Patricia Temples Photography

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Archive for the tag “art”

Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland

The MOST amazing building I’ve ever seen is located in the capital of Iceland.  It opened in May 2011 after some delays that occurred during the financial crisis of 2008.  The government funded the building, which is used for not only musical events, but also important political and cultural meetings.

Harpa is located on the old harbor in Reykjavik.  The structure consists of a steel framework clad with geometric shaped glass panels of different colors.  In winter, lights transform the exterior of the building into a display of the Aurora Borealis.  During summer, sunlight shining through the glass panels creates patterns and colors on the floor.  The design has won many architectural awards, including the most recent in 2013.

waterfront 2

view of city within.jpg

side view.jpg

Ideas for a name for the concert hall came from Icelanders as well as designers.  The name Harpa was chosen because it was easy to pronounce, and because it refers to a time of year and a month in the old Nordic calendar.  The first day of that month is celebrated as the first day of summer when the landscape comes alive with color.

My photos show you the abstract beauty of the panes of glass.  The image of the girl standing in the pane gives you a sense of the size of these panels.  Notice the color everywhere.

ceiling abstract

A view of the ceiling

inside looking out

Inside looking out

girl in window

Young woman in a glass panel

window abstract

Abstract shapes and colors on the exterior

yellow seats

Seating area

I could have spent a day photographing this building.  As it was, I had only one day to explore the city, so I couldn’t spend it all there.  If I’m ever lucky enough to be in Reykjavik again, I’ll spend a lot of time at this site.  I hope some of that time will be in the concert hall hearing a magnificent performance.

Enjoy this youtube video of the design and construction of this magnificent building.

The Library of Congress

I have had two exciting trips to D.C. to visit the Library of Congress, the first in February and the second last week, in May. A friend of mine is a docent there and she agreed to lead two sets of my friends on a tour. Both trips were so special. I am writing this blog because I believe that the Library of Congress may be the single most important public building in the U.S. I am going to share some history about this building to make this point. Most of the information that follows comes from the website for the LOC, and occasionally I will insert my thoughts or those of my docent friend.

The Library of Congress was established by an act of Congress in 1800, and was described as a “reference library for Congress only.” The initial appropriation of $5000 established the library and it was housed in the new Capitol from 1800 to 1814. In August 1814, invading British troops set fire to the Capitol and burned or pillaged the contents of the library.

After the fire and loss of the library, President Thomas Jefferson offered his personal library as a replacement. He had spent 50 years accumulating books, “putting by everything which related to America,” and his collection was considered to be one of the finest in the U.S. In January 1815, Congress appropriated $23,950 for Jefferson’s 6,487 books. Our docent told us that Jefferson suffered depression for a period of time after his collection went to the library, because his accumulation of books was so very important to him.

The Library of Congress had difficult times in the 1850s. On Christmas Eve, 1851, a fire destroyed two-thirds of its 55,000 volumes, including two-thirds of Jefferson’s library. When the restoration of the Library room in the Capitol building was done, fireproof materials were used throughout and it reopened in 1853.

In 1886, after many proposals and much controversy, Congress authorized the construction of a new library building, and its doors were opened to the public on November 1, 1897. The construction of the new Library was executed entirely by American labor and American artists. It became a showcase of American skill and talent. It is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen. The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world with more than 160 million items, including books and other print material, recordings, photographs, maps, sheet music and manuscripts. Staff receives 15,000 items each working day and adds approximately 12,000 items to the collections daily. LOC is the home of the U.S. Copyright Office, and many of the collections are received through that registration process. Contrary to what I expected there, a visitor does not see books and more books. They are not housed within public view and access is restricted to official passes. However, it is possible to get passes, or to have books sent to your local library from the LOC, with the exception of rare books. Enjoy my images of the spectacular interior of the Jefferson Building. Notice the marble, the mosaics, the statues, the moldings. Everything in the building has meaning. Then put a trip to the Library of Congress on your bucket list.

Dome Interior

Jefferon Room at LOC

The Jefferson Room is one area where you see books. Some are originals from Jefferson’s library, some are replacements since the fire, and some are empty boxes waiting for a replacement to be found. They are protected by glass.

Reading room

The reading room is accessible by passes. Visitors can view the room from an area above that enclosed in glass. It is such a spectacular space.

Mosaic Floor

Small pieces of marble tile create the mosaic floor.

Collaboration is the Spice of Life

About two years ago I was invited to join the Firnew Farm Artists Circle in Madison County.  Who, me?  A photographer?  Didn’t they know I couldn’t draw, sketch, paint, or mix colors?  As I soon learned, there were other photographers in the group!  My affiliation with this talented collection of people has been incredibly inspiring, and I have learned  so many things that have made me grow as a photographer.  About six months ago two friends in the group and I started discussing a collaboration.  One of them is a colored pencil artist, one a watercolorist, and then there’s me….the photographer.  A very unlikely TRIO for a collaboration, for sure.  But, we set out to see if we could make it work.  We kept it our little secret in case we weren’t successful, and we collaborated in the car, at each other’s homes and on email throughout the weeks to come.  The challenge was this:  each artist contributed one piece for the theme TREES, and it would be passed to the other two for embellishment and change until it emerged as one cohesive and original work of art.  When we were finished we would have three pieces, a TRIO of works.

My first challenge as a photographer was to choose a photograph that could serve as a foundation piece for the others.   We met together one morning to share our foundation pieces.  Now my biggest challenge emerged.  What in the world do I add to these beautiful watercolors and colored pencil drawings to make it work?  Originally we had talked about working independently, but soon it became apparent that collaborating along the way was going to be the best plan.  I needed the most guidance of the three of us because….well, I told you I have a handicap when it comes to art.  After they were finished, we discussed how we would sign the pieces. They belonged to all three of us, but three signatures would have overwhelmed the pieces.  We thought about using last initials, which were B for Barham (Leslie), L for Lacy (Frances) and T for Temples.  BLT!  A sandwich.  How fitting!  We had layered our works together, creating tantalizing original art.  Let’s go with it!!

We are very proud of the results, which are now matted, framed and hanging in the Annual Christmas Exhibition of the Firnew Farm Artists Circle through December 27th.  You can see them at The Culpeper Cheese Company in Culpeper VA.  The opening reception is December 1, 4-6 pm.  Please join us if you can!

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