When I was learning photography, my professor used to advise us to “find color, and the rest will fall into place.” She advised this even when shooting in black & white, because the values carried through. It was good advice. To this day, some of my best works and some of the works by others that I truly admire seem to have a strong presence of color. But I would like to revise her advice to also include Shape. I feel that a single building block isn’t enough to carry its photo alone. But I feel that color and shape, when they join forces, can far outweigh the balance. This is the first thing that popped into my mind when I first saw Vite, a photo by Andrea Calvi.
Vite is an interesting perspective of a circular stairwell, as seen from the bottom. The smooth spiral of the railing is mimicked and then deconstructed by the steps and landings. This is an interesting geometry that is appealing in and of itself. But then consider the introduction of the color on the ceiling. The reddish color reveals the ever-changing surface of the ceiling and the many shades of the color. The color adds a whole new dimension to the shot. I like how at every floor, the ceiling looks a little brighter. Then at the top floor, you have an evenly lit surface, revealing the true color. It draws the eye through the spiraling vortex. But suppose your eye wasn’t traveling in straight lines and you followed the railing around and around. The smooth curvature is interrupted by the face of a child looking down at Andrea and his camera. That sort of curiosity adds a whole new dimension to the photo: Andrea is being watched.
Color is everywhere – even unique colors. Shapes are everywhere, too, as are many of the other building blocks. The quest as a photographer is to use these ingredients to create a delicate balance in the photograph. Andrea had his eyes open when he found this setting. But the way he set up the shot is, in the end, what makes the shot.
Andrea Calvi is an experimental photographer out of Italy. His portfolio consists of a great many examples of color vs. shape. But he also has many great photos featuring street and travel photography. He is very reserved in what he shares with the world – his photostream is not going to overwhelm your activity stream. But his photostream is well edited, featuring only photos that are clean, tight and inspiring.