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Photo of the Month - exploring the Story behind the Image...

Pyramids at the Pyramids

Pyramids at the Pyramids

Year: 2011, Month: October

Egypt > Al Qahirah > El-Qahira (Cairo)

In my October 2010 edition of 'Photo of the Month' I talked about Defining the Iconic, and what a challenge it was to take photographs of somewhere that was instantly recognisable, somewhere that had been already filmed so many times before. The example used then was the clock tower of Big Ben, adjacent to the Houses of Parliament in London, England.

This month, I've been travelling on a different continent: Africa to be precise, as I reach the end of an epic Overland journey that started in Gibraltar last November, and has taken me down the west coast of Africa to Cape Town, and then up the eastern side of the continent to Cairo, in Egypt.

The one thing, of course, that Cairo is known for are the Pyramids at Giza. Their imposing size, their great age, and their very simple outline shape make them possibly the most iconic image on the planet. How on earth was I to approach the task of getting a new type of image of such well known and recognised shapes? Hadn't the photographing of such marvels been covered already in every possible way, shape and form? It was a daunting task, but also a challenging one. Never one to give up easily, I set out for Giza with a couple of cameras and as open a mind as I could manage.

Of all the different shots I ended up with, here's the one that I like the best. It shows a vendor's stall with a range of pyramid models and paper-weights for sale. By using a 12mm lens and carefully choosing the field of view and point of focus, I was able to pick out the pyramid models whilst including in the background all three of the real, full-sized pyramids of Giza. In front of the pyramids are some groups of tourists that balance the composition quite nicely and provide a much-needed reference of scale. The ever-decreasing texture of the sand shows that the scene is real, that the background pyramids are indeed in the far distance, and are not an optical illusion.

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