How and why did I choose this location for a portrait shoot?
When Monica initially contacted me she mentioned that she liked Kuku’s photos where she was sitting on the stairs outside Bullring. That spot is hardly ideal for a portrait session on Saturday as it’s always teeming with people. So for Monica I needed to find an alternative space that is 1) distinctly urban, 2) pedestrian-friendly, 4) relatively quiet on weekends, 5) looks contemporary, and 6) has features that would provide the same light, airy, almost high key setting as the limestone stairs at Bullring.
Church Street Square outside Snow Hill station ticked all the boxes on my requirements list. Launched last year, the square became an outdoor living space used for live music performances, a photography exhibition, and lunch-time meetings. It’s one of Birmingham so-called ‘enhanced’ spaces bringing the public and the private together to make Birmingham a more livable city. I asked Monica to wear something Indian to add visual interest by framing her within a highly constructed urban space composed of metal, stone, concrete, bleached wood, glass – and some greenery in its raised containers.
We started our session at the Umbra, a giant bronze piece of public art created by the sculptor Wolfgang Buttress to serve the focal point of the square. I liked its perfect spherical shape and the ‘ woodworm ridden’ perforated surface.
Continuing with the theme of man-made elements, we then moved to a series of glass panels to play with reflections.
Monica on the grey bench made of Irish limestone – the ‘urban’ look is softened by the wisps of vegetation.
The wood for benches is weathered to a light tone of grey to match smart grey paving and limestone slabs – all contributing to a high-key tonality (when it is not raining, that is…)
More pics coming up!