Brutalist Theatre | Weekly Photo #7

This is the architecturally striking National Theatre, located on London’s South Bank. When first parts of the structure were completed in the 1960s it was voted the ugliest building in Britain by Daily Mail readers of the day. Although opinions will be still be split, it is now described as post-modernism architecture and a Grade II listed landmark.

I took this photo while out and about on a wet, rainy walk about town with my Fuji XT2 which you can read more about here: Capturing London on a Cloudy Day and not long after the rain cleared, I found myself wandering along the Thames and crossing Waterloo Bridge. I have shot the National Theatre before but usually from ground level but this composition from the bridge caught my eye as I wandered past.

It was the strong lines that got my attention. I particularly like the way they zigzag from right to left, front to back, but also act to lead the eye into the main structure and its impressive shapes and angles. It was all coming together nicely, but the space on the bottom left was bothering me. The image needed something (or someone) to add a little balance and a focal point.

The seating area is framed nicely by the theatre’s strong lines, so I stood there, poised, camera at the ready, while I waiting for the right person to walk into the frame. It had to be a single figure walking across the space to work in this shot and after just a few minutes, this lady strolls into the frame and with that bright red coat contrasting against the muted, grey colours in the buildings and sky, I knew I had my focal point. If the lady was waiting towards the building, thus, into the scene, it would have been perfect, but let’s face it, there is no such thing as a perfect photo.

Brutalist Theatre | Fujifilm X-T2 | XF18-55mm | 18mm | 1/350th second | f/3.6 | ISO200

Brutalist Theatre | Fujifilm X-T2 | XF18-55mm | 18mm | 1/350th second | f/3.6 | ISO200

One last point to note. I deliberately left the bird that is flying through the frame in the shot. I could have easily removed this in post processing but after some deliberation, I decided it was to stay. Maybe its adding a little disorder to a photo that has straight, rigid lines and otherwise a lot of order. Maybe its just to make the viewer wonder what it is and why it was left in the image. Photos are there to make you think and sometimes, my own photos make me wonder and ask questions.

Until next time.


This post is featured in my Weekly Photo series where I post a new photo every Sunday.