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Cadogan Hall Portrait

Download various sizes of the above photo here.

Concept

This is a portrait of Cadogan Hall. It is an impossible shot of the building required for use in the upcoming ‘Welcome to Cadogan Hall’ promotional video. There had never been a complete view showing the venue in its entirety. We were tasked with creating such a shot.

Execution

Over a period of three months and whilst photographing the inside of Cadogan Hall, a specific process had to be employed in order to create the resulting image. There were many issues to overcome in its construction – we have focused on some details here…

Brief History of the Hall.

Originally built as the First Church of the Christ, Scientist, this Grade II listed building was completed in 1907 to designs in the Byzantine Revival style by architect Robert Fellowes Chisholm.

By 1996, the congregation had diminished dramatically and the building fell into disuse. Mohamed Fayed, the then owner of Harrods, had acquired the property but was unable to secure permission to convert the building to a palatial luxury house on account of its status as a listed building. Cadogan Estates Ltd (the property company owned by Earl Cadogan whose ancestors have been the main landowners in Chelsea since the 18th century) purchased the building in 2000.
It was refurbished in 2004 by Paul Davis and Partners architects at a cost of £7.5 million. The changes included new lighting and sound systems and bespoke acoustic modules in the performance space.

Location Logistics.

5 Sloane Terrace, London. As you can see by the google map, the building is tucked away behind Sloane Square and very close to everything around it. The idea to get the full structure in frame would require some demolition. We thought the neighbours of Cadogan Hall wouldn’t appreciate this and so an alternative was considered.

A series of photographs were stitched together and adjusted for perspective. This was the base layer that was then built upon. A second (and sometimes third and fourth) wave of photographs were taken to capture specific elements to build detail into the image whilst keeping ratio and reality in mind.

 

The ‘Living’ Building.

London’s sky is ever changing. London’s weather is the same. The sun moves and reflects in the stained glass. Shadows from adjacent buildings regularly travel over the walls and the tower, the trees and the arches.  After spending a long time looking at the building you see a new level of ‘life’ and movement to the still stone structure. At the same time, Cadogan Hall is a working venue on busy streets. Deliveries, drop-offs, get ins and residents regularly occupy the area in front of the venue.

This is the life and personality of the hall. It is also one of our biggest challenges to overcome as the images collected have to be consistent and balanced without distraction so as to marry up to each other. This sometimes became a waiting game to find the perfect moment for every section.

Reality vs Idealism.

The question behind many a magazine cover.

This is not a painting or drawing of the hall. It is also not a ‘perfect’ version of the Hall. It is a digital composition to represent a photograph, an image that is supposed to represent Cadogan Hall on it’s best day, whilst at the same time be useful and versatile in future marketing purposes.

As this is the case there is the opportunity to clean away the less desirable elements that happen to every building in every city over time. A chipped piece of stone on the edge of the roof. A rain-soaked area of pavement. Some rust on a lamp post. All very real and part of the ever changing story of the building.

The level of editing, cleaning and removal of the effects of time was at our discretion – our intent throughout is to keep the image as authentic as possible. Too perfect and it starts to become unreal. Too real and it loses the sparkle that it has on some days more than others.

A Matter of Perspective.

Something that is not consciously considered when looking at an image although is very important in what the viewer perceives. To be 100% ‘dead on’ looking at an object means that a pillar would look like two straight lines next to each other. If you applied this viewpoint over the whole image, the result would feel very two dimensional.

Seeing the shadows and inside of the arches give depth and an air of reality to make the picture feel more like a photograph. This, as always, comes with its own level of discretion when compositing and also brings its own challenges. We decided to take the point of view of a person standing about halfway down Sedding Street looking towards the hall. This led the way the shadows would be seen from each section of the building that you are looking at.

Results

The resulting images have created a portrait Cadogan Hall in 2017. It will be used in promotional material in the upcoming ‘Welcome to Cadogan Hall’ promotional video and on their websites and social feeds, posters and for the companies affiliates.

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