Photoessay: Gold and Silver Forum, Schwäbisch Gmünd

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During my previous trip to Zeiss HQ in Oberkochen, the group was taken to the nearby town of Schwäbish Gmünd for a demo session with the new lenses; I passed on the models and wandered around the town with Lloyd Chambers instead. Needless to say, this rather unique building caught my eye I and landed up producing a series of studies of it. It is the Gold and Silver Forum located on the banks of the Josefsbach stream in the centre of town; I was made to understand that the reason behind it was the area being historically a centre for fine metalsmithing several hundred years ago. Today, it serves as a public space to take in the sunshine and a meal. Personally, I think the most interesting part is the way the faceted facade reflects light and simultaneously creates the illusion of having many layers and great complexity thanks to the play of projected shadows on the underlying building’s core. This was accentuated by the hard light of that particular day. The facade itself is quite a challenging subject simply because it’s difficult to fully abstract without focusing overly on a single set of apertures, and pulling out loses the shadow gradation on the structure beneath. Enjoy! MT

This series was shot with a Sony A7RII, Zeiss Batis 1.8/85, Contax Zeiss 2.8/35 PC Distagon and a Leica Q. Postprocessing was with the ‘commercial’ technique in Making Outstanding Images Ep.5: processing for style.

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Ultraprints from this series are available on request here


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  1. I love your trick of inverting a photo to create an illusion, as in #6 ! Great series from a photographer who, as a boy, puzzled his family members by taking photos with no people in them. The saga continues …-)

  2. Len Harrison says:

    Your photography never ceases to amaze me. Great stuff.

  3. Wonderful set Ming. Simply stunning. I am glad you added the last shot as it shows the mystery of the building. – Eric

  4. D. Garlans says:

    This is awesome, and very inspiring too. I’ve been drawn to some similar (vaguely) structures here in Seoul but my efforts at photographing them have not been very successful thus far. It’s really nice to see how far one can push the geometry and shapes of a location. Maybe my next outing in the city will be more successful!

  5. The reflection shot is out of this world!!!!

  6. Beautiful set, ming.

    What are your thoughts on lines perfectly meeting the corner of the frame?



    • Can be good or bad depending if there’s something in the opposite corner to balance things off, or you want to attract attention deliberately to that corner…

  7. Interesting building, amazing photographer.
    I would’ve loved to see some twilight shots of this!
    Thanks for sharing!

  8. Praneeth Raj Singh says:

    Interesting set Ming. #2 and #6, my favorites. Looks like you had some great light too.

  9. I was struck by the unusual architecture in one of these images seen earlier, but did not realize that it’s really an art-for-art’s sake shell stuck to an otherwise dull building. Shame on me for missing disconnect between illusion and reality.

  10. Gerner Christensen says:

    A very strong set Ming. Number 4 and the two last images are really stunner+ class 🙂

  11. Kristian Wannebo says:

    Fascinating studies !
    … of a fascinating house.

    Not to mention the age old rocks embracing the contrast between what we call old and new!

    ( By the way, nr:s 9 & 10 look like twins.)

  12. Ming, it seems that this combo (sony-distagon batis) have better crispness than canon? Superb photos!

  13. This set already catched my eye when you uploaded it to your flickr account.Very aesthetically attractive for me. 🙂
    Did you shoot handhold or did you carry a tripod?

  14. You haven’t been that far away from my home. 🙂
    Oliver 2.0

  15. Alex Carnes says:

    That’s an inspired set, definitely an ‘Art of Ming Thein’ series! Although one should always try to find a few minutes for models… 😉

  16. lensaddiction says:

    Love the BW with the star burst, no one sees it like you do 🙂

  17. You are a visual genius and brilliantly articulate, love your posts! Gill

  18. Wonderful images. What currently available Contax Zeiss 2.8/35 PC Distagon alternative do you recommend for those of us who can’t obtain that lens?

    • Tough question, because there are no 35mm TS options that come to mind – you either have to go wider to the 24PCE/ TSE or longer to the 45 PCE/TSE. The 35PCs are available on ebay from time to time though…

  19. squarely dazzling Ming:-)

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