Week 7: Photo Brief Assignment

Meeting the Challenges of Photo Brief Assignment in a Day

Last Sunday when Dayana contacted me about pairing up for our reciprocal photo brief assignment I was excited and couldn’t wait to read her brief… a bit after midnight on Monday morning, I downloaded it:




Project Manager/Creator: Dayana Sharon Marconi. Client information: An International Architectural Design Studio commissioned to create the project of a residential building combining traditional and modern elements of the architecture of Abu Dhabi.







Business: Architecture, Design Photographer: Mandisa Mauring

Title of the project: “The Geometries of Abu Dhabi”

Location: Abu Dhabi

Creative assignment:“Taking inspiration from the practitioners discussed during this topic, form pairs and set each other a short brief to work on throughout the week. You should be sympathetic to each other’s locations, circumstances, resources, commitments and also - their current practice. The ‘shoot’ should not exceed a couple of hours at most, and you may be as prescriptive as you like! When your partner sends you their brief for you to consider and then fulfill, try to keep track of your creative thought process.”

Scope of the project/Objectives: The aim of this project is creating a different vision of the Architecture in Abu Dhabi: not only a comparison between ancient and new buildings, but portraying sections of them to analyze how their geometries evolved in time. The photographer will be required not to portray the whole buildings, but sections of them, focusing on lines and details, in order to allow the commissioner to insert all those elements into the project the Agency will create, enabling the architects to combine all provided elements into their final project.

Project requirements:

  • Details of ancient and modern buildings in Abu Dhabi with a specific focus on geometries (lines, shapes);

  • Images will be provided in digital;

  • Colour images (no black and white), in order to better understand how those geometriesare combined with the colours of the City;

  • Portrayed sections can be both related to residential and historical buildings;

  • Portrayed sections can be: geometrical elements of buildings, lines of buildings,

  • architectural elements, sections of buildings;

Audience: The audience of the photographical project must be considered the Architectural Design Studio, but also the final Customer, since the images itself will be used during the presentation of the final project. Tone/Feelings: The images, using the required elements, must recreate a clear image of the fascination an observer, with a strong interest in architecture, would feel observing Abu Dhabi’s cityscape. Colours to be used and not used: No limitations, but all images must be coordinated creating a structured small project, also in regards to the used images’ postproduction. Desired results & Vision: The Agency wants something different from the usual architectural photography, the photographer is completely free to experiment new solutions. The “Vision” is to create something new out of elements actually present into the architecture of Abu Dhabi, without being influenced by images of whole buildings, in order to create something completely new.

Time/date scheduled for the photography: The ‘shoot’ should not exceed a couple of hours, scheduled according to Photographer Time-zone. The Photographer itself will decide what to portray, in a limited range of time, to represent the City

at its best.


  • Architecture

  • Elements

  • Geometries – close up

  • Lines

  • Colours

  • Experimentation

Competition: The Agency wants to be different than its competition because of the use of the elements and geometries that compose the ancient and modern architecture of Abu Dhabi and not using images of the whole buildings that are integral parts of it.

Delivery Format: You will need to compile your edited project and post this in your CRJ. Deadlines: Updates deadlines – On a daily basis in accordance to both parts needs and time-zones (Type of contact TBD). Final deadline – Friday, 4th November 2016

Budget: None (We are a serious Agency and so this project will be paid, like the best tradition requires, in VISIBILITY!!!)


Needless to say, seriously impressive and a challenge, a challenge l thought, with proper time management l will no doubt be able to meet… I began to research and visualise how I was going to approach photographing the different buildings I had in mind… I decided that I would need at least two hours per building – to acquaint myself, studying in detail their shapes, forms, colours, observing the light, highlights, shadows… I would need to form a kind of relationship to something that could not reciprocate or care to, yes it was all neatly planned out in my head…

But of course life and that independent notion of time had other plans, soon enough I was reminded of Murphy’s Law… my well thought out scenario was thrust into a hopeless crystal of wishful thinking. After four months my container shipment arrived from Jerusalem, two containers, 40 ft and 20 ft filled with over 650 boxes of various sizes, I watched as the movers unload them one by one stopping to have me verify their identity. As the hours dragged on and the heat, humidity and flies build up, Dayana’s photography brief seemed like a distant dream. For the last days this has been my life. It is approximately 6:06 on Friday, 4 November 2016, the day of the deadline, I am writing part of my reflection piece minus the photos. However, in a few minutes I will get ready and set out to complete this assignment in defiance to time, with a very altered plan that includes 15 minutes per building and 15 to 30 minutes driving in between. I have not slept – I took the time surfing the net, building a relationship with my selected buildings in Abu Dhabi, they might look very different in reality, I might be disappointed, the weather might not be good but one thing is sure, I will capture these buildings with a reflective, appreciative mind that knows time waits for none and sometimes we have to do what we have to do and make the best out of it.


Nothing went as planned. After a promising start, time soon caught up with me, I resorted to desperate measures to complete the task. I forged forward and started snapping buildings from a moving car – the opposite of my well-meaning intentions. In the end I am surprisingly pleased with most of the images. The most challenging part of this assignment was the limited time in which to complete a complex photo task, also it was a hot and humid day, the further away from the buildings the foggier the air, rendering the buildings with a terrible dullness that no camera, prime lens or photo-shopping can save. In the end l photographed what I could at close proximity and the rest via the car – I seriously do not recommend this method as it poses some degree of risk to you, but most importantly your camera :D

Mission Accomplished! I think…

#falmouthuniversity #mainphotography #photographybrief #DayanaSharonMarconi #AbuDhabi #TheGeometriesofAbuDhabi #MODULE1WEEK7 #NOVEMBER

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