When ceilings tell a story

Last Updated 21 September 2018, 11:52 IST

Look up. That’s what I tend to do every time I walk into a new building or space, especially museums. This habit of craning my neck up has given rise to my fixation for ceilings, particularly if I have my camera, or even a phone, with me. My recent trip to London and Munich gave me the chance to capture some of the most unique ceilings.

Travelling abroad these days, especially with family, means inevitable museum tours. If the kids are young, parents feel cultural therapy is as important as gastronomical or retail therapy.

All of which means that I have spent, literally, whole days in museums whenever I travel. And I have discovered that I find what’s up on the ceiling to be as interesting, if not more, than what are on the walls. I prefer modern art over the classical. And some of the biggest modern art spaces are in interesting buildings with vast glass domes, roofs and ceilings that use light innovatively and in a very modern way. Things that lead to amazing photography.

Tate Modern in London is located in what was earlier a power station. The ceiling of the vast `turbine hall’ allows light to flood in through glass panes to the vast expanse of the floor beneath. The classical Tate Britain’s architectural highlight is its glass dome.

The British Museum’s inner courtyard is beneath a vast glass roof. As you sit around eating your lunch at one of the cafes, the play of light is fascinating to watch. The guidebook tells you that it is the largest covered square in Europe. I spent the better part of my lunch break with my camera focused on the ceiling than on the burger in front of me.

A couple of years ago I went to Munich on a student-exchange programme from school. A city tour organised by the host school included an inevitable stop at the famous Pinakothek der Modern, the city’s world-famous modern art museum. The most striking feature about this Stephan Braunfels masterpiece is its 24-metre-high glass dome, from where all the tours of the museum start.

I love photographing ceilings, especially those that allow natural light to filter in. That’s why I say, next time you visit a place, look up.

(Published 12 July 2018, 12:40 IST)

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