Alan Barrett Images | Man Made
Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle7/20/19
This Frank Gehry designed building mimics many of his other renowned works – a titanium clad structure with each panel slightly off-key to its neighbour. The result is a kaleidoscope of shapes, patterns and colours.
The images here could have been made at any of his buildings (at least, the ones that I have seen), but are all from the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.
Man has long used wood for construction of so many artefacts - and often failed to look after the item so lovingly created, which is all to the good for the photographer. I am no exception to those attracted to the allure of old wood, be it an abandoned boat on the beach, a derelict building or indeed any wooden item that shows the patina of age and neglect.
Tuscan doors and windows7/18/19
I love the architecture of old towns and villages, particularly in Latin countries where the importance of maintaining a pristine exterior to one's house is not seen as important. The result is endless wonderful photographic opportunities, and in some respects, not knowing what might be around the next corner makes the "hunt" as rewarding as the find.
Just outside the town of Uyuni in the Bolivian altiplano, there is an abandoned railway line with several dozen engines in various stages of disintegration. Nature has worked its magic on these former glories of man-made engineering, to add its own gloss of texture and colour. Photographing in the shade, out of the bright sun, has emphasised colour and detail.
The rooftops of San Felipe de Nery School, Sucre7/18/19
The former convent of San Felipe in Sucre, Bolivia, was built in the late seventeenth century. It has a beautifully tiled roof terrace, every tile of which shows a different pattern and colour.
Streets of San Miguel de Allende7/18/19
This town in central Mexico is now frequented by many foreign artists and writers, particularly Americans, but its attraction to photographers is the abundance of 17th and 18th century buildings, painted in vibrant colours and textures.
Street art at Leake Street7/18/19
The images in this portfolio were taken in May 2008 in Leake Street, under the arches of Waterloo Station rail tracks, during the "Cans Festival", a festival of urban art.
Valparaiso is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, mainly due to its unique architecture but due also to its unusual funicular elevators. It is also home to many street artists whose work decorates many otherwise unattractive facades of buildings that have seen better days. This is not graffiti, but art.
Stone Town is the old part of Zanzibar City and is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognising its historic and cultural importance to West Africa. Its architecture mostly dates back to the 19th century and one of its characteristic features is the ornately carved wooden doorways.
The town is a maze of narrow alleys, the like of which I have not experienced before nor since - my sense of direction is usually pretty good, but I managed to leave the town 180 degrees from my intended exit.
Old Car City7/18/19
Near the township of White, north of Atlanta, lies Old Car City, 34 acres of woodland which is home to some 4,500 derelict vehicles, mostly cars but including some commercial vehicles. Nature has worked its wonder on these vehicles, some of which have "matured" in situ for over 50 years.
It's a photographer's paradise.
Namibian Ghost Towns7/18/19
The best known diamond ghost town in Namibia - and the most accessible - is Kolmanskop, near the town of Luderitz. However there are two other smaller towns, Bogenfels and Pomona, which can be visited even though they are in the Prohibited Area where diamonds are still mined. The images here were made at all three towns.The play of reflected light on the interiors is a photographer's dream which is only enhanced by the sand-dunes that the wind has created, notwithstanding the inevitable footprints of countless earlier photographers.
Faces of the Berlin Wall7/18/19
The East-Side-Gallery is a 1.3 km stretch of the former dividing wall between East and West Berlin that has been preserved and given over to artists for murals. It is now firmly on the visitors' itinerary of the city.
I was fascinated by the myriad designs of faces in the murals and in this portfolio I have tried to extract small details to show the varied artistic impressions created by such a diverse group of artists.
The economic travails of Cuba are well known and long-standing, with the depredation of the country's infrastructure inevitable. One of the consequences is that the country's architecture has largely fallen into disrepair. The once wonderful colonial buildings of Havana have perhaps suffered most, but the ordinary person's homes have also suffered from serious neglect, presumably caused by the inability to afford or obtain basic building materials.
One result however, is that many buildings have a patina of multi-coloured faded coats of paint that are most attractive to a photographer. All the images in this portfolio were taken in Havana and Trinidad.
One might think it a mundane subject, but close inspection of corrugated iron often reveals intimate details of peeling paint and rusting metalwork. I now find it hard to pass by a dilapidated iron shack without inspecting the paintwork, often much to the bemusement of the owner or passers-by.
The attraction for old cars, really just lumps of rusty machinery, is a little hard to explain - maybe it is nostalgia for a time now gone that we remember as better than today - maybe the cars themselves were just more attractive than those of today. Certainly American motors of the 1950's were of a design that today's fuel constraints have made obsolete - but they really were lovely looking machines.
So I find it very difficult to drive past breakers' yards in the US without stopping to see what can be found. It is actually rather odd, since I have no interest in cars other than seeing them through the view-finder.
I have posted a separate portfolio of old cars photographed in Old Car City just outside Atlanta. The images in this portfolio are close-ups of some of the wonderful badges that car manufacturers use to identify their vehicles in days gone by.
The two or three blocks that make up this area of Buenos Aires, with their brightly painted corrugated iron walls, restaurants in abundance and outdoor tango dancers, make this a successful tourist attraction for all who visit the city.
In contrast, just a block further, is the inhospitable, if not downright dangerous area of La Boca, the city's most notorious area and one which is out-of-bounds to all sensible tourists.
The contrast between the two areas is striking both in appearance and atmosphere.
Architecture of Lot & Dordogne7/18/19
These two historic regions of France have some wonderful medieval towns, where parts of the old towns have survived to provide an evocative glimpse of the architecture of several hundred years ago.
I am not particularly taken by photography in cities, but I can enjoy - and find it quite challenging - to pick out small abstract, or nearly abstract details in the immensity of the city buildings.
5 Pointz Aerosol Art Centre was located in Long Island City in New York. Commonly known just as "5 Pointz", it was a graffiti mecca, where aerosol artists from around the world painted colourful pieces on the exterior walls of a 200,000 sq.ft. factory building - the building also housed artists' studios at below-market rents. Sadly the building was demolished in 2014 for redevelopment.
The paintings were constantly changing and this portfolio can only be a snapshot of what existed at the time of my visit, and is no more.