Harmony (333 Collins Street) by David B Simmonds, 2011. Limited edition in 3 sizes - 100cm, 75cm and 50cm wide. Every day people criss-cross the foyer floor of 333 Collins Street, hurriedly going about their business. Yet, above them, towering quietly and majestically, is this most beautiful of domes. How often are our minds full of other thoughts and concerns so we don't actually see what surrounds us? My ongoing series Finding Sacred Space in a Secular World is about exploring those public spaces which, if we were truly paying attention, would stop us in our tracks and hold us transfixed, even if only for a moment.
I seek to transport you into another space where time stands still. As you look at this image, imagine you are floating upwards into it's serene beauty and harmonious flowing lines, your mind filling with its luminous spaciousness. I want to take you into the very heart of this space, but to do this I cannot simply stand on the ground and point my camera at the ceiling.
I'd gained permission to photograph in the small window between the morning rush hour and lunchtime. Setting up right beneath the dome, using a sandbag on the floor rather than a tripod, my Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III had to be dead centre. Getting the camera level on all planes was also critical to the integrity of this image. This was a challenge, even using the 17mm Tilt Shift lens, especially as my camera was tethered to my laptop and showed the reverse image on screen. Nor did I want to use an extreme wide angle lens which would distort and push the dome's detail further away from the viewer. Using the shift ability of my lens allowed me to shoot several frames without distortion and stitch them together into a whole, preserving the architectural integrity of the space.
The resulting image has the effect of pulling us closer inside to experience it more intimately and dramatically. This is also why I like to print these quite large. They are vast spaces and being confronted with that in an intimate way, I hope, invites us to surrender to an altered experience.
In the words of the philosopher, Alain de Botton, such spaces "speak to us of the highest hopes we have for ourselves...we can come close to a state of mind marked by integrity and vitality. We can feel inwardly liberated. We can, in a profound sense, return home." [The Architecture of Happiness, Penguin 2007, page 119]
PURCHASE THIS LIMITED EDITION PRINT | Pigment Print on Hahnemühle Fine Art Baryta | Edition of 5 (100cm x 132cm) | Edition of 15 (75cm x 99cm) | Edition of 15 (50cm x 66cm)
Read more about the History of 333 Collins Street