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Photographer's Note

Craig would like to see some more photos from Ukraine, so the next one from my archive.
When I went to Odessa, I imagined what fantastic photos I would make on the famous Potiomkin Steps. Of course, I looked at the scenes from movie, trying to remember them and use similar povs. But then I was very disappointed with my results. I could not find good POV, there was ugly blue fence on one side and under the stairs were many cars difficult to avoid.

The stairs were designed to create an optical illusion. A person looking down the stairs sees only the landings (see Workshop), and the steps are invisible, but a person looking up sees only steps, and the landings are invisible (here). A secondary illusion creates false perspective since the stairs are wider at the bottom than at the top. Looking up the stairs makes them seem longer than they are and looking down the stairs makes them seem not so long.

Odessa, perched on a high steppe plateau, needed direct access to the harbor below it. Before the stairs were constructed, winding paths and crude wooden stairs were the only access to the harbor.
The original 200 stairs were designed in 1825 by Francesco Boffo, St. Petersburg architects Avraam I. Melnikov and Pot'e. The staircase cost 800,000 rubles to build.
In 1837, the decision was made to build a "monstrous staircase", which was constructed between 1837 and 1841. An English engineer named John Upton constructed the stairs. Upton had fled Britain while on bail for forgery. Greenish-grey sandstone from the extreme northeastern Italian town of Trieste (at the time it was an Austrian town) was shipped in.


The steps were made famous in Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 silent film The Battleship Potemkin; according to the fictionalized account in that film, soldiers opened fire on the people on the stairs on June 14, 1905. According to journalist Chukovsky, who was in the city during the events, it is unknown whether the Cossacks at the top of the stairs, that were filled with people, actually opened fire on the stairs. In Eisenstein's movie the horrific events that actually took place in various parts of the city were concentrated at the stairs. That there was, in fact, no Czarist massacre on the Odessa Steps scarcely diminishes the power of the scene ... It is ironic that [Eisenstein] did it so well that today the bloodshed on the Odessa steps is often referred to as if it really happened. (after Wikipedia)

I observed another funny illusion. When you look up the steps, the people are mainly going up. When you look down, also the people go down.

ChrisJ, saxo042, bukitgolfb301, macjake, kennyblack, s_lush trouve(nt) cette note utile

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Additional Photos by Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12356 W: 133 N: 31792] (146999)
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