My photography aims to capture views of the surrounding environment particularly the urban environment, its forms and the changing urban landscape. With so many options the choice of a personal style was a difficult one, not so much in terms of what to choose to photograph but what to leave out. Even after making … Read More
My photography aims to capture views of the surrounding environment particularly the urban environment, its forms and the changing urban landscape. With so many options the choice of a personal style was a difficult one, not so much in terms of what to choose to photograph but what to leave out. Even after making a decision only time will tell if I have made the right choice both personally/artistically and commercially.
Good photography requires subject familiarity and access and living in a city the urban environment was an obvious choice – living within walking distance or a short journey from a vast array of photo opportunities.
While I love wilderness landscapes the scale of the urban environment has always fascinated me as well. Vague memories of living in the suburbs and visiting the centre of Glasgow as a child are of enormous buildings that reach as high as the sky and while the buildings now seem much smaller my aim through photography is to recreate that impression of scale.
Moving forward from this point my aim is to convey the form and abstractions of the urban environment – focusing close-in on the details of the streets and the buildings and doing so in a way that aims to remove the sense of scale and hopefully leaves the viewer asking questions, thus forming their own impressions, of what lies beyond the frame of the image and the actual scale of what is being depicted. Also focusing on specific parts of the composition using a shallow depth of field and telephoto lenses to compress the images giving more of a sense of urban density.
As regards my work in Glasgow specifically – it has always disappointed me that Glasgow lacks an iconic skyline and any landmark skyscrapers that are a feature of many other major cities. I think that parts of Glasgow would benefit from this while other parts of the city, where the architecture remains more traditional, this would be detrimental and out of place. Many new buildings that have been built in recent years I have thought that, while impressive, they are somewhat unambitious compared with what is being developed in parts of London and other cities around the world and even in the UK. Certain photographs aim to convey the impression of being in a dense metropolis more akin to Manhattan or Chicago – by focusing close on the buildings and leaving the height to the imagination of the viewer.
I am also interested in conservation of architectural heritage and derelict/decaying industrial sites. I also like to find things or places in the city to photograph in a way that removes the sense of place for example an area of parkland or riverside that can be made to look as if it is miles from anywhere. An example of this is a photograph I took last year of sunset behind the river Clyde at Dalmarnock with a red glow in the sky that looks like it could easily be in deep wilderness – right next to where the power station used to be. I also like to juxtapose natural elements with the architecture or areas of parkland bordering distinctive buildings.
The decision to do more work in black and white was one I have wrestled with for a while. I like to see vivid and vibrant colours in images (especially those taken at twilight or illuminations at night) but equally I like the lack of distraction from the shapes and forms in images, as well as the timeless feel, that only monochrome can express.
Post processing I prefer to keep to a minimum, making only adjustments to contrast and colour saturation (in some instances making use of colour-pop i.e. black and white with a single element rendered in a vivid colour) but not adding or taking away details in most cases. The intention is for the work to be a kind of hybrid of documentary/street and abstract imagery of the city, its architecture and its other features.
While individual images I have created in the past may have by chance been in this style, my Glasgow 5.6 series was the first project I have undertaken with this approach clearly in mind.
I tend not to go out and shoot the city with specific compositions in mind, instead preferring to draw inspiration from where I am and what I see in the moment. I find in this way I can be more open to unexpected opportunities and work with whatever lighting conditions the weather provides. Read Less