Difficult to imagine a bored place than the small square that I can see from my room window. It’s a place where pedestrian do what they usually do… pass through it, so I’m willing to confront one of most challenging experience of my life, spend an entire hour observing and describing what happens in a hot summer Sunday in that nameless square.
Although the square is for public use, it is placed in the front of a residential building – nine stories tall-that is slightly retreated from the main road. The irregular area of the square is the end point of pedestrian passage that communicate two streets, and in certain way is a mandatory path to those coming from that secondary street. This transitory character is one of the outstanding characteristics of this square.
The place is surrounding by a series of brick terraces and benches that delimitated its perimeter. The benches are normally used by pedestrian to rest for a while, such two old women that are now talking to each other, or in certain moments of the day, mothers sit there while their children play around the square. It’s not the case right now, only the two old ladies are sitting on the benches.
The terraces, the benches and the square are built and pavemented with rectangular bricks of two colours: red and yellow (kind of), that are covered by the typical filthy layer pollution so common in the cities. The bricks of the pavement are alternatively red and yellow and they form a kind of waves that gives a visual feeling the fluidity as the pedestrian move through it.
The square has an irregular shape, a kind of deformed pentagon, and the square is boarder by the building, the main street, two passages for vehicles, and a neighbouring courtyard (even more boring than this one, because nobody pass through it and don’t have any benches or parterres at all…).
The centre of the square is parched wide sunny area, so the pedestrian coming into the square walk on the shadow of the sides to avoid the heat. Because of the hour (19:00) nobody is in the square. Every time and then a bird goes flying through the square, projecting its shadows in the pavement…
The boredom is so big, that I am about to give up, when suddenly a young man with a dog enters into the square. They stopped for a few seconds, and the dog seems to be uncomfortable; there is no doubt, the dog is dealing with a physical need, and he starts to defecate. The owner watches nervously around, and despite of the fact that the young man is carrying a plastic bag, they both abandon the square leaving behind the evidence of their crime. Haven’t I said that in the square the only existing waste bin is a specific one for dog poop? Unconsciously, the man and the dog have introduced a new factor of uncertainty for the amusement of an eventual viewer of this boring square.
Nothing happens on this square; occasionally a person passes, but the emptiness of the place gives little excuse to stop anybody from way. If I had decided to restrict my observation to what happens inside the square I could tell about a small story about a car that stopped near the square, and the continuous comings and goings of the driver carrying bags, that finally ended as movement of a mother leaving her son for the summer season at her mother’s home. But let’s concentrate on the square…
Suddenly a slight breeze began to move the greenery on the terrace. For a few seconds, unaware of my presence, the rumour of the leaves of the plants seem to welcome this breeze of air that refreshes the atmosphere… Could I say that this was the second most exciting that happened during an hour?
Taking advantage of the shape of the pavement, the shadows and the solitude of the place, I took a picture on this place last year. From the privilege point of view where I observe the square, those elements are revealed almost instantly, and the question is to wait until a suitable subject appears on the scene. Here is the picture:
I tried a different approach making a multi exposure picture capturing every person passing through the square for an hour period.
From my window, I can use any kind of camera, even a tripod to align easily every picture on the staking multi-exposure set. However, if I wanted to go down to the square and take pictures to the people on site, it would be a different matter: in the emptiness of the place, a person with a bulky camera could not pass unadvertised, so I would have problems to photograph unaware people.
In addition, the surroundings of the are not very appealing to take pictures; I would say that aerial point of view removes all unwanted elements and let’s concentrate on the key features of the place: emptiness, shapes and shadows.
Black and White or Colour? I think both could work depending on the image; The image of cyclist seems to work better on BW, because reduce visual elements to the waves, the shadow and the subject. For the People Abstraction colour works better: the randomness of the colours introduce a point of interest on the image, where the concrete was replace by the abstract.