One of the resounding themes of my photography – conscious and unconscious is Urbanscapes – small pockets of life in various towns and cities around the world.
I don’t purposely set out to take specific photos, I allow spontaneity to take its course and hope like hell I have a camera on me. These play a major part in my catalogue and have mainly been taken while I have been travelling for work or holidaying around the world. Only recently have I begun to take my camera with me when I leave my house and start to explore my local neighbourhood.
I love printmaking, but I hate the mess and especially hate having to clean up after myself. I started looking at new ways of ‘digitally printmaking’ which lead me to making multiple exposures out of my work.
To create the double exposures, I use photoshop to only combine the images in a way that would have previously been done in-camera, using film (before computers and photoshop).
I approach each one as if I were printmaking and specifically take photos with the intention of creating multiple exposures from them.
On ‘Doing the Dance’
One of the interesting things about street photography in general, is the so-called permission to take photos. I have always done what I have called ‘the dance’ where there is eye contact and unspoken words which allow permission, all this happens in an instant though it feels like we’ve had a full conversation. There are times where I have had actual conversations with people. There are times when taking photos of homeless people for instance, it has been important for to me to hear their story and seek their permission to share the photos and pass on the stories. An example of this can be here.
The photo below is an example of doing the dance, where I got a strange look when I took this photo but within a few seconds, we had exchanged eye contact, I donated some money and approval was given without even speaking a word.
On Photos Within Photos
When I look at a scene, I see so many things that make up the whole. What may seem like a simple scene has many elements, and upon dissecting them, you find there is more than meets the eye.
I am not sure whether my photography fits into the mould of street photography; I tend to call them the urbanscapes—landscapes in the urban jungle. My photos aren’t necessarily about the people in them; they are more about the spaces themselves and how people use them. To this end, I have tended not to focus on people and try and encapsulate little microcosms of cities and towns. I like to keep my photos wide-angle and this also translates through to my video as I feel that with this wide-angle you can see everything in context, and the viewer may not have to interpret what I’m trying to show. It is quite hard sometimes to resist the urge to crop down, but the whole scene and how I felt when I saw it is what I am trying to represent.
I also like this approach because it shows how each element of the scene works with the other elements around them. Detail examples of this can be found below.
Some notes on selected works…
This series taken in 2010 at Britomart Train Station, Auckland, New Zealand is probably my most popular and has by far sold the most prints – until I stopped selling editions that is.
Read my journal entry for more information.
I had a conversation with this Auckland Māori man wearing a horse mask, and he told me the story of white people giving him money when he was wearing the mask and then ignoring him when he was presenting himself – without the mask. This man only made enough money to feed him in as five dogs for the day. And then when he’d run out, he would come back and make more for the next day. He also noted that the people that gave the most with the people that had the least to give, mainly people from the Pacific communities.