Photography, Schools Out

Art on the Walls

The photos of the school are starting to run thin, it is almost time to go out and do some where else.  This is another stairwell, I would hazard a guess that they are the back stairs.  They are basic, well, I suppose all the stairs are in a school like this.  Here, take a look.

Back Stairs

Two lots of art in this stairwell, the graffiti, and we should call it art, then there is also the paintings that were left on the wall.  Though, if you look closely you can see that there is graffiti on them as well.  Apparently some graffiti artists have no qualms about ruining other artwork.  I thought they were mosaics  but I think perhaps they were paintings.

The image was taken the first time I went, and then was processed in Photomatix Back Stairs - HDR OriginalPro with 3 bracketed images.  Once back in Photoshop it was opened in camera raw and given some work.

I have used Topaz Adjust to give the image some detail, that seems to help bring out the graffiti in these images.  I desaturated the image as I thought the blue was little too much. Only one blur layer was added to it.  I did darken the whole image and lighten the wall with the art on it.

I quite like the window at the top, helps balance it out, well I hope it does.  I also did a version in Silver Efex.

Back Stairs - Silver Efex

I don’t always like the black and white versions, but with this one I do.  I didn’t like the blue.  I don’t know which one you would prefer.

It is interesting to see what they took out and what they have left.  I know my daughters did some art work that was put on the wall at their primary school, then it was removed and thrown out.  It happened after they left, but they were disappointed that their work was just chucked away.  Now someone else’s work has been left on the wall.  I don’t know why it was left, but it wasn’t nice finding it there, as though it wasn’t important and no one cared about it any more.

From Yesterday

Well, it has been over a day since my rant yesterday.  I am still disappointed, though, not so much that they said no, but because there was no discussion.  Someone mentioned putting my case to them, but I was never given an opportunity to do that.  I sent someone an email, asking about who to contact, then I was told that someone would be in touch about it, then I was told that they weren’t going to do it.

I thought that I would be given a chance to argue my case, or at least write a proposal or something.  They don’t really know me or my blog.  I also know that there are many different ways of sponsoring people.  So far, all I have done is give them lots of free publicity about their equipment and I got to play with one of their cameras for a week.

Is this the way all these companies work, I don’t know.

It is hard to understand why they give some people sponsorship and why not others.  I was given no reason why.  I have seen photographers that work for newspapers given gear by Nikon and Canon, so it is on loan, but I can’t see how that benefits them.  The only people that know about the gear are the other photographers who work for the media, and they are also getting stuff.  It is a weird world we live in.

I won’t be changing my gear, I was really upset yesterday, I think I was also in shock.  They have been a hard company to deal with, unlike Sony.

I sent an email to Sony yesterday to ask them about the a99, not long after, I received an email back to ask me what it was that I wanted to know.  I then sent an email back and about 15 minutes later my phone rang and it was the guy from Sony.  We chatted, and I told him that I was not going to be buying the camera, but he told me quite a bit about it anyway.  It was good customer service, and something that I really think is missing a lot these days.

The Sony looks like a great camera, and apparently if you have E mount lenses they will fit on it, so that makes it easier and cheaper for people to switch.  It sounds like they have put a lot of thought into the camera as well.  It also has a screen that can be moved around so you can put the camera on live view and you don’t have to look through the viewfinder in awkward places, like if the camera is up high on a tripod, or down really low.  I don’t mind saying that was appealing.

I went off track, but it has been an interesting week.  I am very happy with my decision not to get a new camera, and will stick with what I have right now for now.

Oh dear, another rant, but not an angry one this time.


  1. I’m very happy with my Sony A77 which was advised to me by Volker & Engel in Amsterdam Holland. When I told them where I needed a camera for they advised me the A77 but preferable the A99. These guys are Nikon, Canon dealers; because funny Dutch Sony politics this shop doesn’t sell the camera they in fact advise customers with certain specified needs.

    • That is pretty, cool, you have to love shops that do that sort of thing. The Sony looks really well thought out, I’m going to see if I can get over to the Sony shop and have a look at it. I hate the politics that dictate what is best for us, we get a lot of that here.

  2. I agree with you; how sad that the original art, which once lent purpose to those walls would be left behind. I love the photograph of the stairwell though. The story it tells, though a sad one, really emanates from it – the light you captured it in. I really just wanted to tell you I am enjoying your blog.

    • Thank you Twig, I agree, it is such a shame. I love hearing that Twig, it is always fantastic to hear people enjoy it.

  3. Very interesting photo – I love the original photo – the black and with … not too sure. For me graffiti is art too, when done right and mostly because of the intense colors being used. For me stands graffiti for life and joy – and the black and white makes a bit depressed in my eyes.

    • I think I like the isolation and feeling of depression that comes with the black and white one. I get what you are saying about the graffiti, though I can’t help thinking the graffiti here is more destructive. It can be beautiful art though. Thanks viveka

  4. These shots show great perspective. I can imagine the infinite amount of photo opps here. Once again, I only get creepy feelings from this location. Have you ever investigated to see if this school is haunted or not? I would def want company with me if I were shooting there.

    • I like that you get creepy feelings, I do like to hear that. I don’t think the school is old enough to be haunted and it hasn’t been closed for long. I wanted company incase there were lurkers there, that would be more scary. Thanks

    • I like the sound of both Marie, and the second part, thank you, always great to hear what other people think.

  5. phrenzel says

    love these shots of the school, terrific. As for Sony in my opinion they have some of the best gear out at the moment. I became a convert this past summer. Gone is all of my Nikon gear, except of course for my film gear. If you make a change at some point I’d seriously give them a look.

    • Thank you phrenzel, I have enjoyed working on them. I have been hearing many good things about Sony lately, they have come from no where for me. I don’t know if I will make a change, well, not now, nothing in the budget. I think if I was considering a change, I would check it out.

  6. mistymidnite says

    …and the other side of culture… is that of art. Love this !!

  7. I like the window at the top, too. Without light, I wonder sometimes if there would even be a photograph or perhaps only darkness.

    • I think that is one of the wonderful things about photography, it is all about the light, thank you Mary

  8. I like both for different reasons…I do have to agree it is a shame for a graffiti artist to destroy another artist’s work! There should be more respect…
    Good to hear you had a more productive, respectful experience with a Sony rep. Great customer service is paramount…sounds like Sony is on top of it.

    • Thanks Heather, it is terrible isn’t it. You are right, there should be respect.
      I was so amazed at their customer service, I think a lot of companies/brands, think they can continue to treat us like crap and we will keep coming back for more, not so, I hate it. Sony certainly get a thumbs up for me.

  9. I like the top photo. My eye goes straight to the blue wall with the small paintings and the big graffiti (that looks like an x-ray of a heart!). Then my eye moves around the different angles like the point of the upper lighted area and the railings that flank the point of interest–all those other angles lead back to that colorful center of interest. For me, at least. :)

    • Thank you mimiswardrobe, I love hearing peoples thoughts on my images, it is really interesting what you have said. Brilliant. :)

  10. Great photos. You have wide range of photos in your portfoli! I really liked the motocross shots. I know nothing about motocross but liked your work.

    Thank you so much for checking out my blog.

  11. Sorry to hear about the sponsorship difficulties. Great to see that you aren’t letting it get you off track. I like the b/w one because of it’s sharpness on the graffiti/art wall. In a way that seems to be the point along with the context of graffiti everywhere. Have a good week! Jennifer

    • Thank you Jennifer, I hadn’t consider that, what you said about the graffiti, good comment. Weekend has been good thanks

  12. I like both. The color for what the school once was, the B&W for what it is now.

    That’s nice to know about Sony. It sounds like the sponsorship program is rather “haphazard” at best. But, then again, I wonder if companies receive an inordinate amount of inquiries regarding new/current equipment for evaluation – and as such disregard or refuse the bulk of it without comment.

    • I like that David, what it was and what it is, great description.
      Sony were wonderful. I have no idea what they do, but it was very disconcerting. Very off putting, I did think I would get to put a case forward. Thank you David

  13. It would be interesting to see the black and white with as much detail as the color. I think it loses some of the impact in the totally shadowed areas. Great subject!I think the photography business is much like the rest of the art industry – always looking for the “hot” artist, not willing to support an artist over the long haul.

    • Thanks for your thoughts on the image midnighttheblues.
      It is like that isn’t it, shame really, but I will plod on, thank you.

  14. Leanne, I like the blue picture better. Although the emotion of the image changes with the black and white, it’s a little too dark. What is a bracketed picture?

    • Thanks Anne, is it always to good to hear people’s thoughts. A bracketed shot, is actaully a series of shots taken one after another, but each shot has a different exposure, so you have some over exposed and some under. The subject is the same, you use the bracketed shots to put together HDR images. I hope that helps to explain it.

  15. Love love love the way everything stacks up in this picture–all the lines and triangles, lights and shadows.
    I prefer the blue finish–it actually helps to slow the eye and give it somewhere to stop.

    • Thank you so much Wabi Sabi, what a great thing to say. You aren’t the only one to prefer the blue, many have.

  16. I agree with you on the colour/ B&W question – the B&W is far more impactful. It seems to emphasise the shock of seeing the abandoned paintings (which is very sad and disrespectful) in their new setting. Nice to hear about Sony – I’m thinking of upgrading my camera and love my Sony a200, so I know where I’ll look first.

    • Thank you Richard, glad you think so as well.
      Sony were great, and I keep hearing wonderful things about the cameras.

  17. i like the b&w image… its adds to the starkness and desolate atmosphere of the image
    as far as trying to get sponsorship… it is an ongoing nightmare for artists in my experience…
    oh well, we are a resilient species !

    • That is what I think too Dawn. It is a nightmare, I am not sure what I am going to do now. I will continue on. Thank you.

  18. At first I was going to say that I actually liked the little thumbnail as you could see all the detail of the staircase, but the more I looked at the B&W, the more I liked the ominous feel of it.

    • That was how I found them as well. I did the colour one first, then I couldn’t look away from the B&W. Thanks Emily.

  19. A great place to explore and reveal how time has treated a former public building. I agree graffiti is an art and more should be done to encourage taggers to develop their talents in positive ways. The color image is more interesting to me because it shows off the mosaic look of the artwork on the wall. That being said I LOVE the tonal range you achieved in the black and white image.

    I am sorry for your disappointment with the decision Nikon made about sponsorship, I hope today you are feeling better. One door closes and another opens.

    • Thank you PC, the artwork on the wall is more interesting in the colour one. It is interesting doing the images in colour and black and white.
      It was an interesting experience dealing with someone like Nikon. It would be nice, but it seems getting this blog to work is going to take a lot of hard work. Thanks again

  20. I go for the black-and-white. Think it imposes some needed unity. As Stravinsky once said, limits make art. Or something like that.

  21. Really, really like the Silver Efex B/W treatment of this image, Leanne…with so much graffiti, and all the colors (especially the BLUE!), it is difficult to ‘sort out’ the shot (my eyes wanted to turn away after only a moment!).

    Interesting about the Sony…I’ll have to check it out! Nothing, BTW, beats good customer service, does it?

    • Thank you 1000, I am so glad you like that one. I really don’t like that blue, I find it a contradiction or something. I’ve never been a fan of that blue, looks like it belongs in a babies nursery.

      Sony does sound interesting, I am going to have to go and check it out.

      • Blue in a school does not help with the boredom which sometimes occurs there, in my opinion, Leanne. Such a shame, though, that the place was abandoned!

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  23. petit4chocolatier says

    I love the shots! Each give a different feeling and that is what it is all about.

  24. This time I liked both the B&W & colour equally, and what I liked was depending on how you looked at the images, they appeared to have different dimensions.

  25. Mono enthusiast tho I am, I certainly prefer the colour version of the photo at the top of this post – taking the various blues away simply drains the mono version. Adrian

  26. The sunlight coming through the window translates better in the colour photo which gives it more vibrancy; the blur at the top of the stairs translates better in the b&w photo which gives it more ambiance.

    Where is this school?

  27. The coloured one is my favourite too. My eye is drawn to the art work and graffiti on the landing. Love it.

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