weekly photo challenge: juxtaposition

Louvre Museum, Paris
Louvre Museum, Paris

I like to explore contrasts and juxtapositions in my jewellery designs – a bright polished surface set against areas of oxidation, combining different metals, the line dividing texture from a smooth finish.

I’m also fascinated by the way that urban spaces combine different architectural elements, how and why some work, and some, quite spectacularly, don’t.

I know that The Louvre Pyramids were initially controversial, but when we visited I thought they were spectacular. The glass sometimes allows an altered view through to the surrounding buildings, and sometimes reflects them in odd ways. I was lucky enough to be there at the end of a very cold February day, with the blush of the sunset just catching the main pyramid. The angular tip of the pyramid and the curve of the old roofline are reflected together in an icy wet courtyard.

Museum and gallery buildings seem be very adept at successfully combining different, often contrasting, elements, perhaps because that’s basically what they do in their collections. Here is a view of the Great Court in The British Museum, with the original buildings and exhibits unfolding under the geometric shapes of the modern glass roof.

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Great Court, The British Museum

Here is one final museum photograph, the Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Palma. The original building is part of the Renaissance city wall, with beautiful stonework and traditional archways, which are tantalisingly revealed and framed by the clean lines of the modern additions.

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Es Baluard Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

Some juxtapostions are less harmonious. The inside of the new Departure Hall at Kings Cross Station is quite majestic, and slightly reminiscent of the Great Court, with its soaring geometric roof. I think this bit looks really incongruous though, as if it was just plonked down in a terraced street.

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Why does this juxtaposition not work, when the others do? Or maybe you disagree. Maybe juxtaposition, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.


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