Touch the Ground Plane Vicariously

INTRO           This article features photography by Annie Wright. In architecture, environmental design, and visual arts, the ground plane is a significant object for consideration, having impact on a visitor or viewer. Wright’s photographs exhibit recognition of place as a composition of surfaces, where materials join and contour each other along their many edges. The ground plane is that surface to which a subject is oriented such as a building standing above the horizon in a grassy dell. As well, the surface of a lake may serve a composition like ground. The use of the ground plane is seen as space in Wright’s photographs. These spaces of different ground planes influence a relationship (of perception) between the viewer and the subject. While drawing a reader’s attention to the space of a ground plane, this writing supplements selected works by photographer Annie Wright.

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Shadows on the ground plane reflect an impression of the ambient surroundings. The shapes are fabricated or grown from essential matter, the materials we know from experience. The spaces we can pass through tell time’s passage as shadows are cast across the ground by sunlight.

© Annie Wright, photographer
Left: Columns in Ireland. Right: Urban grove in Paris. Photos © Annie Wright, photographer

In colonies or groves, communal ecosystems are populated and influenced. Established on the earth’s settled surface, they are commonsensically oriented to gravity. Areas that show similarity can be understood by elucidating the arrangement, patterns, and proportions of the surroundings. Repeated patterns of objects make an imprint on the sensory world.

Images translate the physical constitution of visible elements. Objects are justified by their positions. When firm ground is not visible in relation to an object, is a framework for design, form, or geometry credible?

© Annie Wright, photographer
Left: Woods in Ireland. Right: Graveyard in Morocco. Photos © Annie Wright, photographer

In photography, the viewer is presented the privilege of vantage. A relationship between the viewer and a focal subject or destination can be interpreted with use of ground. The prominence of the ground can be made clear in a photographer-controlled composition. Through halls, a viewer’s intrigue is compelled by depth and perspective. The ground may be focused in the foreground and floor patterns may enhance perspective in the scene. The ground may be environmental with control of a faraway out-of-focus horizon or bokeh (blurry parts of a photo). The viewer’s prospect in a photograph is supported by the principle plane of location, typically the ground.

© Annie Wright, photographer
Left: Hotel to Agatha Christie that opened for refugees. Right: Temporary structure in Morocco. Photos © Annie Wright, photographer

Viewers may perceive a sense of place from architectural photographs with framing that is greatly influenced by the setting. When both the environment and subject matter are either urban or architectural then the picture plane might exhibit a homogeneous habitat. The whereabouts of lighting is exposed in a photograph and can inform a viewer’s response to the image.

© Annie Wright, photographer
Left: Lane in Orkney. Right: Hallway in Morocco. Photos © Annie Wright, photographer

The tactility of a ground plane can change direction in a photograph. When the ground plane has an appreciably smooth junction with other surfaces, then the surrounding physical environment may exhibit sculptural plasticity in a continuum of surfaces. The impression of a ground plane surface may seem to defy gravity with sculptural effect. Architectural materials are pliable or mouldable, finished with texture or tint. Streets and lanes are a shapely manifesto for remodeled urban forms that move upward, from the ground.

© Annie Wright, photographer
Left: Morocco. Right: Ficus in Morocco. Photos © Annie Wright, photographer

The surface aspect of a ground plane can redress the photographic viewer in an environmental immersion, of nearly unchanging tone and texture. A potential direction of travel subtly curves on the ground plane and vanishes behind a mass, either a monolithic wall or dwarfish knoll. The prospect of wandering through these scenes is swayed by the horizon line and any relative scale depicted.

© Annie Wright, photographer
Left: Street in Orkney. Right: Sheep path in Ireland. Photos © Annie Wright, photographer

A viewer’s curiosity can take a turn during their engagement with a photograph. The photographed subject matter is a route to understanding the subject. Environmental scale in a photograph may depict the scenery of a habitat: either a natural topography with a road cut, or an urban alleyway remnant of town-making. The observable essence of a place shown in scenic photography will have a consistent material attribute such as texture or color. Whatever which is obscured in the depth of field may be more of the same character as seen in the image.

© Annie Wright, photographer
Path and wall in Orkney. Photo © Annie Wright, photographer

The ground plane in an image may be the impactful flat space controlled by gravity or buoyancy. It is a matter of physical science. It can be treated in many ways in forms and images. Its relationship to the subject can be understood. A figure, a building, an animal, a person, or dainty figurine pictured photographically have a context that can be considered as simply as the plane to which they have orientation for existence.

© Annie Wright, photographer
Left: Creature in Ireland. Right: Figurine. Photos © Annie Wright, photographer

The ground plane sustains the subjects shown in the selected photographs by Annie Wright. The photographer makes time for the Cloud Appreciation Society and archaeological excavation at a World Heritage Site.


Written by CPG


Annie Wright, photographer.


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