Friday, March 26, 2021

Another Day, Another Aesthetic: Accidentally Wes Anderson

Being part of a number of photography related social media groups, inevitably, members like to show off their skills and weekly competitions are commonplace.  Occasionally, if the theme grabs me or if I have a suitable image or I'm up for a challenge, I enter.

Last week, the Midland Photography Group set its weekly competition theme as "Experimental."  I immediately had an image in mind and after checking that the definition of "experimental," could include editing techniques (it can), I uploaded my entry.  (Some members of the photographic community can be quite pedantic and one still intimated that experimental should not include use of Photoshop, which I found a bit baffling, as everything in my composite image was photographed by me).  Semantics aside, my image won and is now in the virtual hall of fame on the group's UK Showcase page.

I mention this because winning meant that I got to choose the next theme.  Whilst many of my photographs are quite nature-centric, my tastes are actually quite eclectic.  I can enthuse about all genres of photography.  Opportunity is key to what I capture and none of us have been particularly well travelled in the last 12 months.  Accordingly, at present, I'm limited to my home environment, immediate local area and the cat.  So in a departure from the style of photographs I've been uploading of late, I opted for Minimalist photography.  In fact,  anyone who knows me or has visited our house will know that one thing I can never be accused of, it's being minimalist!

Minimalist photography is defined as being distinguished by extreme, austere simplicity.  It emphasises negative space, creating breathing room for the eyes and uses a minimum amount of components such as colour, shape, line and texture.  Here are a couple of examples from my archives.

Buoyed up by my self imposed challenge, I quite fancied capturing some appropriate architecture.  The most obvious place, which is close to home with plenty of clean lines and utilitarian buildings was Halfpenny Green Airport (now Wolverhampton Business Airport), which was built in 1941 as an aerodrome for the Royal Air Force.

It was a beautiful spring day when we visited and I was struck by the patina of the corrugated iron and the old paintwork.  Something about the washed out pastel shades stirred thoughts of the Film Director Wes Anderson's unique aesthetic...and so down the second visual aesthetic rabbit hole in a week I went!

As a film fan, I'm ashamed to say that I have only seen three of Wes Anderson's films - Lost in Translation, The Royal Tenenbaums and Fantastic Mr Fox.  However, I am an admirer of his visual style.  I follow the hashtag #accidentallywesanderson on Instagram (there's a book by the same name, celebrating the style adored by millions).

So in tribute, I've been exploring any images of mine which may have subconsciously been inspired by Wes.

This door in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter, captured just prior to the first lockdown, is a good example of the vivid pop pastel colours he favours.

Similarly, these images, taken in the crumbling Wordsley Manor (originally built in around 1757 by Black Country Industrialists), give a nod to the aforementioned vivid colour palette and epitomise faded grandeur.

Symmetry also plays its part in Wes Anderson's style, as illustrated by this images taken on the Severn Valley Railway....

....and this one through the doors of The Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton.

I like the idiosyncrasy of this image taken in Normandy....and again, the pop pastel colours.

Coloured corridors.

Finally, this one may require some explanation depending upon how much a Wes Anderson fan you are.  For some reason a couple of years ago, I felt moved to photograph my Mom in the most ordinary of settings - a supermarket.  The colours just popped, but only now, can I also relate this to the closing scene of a Wes Anderson film.  Anyone care to hazard a guess?  My clue is:  It might fox you.

Have a great weekend!  I'm off for my jab!


  1. Hello Claire, well done on the experimental photo competition - it is a great shot and very well deserving. I especially love the minimal aerial lines photo (train? telegraph?) that look like they are disappearing into the clouds.

    Monsieur keeps on telling me I need to watch 'The Royal Tenebaums'. I loved Lost in Translation (but wasn't that Sophia Coppola - who also did the Virgin Suicides and whom I thought couldn't put a foot wrong until she made Marie Antoinette :0)

    Hope you are feeling ok after your jab & I greatly look forward to your next post. Lulu x

  2. Hi Lulu, Lovely to hear from you and thank you for the kind comments. I have studiously avoided Marie Antoinette! I felt surprisingly well after my jab - I didn't even get any tenderness in my arm and yet two of my friends - vaccinated on the same day - suffered flu-like symptoms through the night and for the remainder of the weekend. Strange how we all react differently. x


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