Thursday, July 28, 2011


The field trip on Saturday, July 23, for our travel photography class included a visit to the Calatrava addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum.  This addition, designed by Santiago Calatrava, was completed in 2001 and, since its creation has truly represented the leading architectural icon for the city of Milwaukee.  The structure offers any number of opportunities for interesting photographic images.

I came downtown early for the field trip and was able to take a number of shots of the Calatrava addition without having any people being present.  The weather was overcast, not ideal conditions, but I tried to make the most of what I had.  Here are a few of the shots I took of the exterior.  The first shows more or less the entire structure, from south of the structure, looking to the north.  The next two are detail shots.

The overall structure evokes a nautical theme, in keeping with its location on the Lake Michigan lakefront.  The white striped panels, known as a brise soleil, are movable and are raised during the day to create the appearance of spreading wings.  The overall effect is compelling.

Looking at the structure from the west when the panels are down evokes a very futuristic feeling.  Here are a number of shots I took early before the crowds arrived:

Although these photos almost look like drawings, they are actually close to the original images, with very little modification.  The trees tucked under the structure on the right side of the last photo help to provide perspective on the overall size of the structure.

The interior of the addition is just as dramatic as the exterior.  Here are a couple of shots I was able to get when we went inside:

The first is of a series of triangular structure elements.  The second is a shot looking up at the ceiling of the central atrium, rising to a height of 60-75 feet above the floor.  Very dramatic.  I know that all of these shots have been taken thousands of times, but I still enjoy that I was able to capture them also.

Because of the light color of the structure and the many lines that it creates, it works to convert images to black and white studies also.  Here are a few that I converted to B&W:

I especially like the last photo showing the brise soleil set against the somewhat ominous appearance of the sky early in the day.  Lake Michigan is visible in the background.

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