Gallery: the perfect simplicity of a spiral staircase
Life is a journey up a spiral staircase; as we grow older we cover the ground we have covered before, only higher up; as we look down the winding stair below us we measure our progress by the number of places where we were but no longer are. The journey is both repetitious and progressive; we go both round and upward.William Butler Yeats
Sometimes (often?) photography is more about serendipity than anything else. A purposeful photo outing is enjoyable of course, and often reaps great rewards; but arguably we derive the most pleasure from finding an unexpected subject for our lens, just by chance?
I had already decided on a set of photos I would post today for Cee’s CFFC Curvy or Arches theme. I had started to edit them and had written an accompanying text. And then I visited a London gallery, in Vauxhall’s Newport Street, that I hadn’t been to before. The exhibition we had come to see was not especially inspiring, but I fell in love with the spiral staircase that took us from the ground floor up to the first. Or perhaps more accurately, I fell in love with the photographic possibilities it presented. Unfortunately I only had my phone with me, but I did my best to capture its seductive curves.
Then I realised that in these photos I was striving to show the staircase not as a functional element of the building but as a piece of art; that this staircase contained the creative spark that for me had been lacking in many of the paintings on display. So it seemed the perfect subject matter too for this week’s Lens Artists Challenge, set by I.J., encouraging us to see the ordinary in a new light. And as I couldn’t decide if I liked it best in colour or monochrome, I edited the shots both ways. I am now veering towards monochrome, but see what you think.
Back at ground level I tried a shot looking up from below. The pattern of light and dark brought to mind the delicacy of a snowdrop.
At the other end of the gallery a similar staircase, but more angular, also links the two floors. I was not as enamoured with it as with the first, but it nevertheless called out to be featured, from above and below.
That last shot is the only one that I now feel works better in colour than black and white. I’d be interested to know what others think?
Photos all taken in October 2021
Excellent! Well done. GREAT perspectives!
Thanks so much John 😀
Wow, incredible images, Sarah. Beautiful patterns and shapes!
Thank you so much Amy 😊
Oh WOW, beautiful collection, Sarah!
Thank you Teresa, I’m happy you liked these shots!
Fabulous post, Sarah. I love your experiments with the angles and curves. I love that despite the exhibits, you found something to inspire you in this building! For me, the black and white are my favorites. I think it makes the details, curves, shadows really stand out. Well, there’s my two cents! (I guess that’s an American expression!!) 😀
Thanks so much Patti 😊 And btw, over here we say ‘my two penn’orth’ (short for my two pennies worth)!!
Loved your choice this week Sarah as well as your photographic interpretations of its wonderful curves and angles. For me this week, although it’s unusual, I prefer the color versions.
Thank you for the feedback Tina – it seems to be about 50/50 on the two versions!
Definitely the colour version for me, the monochrome misses the subtleties of the contrasting textures. Pity the exhibition wasn’t up to much but you certainly didn’t come away empty handed!
Thank you Mari – all these answers go to prove that tastes differ and each version has its appeal! The exhibition wasn’t a wash-out but the staircases trumped it for sure 😀
You have come up with an interesting topic regarding great designs of staircases which appealed to you in a very special way! Thanks for sharing, Sarah
Thank you for visiting 🙂
Hi, Sarah. I’m smiling because I have a post in process that is B&W and along you come with the same question I wrestle with. I really like the B&W for this subject except for the last photo and the third from the bottom. In those I really like the touch of color, very subtle. What a beautiful find! You captured some wonderful perspectives. I agree that they are a work of art.
I went back for another look and realized that I spent a lot more time looking at the colored versions. They use this as a measure of degree of preference when doing research, especially with infants.
Thank you, that’s an interesting point Pat. Maybe what we think we prefer isn’t always correct?! The two you have picked out in colour are the two looking up ones and I’m inclined to agree with you – without the high contrast of the steps the colours come to the fore.
But the color of the steps are also beautiful. I spent more time looking at the steps than I did the white parts or the black and white. I like color – but you black and whites are stunning.
I. J. Khanewala
That’s a wonderful collection of spiral staircases. Looking nearly, but not exactly, along the axes of helices gives you such lovely patterns. I think almost all of them come out equally well in black and white. Great set this time.
Thank you very much, and for hosting such an interesting theme!
I tend to like the monochrome versions. The black and whites seem to spark my imagination and add a depth of intrigue more than the ‘actual’ photo.
Also, it makes me smile every time I read this phrase, “I fell in love with”…There’s something special about a person whose heart attaches to their work or hobby.
Thank you Rose 🙂 I probably exaggerated a little when I said, ‘I fell in love with’ – for dramatic effect 😆
LOL. I see what you’re saying. Some folks think I use that word, love, too liberally in descriptions. I guess I’ll have to consult my thesaurus and find some better synonyms. 🙂
These are marvelous shots of the staircase. I think the staircase showing the tiled walls works best in B&W because of the tile. All depends on what you want to highlight and pleases you, the photographer the best. Wonderful post Sarah 😀
Thank you Cee 😊 I’m still torn between B&W and colour, so it’s good to hear other opinions!
It’s a great subject, Sarah, and wonderful to play with. I seldom set out with a subject in mind, but I’m not a photographer. My camera is my diary and therefore full of ordinary, but I’m very admiring of those who can produce great images like yours. 🤗💕
You do yourself a disservice Jo – I’ve seen plenty of good shots on your blog!
Thanks hon 😊💕
I personally prefer the colour version for all of these, because I love the warm brown tone of the steps.
Thanks Don – I see what you mean, it is beautiful wood 🙂
The staircases create very Interesting geometrical designs! The sliding thing is really neat. First time I’ve seen that.
Thank you 😊 That ‘sliding thing’ is the image compare block. I’ve used it a few times – it’s great when you have two different edits of the same shot, as here!
Good to know. Thanks.