View Towers

View Towers is one of those buildings that once built caused city planners and the public to rethink what they wanted in Victoria. It was built in the late 60’s or early 70’s. If I recall correclty, another one was planned next door but was not approved. It is a dominant building as it is at a scale much different than anything else nearby, especially the older buildings that tend to be one or two stories. It is a pretty ugly monster of a slab and will never be considered a heritage building, even if it does have some important associated history to do with planning decisions and the current paucity of tall buildings in Victoria. My office is very near and we joke (half seriously) about it toppling in an earthquake and squashing us like bugs beneath the boot of a bad boy.

When I take the bus, it is the view across Fort Street. But, because it is so big and unappealing it has some interest. For instance, how to take a photo of it that is captivating or engaging? Here are my attempts from the Quadra Street side. Maybe I will try from other views, though I might need a wide angle lense. These are lunch time shots when I don’t have time to wander very far from the office. To maximise the effect I am hoping you get when you view these shots, roll through the photos below with your mouse quite slowly. Kind of the reverse of the Friendly Giant instructing kids of my generation to “look up, look waaay up”

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16 thoughts on “View Towers

  1. Pingback: View Towers Half-Frame | burnt embers

  2. I cannot remember liking those towers as much as I do today after seeing your blog! What great compositions you’ve used here, and you’ve truly brought all the drama and interest of the buildings to life. What might be considered wholly uninteresting to many residents here in Victoria suddenly becomes very compelling after being captured by you!

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    • Hey Toad – those are very nice comments. Thank you. After looking at the photos of the side of the building a few times I finally noticed that in the shadows of the balcony you can sometimes make out objects on the balcony that are not otherwise visible from the angle of view. Such as a bicycle. I like that about this picture – the balcony shadows really add something to it.

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    • I love this bit of spam which I rescued from the bin. I have stripped out the links so that my readers can’t go to the site, but I am going to keep the compliment. So much better than the broken English compliments about my writing for posts with no writing which link to naughty nudes. Besides which, I make a very good carrot cake, which I (and my friends) like a lot.

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  3. I like the top shot with the two women facing in the same direction. I’d like it even better is there weren’t the patchy cement patterns around them, but that’s not your fault other than you picked the time of day where the raking sunlight makes it more apparent. 🙂

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    • HI Doug, well, it was lunch time and that was the light served up to me. Also, I am not sure I would want to make this place too attractive, that sloppy bit of concrete work could be taken as a symbol of much that is wrong with this building. The vertical shots would have been a lot less interesting without the shadows. So, on balance, it works out. With your comment, and pipsqueak’s, I expect I will give it another try.

      Do you find carrot cake mediocre, like some seem to?

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    • Hi David – I have to confess that the effect was not planned, but it did jump out at me when I was working with the draft. So, I positioned another photo under it to exaggerate the way it works. If I had more time I would have tried to crop the last image to fit better, but I kind of like the overlap and difference in colour.

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  4. I haven’t lived in Victoria for a long time now, but I remember that building (and its reputation) all too well! I think you’ve done a great job of making it look interesting and de-uglifying it. I like the reverse Friendly Giant effect. And I love the stairs image, it really works for me.

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  5. The first picture is very intriguing – the parallelograms of the stairway border seem to be painted on, and the woman descending to be inserted in some sort of two dimensional slot! I think another picture with the same flat light, but from a slightly lower angle to miss the handrail, and position the woman with her head against the wall and not sticking above the top of the back of the stairwell (too many prepositions) would be effective.

    If that sounds like homework, so be it.

    BTW, clicking on the pictures returns a 404-page not found error.

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    • Hi pipsqueak – thanks for the comment. That “slot” contains a ramp that is 6 or 8 feet wide. The problem with a lower angle to miss the handrail is that the person needs to be even shorter, or lower on the ramp. I like where she is, though it might work if she were in equivalent place at other end of ramp. I did not have a lot of choice here – I was shooting between gaps in the cars, so I only got one picture of the woman on the ramp. Also, I carefully positioned myself to get the handrail in the picture like that – I liked the effect. Now I wonder. Maybe I should try again, if I get that raking light at the right time of day I might give it a try. That would be homework. You a teacher by any chance? If you happen to live in Victoria, and have a red coat, and are about 5 foot nothing, maybe you could help set up the shot as you see it? If that sounds like teaching, well….

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    • pipsqueak – thanks for bringing the 404 page error to my attention – turns out several posts suffered this same fate which arose from storing some images in WP while my computer was in the shop – I did it the wrong way and the links stopped working for some reason. I think I have fixed them all now, but anytime anyone notices this kind of thing, I really appreciate hearing about it so I can fix it (it was not showing as broken to me when I was logged in as the images were stored in an unpublished post which I could access and the rest of you could not).

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  6. As a building, I have to say it lacks any appeal whatsoever, but it photographs well, at least here. I like the diagonal lines and shadows and the overall color is very nice.

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    • Hi ken – I am glad you find some appeal in my photo. I find it a useful exercise to try to find something visually appealing within an otherwise repulsive subject – it helps to change the way I look at that object all the time afterwards. I really should try and extend that process to other aspects of my life, but one thing at at time. 🙂

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