The Falkirk Wheel | PT.II | On Peripheral Crap | 35Chronicle

black & white, photography, structures

They Paved Paradise | Conclusion.


In PT.I of my Falkirk Wheel posts, I wrote  a little about the principle behind the purpose and mechanics of the wheel itself and also, about how it felt to me – to photograph such an incredible piece of engineering whilst having to continually exclude so much of the theme-park scenery that only seems to serve in diminishing the importance of the feat itself while at the same time maximising revenue in any way possible, from visitors. Sadly, thus – t’is the way of things and I am probably going to have a little mini-rant, now – ahem.

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IV.

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When I look back at these pictures, I still can’t help feeling a twinge inside, one of sadness that the only way to make money from this is to sell anything that anyone is prepared to buy and encircle the entire structure with all manner of food and drink stalls, kids rides, gift shops, you name it. Yes, I know I sound like a whinging ol’ duffer, but imagine anything else that you feel is somewhat worthy of being singled-out and displayed for its importance, (be it in history, engineering, art, music, literature, politics, anything) and finding it surrounded by countless cheap, punter-drawing sideshows replete with the obligatory pink and yellow bouncy castle. (I’m not entirely sure why I suddenly find myself thinking about Jenson Button’s 2009 Brawn F1 car, or Damon Hill’s 1996 Williams but, some things are important enough that they shouldn’t need all that razzmatazz, instead, being allowed to stand out for just being what they are). How wonderful it would be to just appreciate something without having to waste mental energy on negotiating around all the ever present, peripheral crap. Have a theme-park by all means – just,  create a little more space between, enough to give everyone the opportunity to make a decision on how they wish to enjoy it, including we who don’t give a monkey’s about facile distractions.

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V.

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I find it a shame because, I love these shots – but I can’t enjoy them as much as I know I would have, had I have been able to move more freely around to appreciate and photograph it from angles completely prohibited by all the man-made, money-making tat around it.  As I remarked, on posting a few infrared frames in PT.I – it really is a must-see, but I simply cannot buy into the modern theme-park ideal that spoils the natural scenery around what is in both design and function, a beautiful structure. Shooting to the sky is the only way to capture it unfettered, but at more ground-level angles it deserves a much plainer backdrop.

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VI.

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I absolutely love the way that the wheel plays with the light, the boldness of the structures and the intimacy of its workings. For contrast, the IR series in PT.I seriously does it for me but these standard frames (shot on my Df, for anyone interested) have a clean edge that lends very well to its subject. Despite a little (ahem) commentary, I hope you’ll have enjoyed them too. 

Can’t please everyone, eh?

R.

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