Photoessay: The texture of geometry

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Every image but the last one in this series is a (limited) study in interior texture of one city – Berlin. It’s interesting that despite the difference in eras, buildings, purposes, constructors, architects, designers and users – there remains a very strong Bauhaus feel to all of these places. It really felt as though one was surrounded by the minimalist, functional spirit. I’ve personally found this kind of interior to be very finely balanced – too minimalist and it feels spare and clinical; too many details and it loses the Bauhaus-ness. Even though many of these details are ornamental and not even rectilinear, the order of detail and plain, pale colors manage to suggest and retain the feeling of functional minimalism to a global level of coherence I’ve not really seen elsewhere. I suppose one could put Japan into that category, but as distinctive as such places are, it doesn’t feel as consistent because there is a much wider spread of ages of buildings (or at least ages of design). I feel there’s also a potentially deep conclusion to be made here on the convergence of culture, vision and design, but right now it eludes me… MT

This series was shot with an iPhone 11 Pro, with processing via Photoshop Workflow III.

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Prints from this series are available on request.


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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved


  1. Do you rely on the native iPhone app? Or make use of something like FilmicPro to exercise more fine control? For me the iPhone automated approach works better in most circumstances. Humiliating that it takes better photos than I do – but I’ve decided to man up and face the facts.

    • The native app works just fine for me – all you really need to control is focus, exposure and timing – two of which can be taken care of with a tap, the other with the shutter. The AI does a remarkably good job of deciding what conditions require switching to the different modes to get the best results…it’s the seamlessness that really makes it impressive compared to what we get from normal cameras.

  2. Great pictures in a great town. Did you get to City Hall, with it’s glass dome and spiral walkways?
    I’m surprised at the dynamic range you’re getting out of a phone camera. Actually, I guess I’m surprised at the quality, period.

    • I didn’t as the queues were silly and it didn’t make much sense to spend time there given the embarrassment of art riches everywhere else – I felt like more time would definitely have been useful.

      Granted these are web-sized, but you can’t easily find a workaround for color and dynamic range, I’ll give you that…

  3. jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Thanks for sharing these, Ming – I’ve loved Bauhaus and minimalist all my life.

  4. I don’t like iPhones, however truly beautiful shots, each one of them. Great job . . .

    • Thanks! Useful tools they are increasingly proving to be, though…I cannot honestly say I’ve missed not having a compact (even something like a GR) since getting the 11 Pro. The advantages of computational photography are enormous…and until the camera makers manage to join the party (who knows when given the investment in hardware and software required) – I think the advantage will only continue to grow…

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