Lemons and the Kremlin

Every image you make draws its inspiration from sources that may go back a long way to your earliest memories. This is what makes us unique.

One of my earliest inspirations is the work of Sam Abell of National Geographic fame. Abell's work had a couple of things that drew me irresistably. The first was sublime balance and harmony, both things that all photographs require at some level. Secondly a "back to front" compositional style that emphasised all of the image elements, not just the main subject. His Montana ranch cow branding image is one of the best examples of his style and the effect colour has on the perception of depth in an image. 

When given an assignment to photograph Russia and specifically the Kremlin, Abell chose to compose the photo through an open, lace adorned window being used to ripen lemons. This had the effect of context for the Kremlin building in the life of the ordinary Russian. Brooding, mysterious, beautiful, but also just "there" as things are in daily life everywhere. I must admit to not getting the image at first, but it grew on me as the better ones do and is now a firm favourite.

Taken spontaneously while chatting with my wife in our tiny hotel room in Tokyo with an OMD EM5 and the Olympus 45 f1.8, the above image meant little during taking, it was just a careless warm up shot to check settings and the battery. When reviewed it reminded both of us of that Kremlin image in tone  and style (Olympus cameras have nice "filmy" colours, a bit Kodachrome like). The aperture used was f2-2.8 (roughly a 90mm at f4 on a full frame) due to the light in the room, but I left it there in response to the soft rendering of the background image. The curtains are razor sharp, but the woman in the background is almost entirely up to you to interpret, giving you the "idea" of her life without the detail that would stifle imagination.