This is the Minnesota state senate chamber. Though it isn’t legible in this photo, there is text in the semi-circle above the Speaker’s podium. In Latin it says, “Vox Populorum Est Vox Dei.” Translated it means “The voice of the people is the voice of God.” That’s got to be encouraging for the senators who may think that when they pass legislation, they are speaking for God.
As my loyal readers may remember, this isn’t the first photo I’ve posted of the capitol building in St. Paul. But, unlike the others, it isn’t HDR. The reason is that visitors only have access to this balcony when on a guided tour. And our tour only had a few minutes in this room.
Also, unlike my other capitol building photos, which reveal an obsession with symmetry, there is little linear symmetry in this photo. But there is unity. When I stepped into this room, I was immediately struck by all of the circles that are present. To me, the circular shapes make this room much more friendly and inviting. Was that the architect’s intent?
Though I don’t know the architect’s intent, I do know that the circle has long been a symbol of unity, wholeness and even of femininity. (Back off, Freud!). And, in some circles (pardon the pun) the circle is a symbol of God. And in writing this sentence, today’s post has made a complete circle (pun again?). God is mentioned in the first paragraph. And the last sentence ends with the word “God.” Or should I say “Deus?”
In his song “You Can Call me Al” Paul Simon sings
He is a foreign man
He is surrounded by the sound
Cattle in the marketplace
Scatterlings and orphanages
He looks around, around
He sees angels in the architecture
Spinning in infinity
He says Amen! and Hallelujah!
I’ve never understood the lyrics of this song, but I do like the line that refers to “angels in the architecture.” And if you look closely at any building like the Minnesota state capitol building, there are angels everywhere. But in this photo, it seems that there actually is an angel. And I hadn’t seen it until after I picked the title for the post.
If you look at all three of my HDR capitol photos over the last few days, you will see an attempt at achieving perfect symmetry in my composition. Frankly, I’m a bit obsessive about it and I spend considerable time in framing the photo trying to get the lines perfect and if they aren’t perfect, I fix them in the crop. Good or bad? I don’t know. But in capitol building architecture there seems to be plenty of balance and symmetry and my photos strive to capture that.
I had mentioned yesterday that I didn’t get enough time in the Minnesota state capitol building the other day. I made up for that by going back late yesterday morning. I knew when I went that I was going to take several series of photos with my camera on a tripod so that I could later process them into high dynamic range photos (HDR).
This photo was taken on the second floor looking west. One of the things I like about the way the camera interprets this space is the way it sees color. The columns and the stairs are lit by a skylight but the space behind the columns is lit by incandescent lighting. The space behind the columns is warm and the columns are a cooler gray due to this lighting.
The other thing I like in this photo is the amount of texture that is present. I think that texture can be both something you feel (such as the tops of the Corinthian columns) and can be something you see (such as the variegated stone in the columns.) And there is plenty of both in this scene.
I will be posting at least two more from my “Minnesota State Capitol” series. I hope you like HDR architecture.
Canon 5DIII 1/5s f/6.3 ISO400 16mm
Lately, I have become very conscious of the role that texture plays in my photography and that what attracts my eye is often the textures in a scene, not the scene itself. And because textures are enhanced (or even caused) by light, photography is all about light. The word photography literally means “writing with light.” Study this photo and if you can see the textures, you can see the light.
Having said that, it’s hard not to see all of the textures in this photo, which is of the south facade of the Minnesota State Capitol building in St. Paul. I liked the color version but when I turned it into black and white, the textures became more important than the color.
For those who care, these columns are Corinthian in style, which is characterized by the elaborate design at the top, known in architecture as the capital.