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End Frame – “Poverty Flats” by David Ward

Paul Arthur chooses one of his favourite images

Paul Arthur

Paul Arthur

Paul is a commercial architectural photographer in Birmingham and sometimes dabbles in a little landscape photography when he is allowed out!

Like anyone asked to pick an End Frame, I feel a little intimidated by the prospect. How do you pick your favourite ever image? I don’t know that I could do that. The problem is that if I chose a favourite image now, it may well not be my favourite tomorrow, and almost certainly wouldn’t be my favourite in a year.

What is more interesting is to find the image that has taught me the most over my photographic career. As my day job is as an architectural photographer, I had a list of architectural images that I considered, such as one of the images of the TWA Terminal at Idlewild Airport (now JFK) by Ezra Stoller, something contemporary like this by Iwan Baan, or frankly any number of masterpieces by Julius Schulman. But although these images have taught me crucial things about composition and exposure in architectural photography, the images themselves are essentially all about the subject. The success of an image is almost entirely dependent on the building, and although if you are able to analyse it critically, you can learn specific lessons in problem-solving related to architectural photography, I haven’t come across an architectural image that has actually changed the way I see the world.

Given that you are reading this in a magazine specifically orientated towards landscape photography, you will probably breathe a sigh of relief when I say that the image that I feel has made me really see things differently is a landscape one.

As a regular contributor to On Landscape, it’s possible that David Ward may read this article, and so I hope he forgives me for talking about one of his images, and I want to assure you that I have chosen it for good reasons, and not because I am a sycophant.

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  • herb1815

    Stunning image from the master, great end frame choice and well written
    end frame.
    Thank you Paul

  • One of favourite DW images….maybe just after Vik Beach :0)


  • gibbins217

    I have only recently discovered this image Paul, and indeed ( I’m ashamed to say ) the work of David, I’m finding it all very refreshing, it has given my own work a new lease of life. I’m not sure I would of appreciated it any earlier in my journey.
    Great choice of image, well written, thank you

  • Adam Pierzchala

    Hi Paul, good choice. When I first had the pleasure of seeing this image it was as a large framed print and it blew me away. It has stayed in my mind as very few others have; it is as inspirational today as it was in around 2007 – I think – when I first saw it. The transparency is just exquisite. Your analysis is excellent and distills the reasons for this photograph’s success.

  • Peter O’Neil


    Wonderful article that captures well what intrigued me too upon first seeing this image by David. My initial visual confusion forced me to make sense of what it is and what it isn’t, something that a good photograph always asks of the viewer. Many thanks.


  • Paul Arthur

    Thanks for all your kind comments. I’m glad that it wasn’t seen as a cop out. David’s work has definitely steered my on my journey through landscape photography, and so it was important to me to identify where it all started.

  • Hi Paul, Good choice. I like your comment about images making us curious as well as or rather than contented so that the viewer is more actively engaged. Interesting that you refer to the negative space as a ‘scar’ – it reminded me of a ribbon. I like the fact that there is room in this image for the viewer to bring their own interpretation.

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