portrait blair parkinson
1 traveller 35 countries 50 photographs
blair parkinson is an architectural graduate, designer, and freelance travel photographer. he is an honours graduate from victoria university of wellington. originating from new zealand, his photographs are reďŹ‚ections of his experiences and travels, accumulated and intensiďŹ ed into two publications; landscape and portrait.
thru thepetra, gaps jordan
Anyone who has seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade has pined for the chance to visit the ruins of Petra. One of the true seven wonders of the world, the trip to the site helps brace one for the overall gravity of the moment and of the situation. An hour and a half stroll through a canyon gorge culminates in a moment of pure exhilaration as one notices ďŹ nally that the end of the journey is over. This image reďŹ‚ects that brief moment. The warm hues of the gorge almost hide the wonder that awaits. The man-made nature of Petra however beams through the light ďŹ lled area and beckons one further
come hither barcelona, spain
Antoni Gaudiâ€™s Sagrada Famila is a masterpiece of architecture in my opinion. Exploring the cathedral was a life changing joy. The mans mind must have been a maze of surreal fruit bowls and articulated sand castles. Through all the details, sculptures and spaces of the building, one of my favourite parts of the building was the front door. Large cast metal text adorns the oversized entry. The detail of it is divine. The shadows created by the form of the text excites
in the gutter antwerp, belgium
The wind died down, the water calmed. A reďŹ‚ection of a nearby church materialised. The juxtaposition worked nicely. I like how the image of the church arises from the water in a ghost like manner, The coldness of the surrounding stone pavement adds a harsh, yet calming frame to the rather hectic geometry of the spire
cider bubbles ljubjana, slovenia
“Hold it right there” I said to Toby as, in between a lot of drinking, I decided to take a photo of our chosen poison. “This bubble wont hold for long” I slurred. I didn’t think much of the image I took until I got home and noticed the slight reﬂections housed within the bubble, hinting at a larger curved world just beyond.
dawn ﬁ shing varanasi, india
Waking up at dawn is not that fun at the best of times. But waking up before dawn to see dawn itself is even less attractive. Unless you happen to be in the mystical city of Varanasi, India. The Ganges laps against stepped edges of the city and everything from clothing, bodies and rubbish can be seen ﬂoating amongst the bathers and religious worshippers. We hired a boat and set off down the river. This was the quickest sun rise I had ever seen; the sun physically moving upwards in front of your eyes, reaching a suitable summit in a little under a quarter of an hour. The haze of smog and early morning mist gave off brilliant colours and the location of the sunrise made possible some amazing silhouettes. You can see foreign bodies ﬂoating in the water - a reminder that you are on one of the most sacred lengths of water in the world.
Sintra is a Unesco protected heritage city, located a mere one hours train journey from the capital of Portugal; Lisbon. We decided to trek up the hill and admire the ancient castle ruins and palace that overlook the city below. A walk through the surrounding forests ensued. I was playing around with the aperture priority settings of my camera and decided to take this photo of a lonely clover sprouting forth from a mossy log. The green wash, with a sharp contrast, added to the depth of ďŹ eld created with the higher aperture I was using. Moments like this are great. When you can capture an image of a seemingly small and uninteresting object, and make it into a favourite photo, it afďŹ rms the fact that everything in the world is worth at least second of your time
solitary atonement madrid, spain
Getting lost in a city is fun to do, especially when you are a new visitor and the area is completely unexplored. Strolling through the back streets of Madrid on a Sunday morning, away from all the hustle and bustle of the markets in the city centre, I came across some fellow journeymen walking my path. The morning light cast off the white walls of the nearby buildings and brought a dull contrast to the small street. The distinct ďŹ‚avour of Spanish architecture was seen highlighted in the lampshades and balustrades. I quietly took a photo of one of these strollers, alone in his thoughts. The peaceful nature of his way reďŹ‚ected itself within the captured image. I chose to shoot in black and white to add to the heavy mood of the atmosphere.
collectable madrid, spain
The markets in Madrid are amongst the greatest goods markets in Europe. It was supposedly meant to be a lazy Sunday when I stepped out of my central city hostel and strolled down the streets nearby. A thriving crowd conﬁrmed the markets’ status. Anything of quirky antiquity you could ﬁnd and purchase. I was interested in then small toy vehicles; cars, bikes and ﬁre engines. The wear and tear depicted the age, as well as the sun faded colours. The positioning warranted a close up photograph, one that left no room at the edges for negative space. The high contrast of the scene helps to round out the image.
frenchparis, twist france
Deciding to play with the idea of light and shutter speed, I set about undertaking a series of photographs that depict possibly on of the worlds most famous landmarks in a different light. The dancing nature of the light across the right hand side of the image adds to the ďŹ‚amboyant and delicate nature of the city.
new york city, united states of america
The distinctive yellow cabs of New York City seem to have a rule of the roads. The pilgrimage walk over the Brooklyn Bridge offered many a yellow cab to capture on ďŹ lm. It is the motion and angles captured in this image that have me drawn to it time and again. The bright yellow colour of the cab grabs your eye and the slant of the road and bridge lead it away into the architecture of Brooklyn beyond
The Carrick-a-rede swing bridge, located in Northern Ireland, is a must do day trip for anyone visiting Belfast or the area around. Traditionally ďŹ sherman erected the bridge to Carrick-a-rede island over a 23m deep and 20 wide chasm to check their salmon nets. Nowadays it has become a fun experience for the visiting traveller. Originally the rope bridge boasted only a single rope handrail to one side. Fortunately for us, the had managed to assess the danger and provide a sturdier support to make the journey slightly easier.
As I entered the gates of the Taj Mahal, I was grabbed suddenly and whisked away by an Indian fellow that decided he wanted to take me to all the hot spots for getting photos of the building. Most of them were obvious, but he did help out on a few occasions when I wanted to get my own picture taken. This image was taken in possibly the most obvious of all spots, yet it still is a favourite of mine. The reďŹ‚ection is insanely crisp and the blue tints that adorn the base of the reďŹ‚ection pond add to the richness of the scene. The Taj was one of them most spectacular places I have ever been in my life and it will always hold a special place in my heart
camden london, seating england
Camden is the alternative, bohemian sector of a very busy London City. As boroughsâ€™ go, Camden attracts more visitors than most , boasting the title of the third most visited tourist attraction in the whole of London. The style of the place is varied and exciting. These chairs, that line the side of the lock, were made from old scooters. The colours and unorthodox nature of this seating adds to that Camden spice. When you are fed up with haggling for a scarf, you can always grab a Chinese or Turkish takeaway, ďŹ nd one of these seats and take a quick break
eye london, motion england
The London Eye is a fantastic addition to this fast paced, yet highly antique city. From what I understand, it is a huge money spinner for the place as well. Although one may look at this image and instantly disregard it as poor use of low level lighting, I would tend to disagree. The eye, as a moving sculpture, can all to easily be captured in a static image. The beauty of dusk, it that you can lengthen your shutter speed and make full use of the varying colours of sky that seem to become more apparent at that time of the day. I like the perspective of this image to; the pods of the eye falling away in an arc beyond. Their darkened underbellies a contrast to the lightweight and light coloured structure that supports them. The blue / purple hue adds to the fun.
cannon fodder edinburgh, scotland
A trip to Edinburgh would not be complete without a visit to the great castle that overlooks the city. A step back into the middle ages introducers the traveller to a medieval era, full of swords, turrets and cannons. This photo was taken of the famous â€˜Mons Megâ€™ Cannon, a huge beast that is one of the oldest cannons in the world. Back when it was in working order, the gun could ďŹ re a cannonball a whopping 2 miles. As a storm shower had just passed overhead, the heat from the sun started warming up the remaining water that was pooled on the cannons plinth. I saw the interesting shapes and decided upon a black and white contrast photo.
hahei reďŹ‚ ections hahei, new zealand
Hahei is a quite coastal town located in the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealands North Island. It was one of the camping destinations I visited as a child and returning to its sandy shores brought back memories of yesteryears. The weather was beautiful as I took this shot; a well placed cloud echoed the curvature of the shoreline below. The hill and its sibling reďŹ‚ection leads the eye nicely into the image while the photo seems to let off a calming disposition. In times of stress, this photo is all I need.
Overcome by the huge numbers of tourists in the area and dampened by the weather, we decided to spend the afternoon camping out in a nearby bar and drinking the best beer that Belgium has to offer.
enter here tirana, albania
After backpacking round most of the common destinations in Europe, our arrival into Albania gave us a reality check. Albania, although a naturally beautiful country, does not share the same wealth as that of its European Union neighbours. This fact was reinforced whilst we strode through the capital Tirana. Rubbish adorned the streets, a grim architectural aesthetic darkened the urban space. This photo was taking whilst walking down the main road of the city. Although not a technically brilliant image, I enjoy it for what it is; a reminder of a poor city struggling. All too often we see travel photographs highlighting amazing and serene environments. This one, I like to think, differs from that. I also enjoy the visual direction employed by my friend Craig and the building sign above his head. It makes it pretty clear what the focus of the image is all about.
los angeles, united states of america
Surprisingly, I wasnâ€™t that trigger happy with the photo taking whilst I walked the beaches of Los Angeles. It was when was walking out onto the Santa Monica pier that I looked down the beach and decided to get the camera out. The variations of the sand interested me greatly, whilst the large roller made me wonder its purpose. Is it to ďŹ‚atten the sand? The hills of Los Angeles and the typical lifeguard tower, made famous by Baywatch, rounded out one of the few photos I reeled off.
mount sinai, egypt
The climb up Mount Sinai was exhausting enough. As we all perched precariously on the edge of the summit, we let our fears fall by the wayside.
new york city, united states of america
As I stepped into my ďŹ rst Frank Lloyd Wright building, the weight of his greatness hit me like a steam roller. I had never really been a fan of the oddly shaped New York Guggenheim prior to my visiting it, until I stepped inside. It all made sense. The large skylight ďŹ lled the atrium space with a soft light. The scene called for a monochrome photograph, one that simply celebrates the nature of this light. The forms within the atrium come into stark contrast when you heighten the sense of white space. I love how that form also brings about a gradual fade of the light as it makes its way around the internal balustrade
cathedral cove, new zealand
Cathedral Cove has always been a special place for me. I ďŹ rst stepped through the natural gate when I was a young boy, enjoying the beachside with my family. The hole in the rock and the rock formations that surround the area are created through years and years of tidal waters pounding against the soft rock and eating through it. This image highlights the heavy nature of the rock above your head as you take the short stroll through it. The light at the end of the tunnel is nothing short of paradise
ray of light prague, czech republic
We had one day in Prague so it became a â€˜lets make the most of thisâ€™ kind of day. Unfortunately, the weather did have other plans and our morning was spent dodging raindrops as a dark and cloudy sky hung overhead. Upon reaching the Charles Bridge, the skies opened up and visible sun rays began peering out around the edges of the clouds that had been holding them back for so long. A nearby statue of a saint, black and dark apart from the golden cross in his hand offered a photo opportunity almost too good to pass up. The heavenly image was captured and the clouds cleared off, allowing us to enjoy the spoils that Prague had to offer.
monkey madrid, attack spain
The monkey scaled the fence like a professional, seeking his lunch. I had to be quick to get his photo. My lagging battery power slowed the auto focus feature of the lens. I was left willing the camera to work harder. Low light meant that a rare moment of little movement was required to capture a sharp and focused monkey. His arm movement was tolerable, as the eyes and expression on the face explored further than that. He was in this position for a few seconds before grabbing at a piece of fruit and moving on.
see also: landscape
Published on Sep 10, 2011