John Sandell photography

Cornered. Placing the head quite tight in the corner of the image – behind the silhouettes of the bars – gives it a feeling of being imprisoned, I felt. Which, in a sense, it is. The sculpted head is let into the wall of the Heldendenkmal [the Heroes' Monument] in Vienna, which is also the gate from the Ringstrasse into Heldenplatz, in front of the Neue Burg wing of the Hofburg palace. It overlooks a stairway to the roofless 'hall of honour' on top of the memorial, and this image is shot through the gates at the bottom of the stairway. It's essentially a straight shot, with not much adjustment apart from the normal fine tuning; and there was some strong sun on the wall, so the top-left needed to be brought under control. Made 20/20 in competition.

The monument was designed by Rudolf Wondracek, a student of Otto Wagner, and was built between 1933 and 1934 to honour the dead of the first world war. [Actually it was restored and converted to a monument to Wondracek's plans: it had been the original outer gate of the Hofburg, was destroyed by Napoleon in 1809 and rebuilt by Peter von Nobile between 1821 and 24]. Inside is a crypt.

Vienna was one of the destinations on my Grand Tour, although this picture was shot on a later visit.

Winner, Class A Colour Prints, Hertford and District Camera Club annual exhibition 2009.

Technical: NIKON D300, f=112.0 mm, ISO400, 1/1250 sec @ f8.0

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