My camera is my companion, my pal, my reason for seeing!
I'm not really into getting up at the crack of dawn to chase the golden hour at some 'ideal' location. In fact I don't really approve of such behaviour! It only encourages one, idealised, view of what photography is. To my mind nowhere is more photogenic than anywhere else and there is no such thing as 'bad light'.
EVERYTHING CAN BE BEAUTIFUL
So for me photography is more about looking closer at the things around you than rushing off to find the beauty of some distant land.
My architecture photography is more about the encounters I have with buildings, than portraits of great edifices. This means I photograph 'with attitude'; I have an opinion or an emotional response to the environment - which I think is important. But, such things are not just magicked up, rationally chosen. They arise from action. From deliberately experiencing the place. Inside, outside, walking around; touching surfaces even. As far as possible. Until something other than pure visual appeal occurs. Sometimes, though, it does just come down to visual appeal. Of course.
The problem with simple visual appeal though, is that it gives no impetus for onward discovery. If it's just a pretty picture people will look at it, maybe press 'like' on a social platform, but then move right on to what ever the next drip in their feed may be. With a deeper story (or intent), some greater intrigue, people might just look and then look for more (click through on the link say).
Some approaches that help me to choose an architectural shot
What do people usually miss about this place? What can I show them to help them appreciate the beauty of the mundane?
Just like people, buildings have their 'best side'; the point of view the architect particularly wanted to present - which would be the worst available shot but is a fine starting point in experiencing a place.
What seems a little off-key, or missing? Especially where are the suprising non-symetries? Cathedrals for example are always wonderfully asymmetric.
A single step can dramatically change the projection of the building onto the sensor. Oh and lying on your back is often better than simply looking up.
Timing always matters. Sometimes it's less critical with certain architetcural shots, but rarely is the precise moment of exposure an irrelevance.
With architectural detail, or abstract, shots contrasts matter: big/small, straight/curved, smooth/rough, light/dark, etc...
It is position and point-of-view, not the lens, that determines perspective.
Geometry is key. Circles shouldn't be oval and lines shouldn't unintentionally lean.
The following section provides more thoughts on my approach to archtectural photography in the context of these images, including technical shooting data:
About The Images
1/125s f/4 17mm ISO:400
Although shot digitally there are no 'excessive' manipulations involved, this is a diptych of two shots looking either way down a passenger foot tunnel at Archway tube station.
It pre-dates my 'faux tessellations', many of which can be seen in this gallery, and possibly inspired them.
Part of my photographic aim is to show what may otherwise not be seen. And seeing these tunnels with an effective 360 degree field of view, is a sight most often not seen.
But more than that, the arrangement creates new graphic forms that would otherwise not exist. The sweeping forms give an impression of how the tunnels snake about through the cuts made in the earth.
Great glass elevators
Wet paper bags
Hamton court mazes and
The booze and the fags
If you have to ask
Where your head is at
You're already caught
Inside of the trap
1/30s f/5.6 35mm ISO:400
I particularly like photographs that are about the missing, what isn't there in the frame.
Bank is one of the busiest underground stations, and although this is heading towards the limited Waterloo & City line it is still almost remarkably vacant.
The high-key tonality helps reinforce this sense of 'the missing', in a kind of classic 'follow the light' sense.
An empty emptiness fills me up.
There's nothing so solid as an empty look.
Space is a kind of material grave
a reminder that every thing is displaced.
Perhaps one day I'll come back this way
and find that nothing always feels the same.
1/125s f/16 35mm ISO:200
So this is a photographic image from a single exposure. The sky you see is just as the sky was on the day.
This is a 2x2 'faux-tessellation', so four identical copies of the original frame. An 'infra-red' style of balck & white conversion has been applied to the building, with the lower 2 copies slightly darkened.
To me it looks very steam-punk, with the clouds resembling puffs and streams of propulsion jets; as if and as though it were a spacecraft, a kind of trolly bus to god.
Did I previsualise this result? Well, not exactly. I had been applying the 'faux-tessellation' technique for just over a year at this point and on several occassions I'd experienced buildings transforming into space vehicles. So I knew that was what I was aiming for, but I can't say I knew when I pressed the shutter exactly how it was going to look.
But I think that's fine.
We shouldn't be a slave to our processes AND the work should certainly lead the artist; for if the artist doesn't go on a journey when creating a work then neither will the viewer.
Chapter House Ceiling
1/50s f/4 16mm ISO:3200
In the York Minster. This is one of those lying on your back photographs...
I find it nearly impossible to shoot straight up in a standing position craning my neck backwards and I certainly can't take the shot without tension. Whenever possible get comfortable to take the shot, look for places to rest on,lean on, whatever - avoid tension.
All that said, you'll notice this is not an absolutely perfect alignment - the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock radials are not level with the bottom of the frame. 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock are not parallel to the left/right edges. I felt a slight skew was a more honest portrayal of a perfectly round room; it also makes the image just a little unsettling, just as looking far up at very high ceilings is just a little unsettling; almost a vertigo feeling, but in reverse. Sometimes overly meticulous arrangements can take something away from an image.
Even though I am 99% of time certainly, over meticulous!
1/30s f/4 16mm ISO:400
Sometimes you've just got to take the shot. The environment demands it of you. You will find so many examples of this shot, from exactly this position, that it begs the question 'why bother adding to that cultural heap?'
First and foremost, because even with identical framing and perspective, every shot will be somewhat different. So the key to the shot becomes a matter of waiting for the moment. With 3 people in the frame (a fourth had ascended the escalator moments earlier) there's a strong triangle of points-of-interest that keep the eye somewhat centred, with the simple but strong geometry of the architecture held in the peripheral vision - creating a sense of immersion in the scene for the viewer.
It is perhaps not the strongest use of this particular 'theatre' that you may see, but for the luck of the day I feel it is strong enough - especially as I prefer to keep the hysterics of the drama locked in the architecture rather than in the antics of the people.
1/10s f/5.6 16mm ISO:1600
As soon as I saw this opulent little nook I thought "Aladdin's Cave".
A 2x2 'faux-tessellation' has greatly multiplied the number of arches and sweeping stairs to create a warren effect. You can readily imagine yourself walking up one flight of stairs only to find you're walking down another, but upside down; like some escher-inspired cartoon animation.
1/100s f/5.6 18mm ISO:400
I made a very simple leading-diagonal composition knowing that a 'faux-tessellation' would resolve all the diagonals into a complex lattice. The ambiguity of whether the lamps are hanging down or standing up (is the floor the ceiling) pleased me very much. In fact this is a trope that occurs regularly in my work: what is the true nature of reality?
And given that impetus I didn't hesitate when adding the deep red filter in post-production. I also used an asymetric crop for the 2x2 tessellation, to give a greater sense of being in the scene than being an observer of it.
This image sold as a book cover (through Bridgeman Images) - which I think is more due to good naming than great photography! I mean, if one had written a book with a hellish theme then a photo called "Hell's Maze" is going to get attention, which is more than half the battle in selling images; to just get them seen.
Kew Palm House
From an original darkroom print. Ilford XP2, Nikon FM3a, 24mm.
Shot on film there have been no perspective corrections in post. I think the rigour of analogue (or wet) photography taught me to manage perspective in-camera. This is useful in today's digital world as such adjustments are costly in terms of 'interpolation' - ie. images that are just a little less 'true' than reality.
I don't let this stop me from making perspective corrections in post, but it remains best to attain the truest possible rendition at the raw shooting stage. This ensures the greatest lattitude for adjustment is available in the data for the manipulations that you do want to make.
King's Cross #1
1/160s f/5.6 16mm ISO:400
Arrivals hall ceiling.
Shooting through the glass ceiling gives an extremely wide dynamic range, much more than the camera can possibly handle. This is a 2x1 'faux-tessellation', so with the original frame duplicated and flipped to create the image.
In the individual frame the high-key exterior, falling to the right hand side, was a large area of very weak tone and the image felt unbalanced. By wholly encapsulating that high-key region the image is no longer unbalanced and the high-key exterior helps in defining the geometric pattern of the image.
King's Cross #2
1/160s f/5.6 16mm ISO:400
Used for the cover of my book Photographic Skill this is one of my most successful 'faux-tessellation' works.
The degree of transformation from the single frame to the doubled frame is dramatic. Not only does the geometry resolve and thus stand-out, but the nature of the subject transforms also. It no longer looks like an arrivals hall at all, but rather some magnificent winged thing.
It could certainly be improved as an image by utilising a tripod and doing some exposure stacking - but a tripod will always attract the attention of authorities so I don't often carry one. And for me photography is about capturing a moment in my life, not coming to agreements and making arrangements with people who believe they have some authority over my vision.
1/2000s f/4 16mm ISO:200
Part of my project to photograph every London Underground Station this is Oakwood.
Here I am playing with my question 'what is the true nature of reality' - I mean LOOK, it isn't underground at all, it's up there in the sky!
What are they telling us? Who do we believe?
Having first arranged the geometry of the shot I took a step to my right, so I am looking at the structure slightly askance. This was to ensure the furthest of the four top lamps was not obscurred as for me that would have ruined the shot, somewhat reducing the impression of a giant alien communications antennae:
Alien Designs 1
Are you receiving me. Over
Voices from the past.
Ghosts of those who died
in flood and in blast.
Dirt wrought with bare hands.
A century ago
the future was wrote.
And the future is...
As the future was...
Palm House Vestibule
1/2500s f/8 16mm ISO:800
I must admit that I find it a struggle to write about my work. Pictures are supposed to stand for 1000 words so why do I need to write anything? Why can't you just look at them??
But there's the struggle. With so many pictures around today how do you get people to attend to your own, to notice them?
If you can't talk about the essence of the work then how'd you ever write a brochure entry for an exhibition? Or pen a press release? Or even connect with the impressarios of the whole art world?
Plus of course, thinking carefully about why each - out of the many thousands of images I have - is here on this website brings a clarity to the whole collection; helps me to see those common strands that are my personal vision.
This is the kind of photograph I really like. There's no drama. No central point of interest even. It just is. Something.
It's a photograph of a space, not of a thing; a low dynamic narrative.
This is why I, personally, like it. But by thinking about it carefully I realise it also plays with my sense of twisted reality. It is a view looking directly up at one of those victorian palm houses, but it feels to me as though I were in a bird cage. Trapped and on display.
That's why I took it. To present one thing as though it were another thing. That realisation makes me comfortable that the image makes sense in the context of the others that it is collected with.
And that means I can write a brochure entry for it. Should I ever need to.
But I think it's good to draw these thoughts out by reviewing completed works, rather than working out a philosophy first then creating images. I think it's honest.
1/640s f/8 35mm ISO:400
Part of my project to photograph every London Underground Station, Park Royal.
Shot early evening in spring the old lift shaft catches the glow of the sunlight demonstrating the importance of light to composition.
On approaching any architectural subject I try to image what it must have looked like in the artist's impression when the architects were trying to convince the comunity (or the business fat cats) that the building would be a good and lovely thing.
Then I look for another perspective.
Most buildings present themselves at their very best from a given approach. In fact the architects may even remodel the terrain to ensure the approach. Thinking about and finding this particular view is a great starting point for photographing any building, it helps in understanding how the elements were meant to cohere in a 3 dimensional composition. It's then easy to see how things jumble about as you modify this 'prime perspective'.
A relatively low point of view, with a moderately wide lens (35mm), places the key point (the lift shaft) dead centre with the other lines of the building a little chaotic and off-key. The 'missing' roundel also helps to create an off-key sense to the scene. The inherent stability of the square frame helps to constrain and bind the higgledy-piggldey tumble of the building's lines. Square frames are often avoided precisely because they lack inherent 'dynamism' - but in this case the stability afforded has calmed an otherwise unruly view.
1/250s f/4 17mm ISO:400
This is a strong example of facial pareidolia (seeing faces in everyday things) - I see the flourescent lights as tusks, the darker blue panes as eyes and the white radials as a spikey hairy-do. This is a fairly common trope, but often such images are of 'novelty' (ie. mildly amusing but with short-lived interest). Here I think the very striking graphic nature of the image elevates it from simple novelty.
0.4s f/22 16mm ISO:400
This is a colour-cutout image. The whole thing has been converted onto a B&W layer with the original greens and yellows then brought forward. The treatment is obvious by looking at the posters that can be seen to the left and at the top of the stairs. I could have made the image 'more realistic' by preserving the colours in the posters quite easily BUT I'm not interested in masking or hiding the process. An image that declares its manipulations retains a sense of honesty, in my view anyway.
Colour cut-outs seem to be somewhat disdained though, for whatever reason, so I don't make as many of them as I might given my B&W background. Colour so often seems to me to be just a distraction. So here I have used only colours that help to reinforce the graphic nature of the scene; and perhaps because of that I do get away with the (honest) use of colour cut-out?
I often talk about images that are of a 'graphic nature', I suppose I should try and explain what I mean. I'm not talking about horrific, erotic or pornographic imagery - rather images that are primarily designed to express graphic components: lines, diagonals,curves,zigzags, lattices, etc..
More than a photograph of a place, this is an image of a zigzag but in the context of that place. The strong green lines cause the eye to dash through the image creating a physical experience for the viewer akin to actually darting through the station. The visual impact of the graphic form is in sympathy with the intent of the photograph.
1/13s f/5.6 16mm ISO:400
Part of my project to photograph every London Underground Station. This is a prime example of architecture-as-geometry. I needed a wide lens as the electrical tracks prevent one from really standing back on the platforms and this has given me a deep depth of field that prevents the brain from really appreciating the depth of the subject. Typically we think of wide angle lenses as 'creating perspective' (of course it's actually close working that exagerates perspective, whatever the focal length) - but depth perception in the image also relies on sharpness of focus and the quality of the light. With very flat lighting and deep depth of field this image almost looks as though it were shot from a distance through a telephoto lens.
1/1250s f/8 105mm ISO:800
In my filing system this one is called 'river-ghost-house' because that's the feeling I was trying to express with the treatment. However, since I don't know of any folklore concerning ghosts of this property I thought it would be a little disingenuous to title it so on the website!
It does help explain though why my eye would devise such an image; it is much more bucolic than you may perhaps expect from me. I was obviously drawn by the inherent strong contrast the white building presents to its surroundings in both tone and form (bright inorganic stone versus dark organic water and woods).
That alone makes an image but not a picture. I have chosen to greatly emphasise the texture in the building in order to bring the rot and decay to attention. Strong tonal contrast ensures that we only get glimpses of the interior through the dark windows, just a few slivers of curtains and blinds. This creates a sense of aged mystery which begs us to consider what does, or has, happened in doors?
1/6400s f/11 105mm ISO:200
Built in 1965 and now a Grade II listed building the Rotunda nevertheless always seemed fragile to me when I lived in Birmingham. Like everyone always expected the Town Planners would decide to bulldoze it one day. I don't believe that they have, as yet, but I wanted to share this sense of fragility.
Photographing it in the reflection of a warped steel-clad building has nicely deformed and puckered it, as if and as though it were imploding. But I have also included a portion of the Odeon cinema here as that name is, to me, synonymous with our inability to maintain our cultural history. For more than a generation we have been bemoaning the loss of theatres and playhouses to the Town Planner's axe. I am effectively lending that cultural experience to the Rotunda by showing both elements as being equally vulnerable to the waxing and waning of fortunes.
The upshot is, it helps in architectural photography to have an emotional connection or response to the building, or at least an (informed) opion of it.
1/4000s f/4 26mm ISO:1600
The UK's tallest building and second tallest construct (being 20m or so stumpier than Emily Moor's TV mast). Designed to dominate the skyline for miles around it seemed to me just a tad perverse to photograph it from up close. It's a pretty infamous edifice already with countless images of it to be found online, yet very few from this point of view (actually, none that I've seen from precisely this position). It was designed to be seen from miles away so that's how most people seem to want to photograph it. Being bang outside a very busy entrance into London Bridge station very few people will ever take a moment to regard the Shard in quite this way, so I am pleased my take on it follows my 'show the unseen' mantra.
Compositionally I feel it is a very successful shot despite (or perhaps because of) its refusal to offer closure, its utter irregularity; filled with broken lines as in fact the Shard itself is. A disjointedness presented very much as 'the natural way of things'. This is in some ways our true reality. A place where nothing quite fits together and everything is fragile. Even the strong.
Note how, even wide open at f/4, the 26mm focal length renders plenty of depth-of-field. I focused at about the 8m which provided sufficient forward depth to bring the nearest canopy into acceptable sharpness whilst providing limitless rear depth to reach the very top of the tower. With wide angle lenses it's often just the nearground focus one needs to worry about with regards depth of field. That's why plenty of street photographers hardly need to even bother with focus adjustment.
1/320s f/5.6 16mm ISO:1600
This image is heavilly influenced by my exposure to the Russian Constructivists (especially Lissitzky's "Beat The Whites with the Red Wedge"), certainly in terms of its graphic construction. However, rather than addressing Bolshevik conflict, I'm representing the feel of working inside the establishment (this is the good ol' BBC). It's all sneaky pointy triangles peeping out of corners into the glare of their spotlight... it was a pretty weird world in there, I'll tell you.
I love simple forms and simple blankets of tonal gradations. I was mostly just playing at creating a balance of simple forms and tones that pleased me. But at the same time, I was having a little pop at the sneaky, dungeon, cold and brutalist nature of the beast.
A place I certainly had an emotional response to before trying to create an image such as this.
1/25s f/16 16mm ISO:1600
Peter Jones' Department Store, London.
This is, I think, my very first 'faux tesselation' image. I had previously shot something similar in film (years earlier) so when I spotted this scene I knew what I was aiming for in-camera. It wasn't until I sat down in post-production that I thought to flip a copy of the image, to enhance the graphic effect of the geomoetry. And I really love this image, even though there is that element of hapenstance about it.
When shooting film 'previsualisation' is really critical as you need to make a negative that supports the kind of print you want to make - much of the 'tone mapping' required happens in the exposure and development of the film negative; one may for example deliberately over-expose and under-develop in order to reduce the contrast of a recorded scene. Which means, when you press the shutter, you need to already know how all the tones of the scene will be recorded.
With digital imaging we can do the same kind of thing (deliberately under-expose to maintain highlight detail) but with a much greater dynamic range (perhaps 14 stops or more) there's much more lattitude in the 'development' part of the process; we don't need to be as precise as film exposure/development demands. Which means we don't need to be so uptight about previsualising the result.
In fact, digital photography offers great freedom in revisualisation - you can take the shot not based on the final envisioned image, but purely on the sensor's ability to capture the data (ie. to get a good histogram). So long as we achieve that we can then wholly revisualise what we do with the captured image (and its tones) after the fact.
I used to feel kind of guilty about not wholly previsualising the resulting image at the moment I took a shot because all the greats said one must! These days I feel this opportunity to revisualise is really the truest strength of digital imaging - so I'm fine that I didn't see the full potential of the scene when shooting it!
Also note here I have pushed the ISO to 1600. This is about as high as I am confortable with respect to the impact of noise on the image. Modern cameras can be set crazy high (my D850's native range is 64-25,600) and although high-ISO performance is constantly improving anything over ISO:1600 does still reduce image quality to my eye - especially given the softness that noise reduction introduces. And I am using quite high-end cameras, I doubt I'd be happy shooting at ISO:1600 on an older or cheaper model.
1/100s f/4 19mm ISO:6400
This was a hapenstance shot walking home from the pub one evening. I was struck by the obvious tonal contrast, but also the big round balls at the foot of the stairs. Isolating only the components of interest give a pleasing but ultimately unbalanced composition. The faux-tessellation technique answers that problem creating a wonderfully abstract image rather than, what would have been, something a bit weird and off-kilter otherwise.
NIKON 1 V1
1/160s f/3.5 10mm ISO:1600
Part of my project to photograph every London Underground Station, Tooting Bec.
It is impossible to completely avoid highlight-clipping in this scene as there are 2 bare light sources in view; we will never see detail in the floodlights themselves no matter how far we underexpose. But some detail in the white wall behind the spill from the floodlights is critical to the success of the image. In this case I under-exposed versus the average meter reading by -1Ev. This created a histogram with a tiny bump at the far right (in the highlights) with the rest of the scene falling way down in the shadows end.
These low tones were expanded with a curves adjustment, keeping the delicate highlights where they were. This means much of the scene was recorded with a pretty low signal level, where of course photon shot noise is much more apparent. A lower ISO would have increased the exposure time , and thus signal level, giving less noise in these low tonal values.
Advice on maximum ISO to use (I'd say 1600 these days, unless really constrained) presumes you're working with 'average' signal levels, with most of the image falling to the centre of the histogram. In situations like this, where a few highlights are pushing much of the image to the left, the ISO setting ought to be more conservative - OR our tolerance for noise in the image should be higher!
It's generally understood that ISO is a 'gain' type setting and increasing it increaes the 'read noise' in the image. BUT higher ISO settings also reduce exposure, which means we are capturing lower signal levels, therefore also exacerbating the photon shot noise in the lower tones.
So if you plan to boost the shadows in order to preserve highlights by under-exposing, be more conservative with you ISO setting.
1/20s f/8 105mm ISO:3200
I debated, do I really need another image of this sort in this gallery? Looking straight up (from laying on my back) for a tight crop of a ceiling detail... but the colours are just so lush, I love it!
Perhaps it's true that you learn no more about me and my image making from this shot other than the fact I took this shot. But I love it, the reds and the golds!
And it is important to love your work. To make the kinds of images you want to see. There's so much pressure to follow the 'rules' of composition and to create a clear 'brand identity' - but that's what we do for others. So they have a way in, a means to read and understand our work. Which is all very fine, but under-pinning this must be a basic love for your own work. Which is perhaps not as common as one would hope it might be.
1/2500s f/8 16mm ISO:400
Shot about a year or so before the Grenfell Disgrace. Turnpike house was undergoing major renovation in a gentrification project of displacement. I guess displacement beats death right? At the time it just seemed like a symbol of how topsy-turvey the world can be. At one time it was all social-housing, considered I suppose a carbuncle on Islington's backside, but now apartments are selling as highly desireale properties for up to £500k. I wanted to show the building in a topsy-turvey way to match these feelings, and to encourage it be considered more as an artifact than an entity.
The faux-tessellation technique has allowed me not only to up-end the structure (showing it sideways) but also to reflect it in reverse, helping to abstract the form from the construct.
1/50s f/4 16mm ISO:200
For the photographer there are two aspects when thinking about rights: the right to take photographs; and the right to publish images.
My understanding (not a lawyer) is that in the UK everyone has the right to take photographs in public places (hey, the state sticks its CCTV everywhere, so it's only fair we have the right to record images as well). This doesn't include the right to harass people by sticking your cmaera right in their face, or to chase after them up the street, or to photograph their kids without permission, or to use a really long lens to invade the privacy of private domiciles from the public highway... so quite a few restrictions I guess, but only in terms of basic respect for others. Which is fine, all freedoms contain responsibilities after all (yeah that's right, there's no such thing as freedom in reality).
Of course not everything you think of as being a public place is actually public. Trafalgar square and Canary Wharf in London are privately owned, so you may well be challenged and prevented from shooting in those places. It can be suprising what is and is not a 'public place', many parks are not public spaces for example! But highways and railways generally are.
I have been challenged, but never stopped from taking photographs. You just need to be more concerned with your natural charm than your legal rights when such occassions arise...
The greater concern for the photographer is the right to publish the images. This is a murky world. Strictly speaking you need a model release for anyone in the image that is identifiable, but of course street photographers pretty much ignore that because most people in such images never object. More tricky is the more modern need for 'building releases', as the owner of a building can claim rights infringement if you sell pictures of the building! This really only stands for significant buildings, as they are the only ones that have people employed to police these ridiculous rights!
During Project 269 (photograph every tube station in London) I met with TfL and we agreed the principles of their interest in my images and maybe a quarter of them never went on sale becuase 'the logo was a significant part of the image'. They said if it was a general scene that happened to have the logo in place that was fine. Ever since then they have been sniping at my collection with more and more ridiculous requests to take images down. Which I do. Because I have no resource to fight their case. I, and my photo sales websites, just have to bend to their overbearing demands. We live in a world censored by greed.
Sigh. It's just life.
For some reason though they haven't tried to censor this image, nor has any representative of the third reich complained about 'brand infringement' - so I am happy that I can still share this one with you.
Because I think it tells a really important slice of British history. The good ol' BBC has an article that kinda misses the point (wouldn't it) by telling us swastikas are an ancient symbol and most predate the Nazis, and anyway it might just be a coincidence because its a simple design... totally ignoring the fact this massive fucking swastika was created right at the time of the rise of the Nazi's and in exactly the colours the Nazi's seemed to like..! It isn't just some coincidental geometric pattern, there is a deeper story here - just one you can't getr any facts about.
Anyways TfL, thank you for not making me burn this image.
1/13s f/8 23mm ISO:3200
I must admit, I would have much preferred to get more lighting up in the top right corner of this image - but that's just not possible, I don't have those kinds of resources or contacts. But I don't think we should be discouraged from making the most of opportunities, otherwise we end up in a world where the only images we get to see are those made by 'professionals' - ie. those that have squirreled vital resources for their own profit and who make pictures to the tune of some paymasters song! The whole point of the DIY ethos is that done is better than perfect.
Plus, any idiot can make great images with unlimited access and equipment. I'd rather make pretty good images off my own back with little support. I take more pride in them than I would if it were easy.
I think it is critical to hapiness that we learn to judge ourselves not against the best that can be, but rather against the best that one can be - against our own potential not the record books. And so it should be in art. Great images come from making the best from the moment, not from creating the best possible moment.
NIKON 1 V1
1/250s f/4.5 17.5mm ISO:400
I think it is fair to call this a digital image more than a photograph. It required really quite extreme perspective correction in post as I was pointing the camera up past street level construction site hoardings that stretched several feet above my head. It has also been hand-coloured in post, so it contains a lot of non-photographed pixel values.
In an ideal world I would have lit the rooms up in coloured floods, and stood atop a cherry-picker to create the scene I wanted to make in reality rather than in the 'puter.
Maybe all that would have created a technically superior image, but I don't think it would have been any more honest or real... well perhaps it would have been more real but less honest?
With it being a dilapidated building in London I wanted to introduce an element of 'diversity' to represent the hot bed of cultures and identities inour capital - but then to show all that fading away as renovation and gentrification marches on.
They take away the bus service, the libraries and the loos
Close down all the pubs and clubs and leave us nowt to do
But to pull our curtains closed and listen to the news
A new night service on the tube for when they've relocated you
They take a land that's deeply loved and build a wire fence
How come regeneration comes at community's expense?
If there's nothing left around that's worthy of defence
Please don't be surprised at our rage and violence
Turn us into migrants, displace us from our homes
Build upon the soil where lays our ancients' bones
Sounding quite familiar, like you've heard it all before?
Nowhere else left to exploit, so they're coming to our doors
Once every plot of history has been excavated of its dead
Then they will be accountable to all the dispossessed
Once every space of unity has been divided into flats
There will be no community to hold the vengeance back
We understand The Walking Dead is not just a metaphor
We get the point, it's dog eat dog, but they're the favoured course
With no sense of history no responsibility is borne
They'd better build their towers high to defend against this storm
Whilst partial deprivation is an instrument of oppression
No-one knew of freedom like the last of the Mohicans
For when they've taken all there is, all they leave us with is hate
And this will be the destiny the gentrified will make