military installations perhaps) as long as they are on a public street and not on private property. I have made several posts over the years about being kicked out of various areas for doing perfectly legal photography.

At any rate, I went to Carnegie Mellon to make some architectural photos and there was a CMU police car parked in front of the first building I went to photograph. Inside was a police officer apparently guarding the building. Rather than get involved in debate (since these are not city policemen, who I assume would know the law) I decided to go photograph another building first and then return later. The image I made at that other building is the one seen below. I liked the repeating pattern and the repeating contrast.

So, what became of the first building? Well, the story ends well.  I went back and there was no longer a police car there. I set up to photograph, standing in a public street.  As I was photographing, the police car returned and drove up the street. I try to look nonchalant and pay no attention. However, as I was looking into the viewfinder of my tripod mounted camera, the car pulled up along side of me and the officer rolled down the window. "Here we go again", I start thinking.

But to my surprise, the officer said "They don't build them like that any more, do they? It's a great building to take pictures of!". And with that we got into a very pleasant conversation regarding craftsmanship and architecture in years gone by. In fact, he told me some other places he thought I would enjoy photographing!

I guess there is a lesson here. It is probably a good idea to expect the best in people and be prepared for the worst than to expect the worst to start with. All in all, it was a very pleasant morning out photographing on the July 4th holiday weekend.