Nick Barkworth Empty Streets

14 Apr Crossroads

We leave our mark across the land, no more so in the urban environment, designed and created solely for our use be that to work, to play or to simply live. The nature and culture of the urban environment, the lines, the patterns and shapes are all purposeful and with meaning. In this selection of photographs the lack of casual organic evolution is replaced by a man-made development, sometimes an interrupted sprawl and other times a more fluid vista, but nothing left to chance.

For me the urban topography of a city tells a story of the people who live there, who inhabit its space, use its roads, light up its windows at night. Only when the people leave the scene can we really see the scene.
The side streets and alleyways, as opposed to the boulevards and main roads, provide a unique insight into the people who live there. They tell a tale of bolted gates and high fences a well place lack of trust in the pedestrians who travel through them, although not present in the photograph, their presence is always felt.
I have found myself increasingly drawn to the empty street, waiting for occupants to leave an area, not wanting them to dilute the scene. A subtle filtering of the scene, I would hate the viewer’s eye to be drawn unintentionally to a shadowy figure in the scene instead of the lit window.
Its a dichotomy of my photography that I find myself increasingly comfortable with and drawn towards. Nothing should deflect the shabby glory of a north of England alleyway on a rainy day, the cobblestones and ramshackle walls are the centrepiece of the shot, the eye should not be interrupted as it is drawn along the row of street lights in the evening, nor distracted from the vertical façade of an urban car park.
I’d like the viewer to consider the environment first and then the people who inhabit it, which is at odds with its development where the people are considered first and then the landscape built around them…..if they are lucky!

Ebisu Canal Project by Jan Piotrowicz

2 Apr

Facades of the buildings ensure the presentation, but its frequently the backstreets that tell the true story. Not designed to be looked at and owned by the inhabitants, it can provide an average look of an area, somehow generic but descriptive in the same time. Tokyo is associated with a certain look and feel, especially in the night. Discovering a guiding line, an urban canal in the backstreet area, was a formula to capture the look of the city. The peculiar lighting, omnipresent plants and concrete architecture create the elements of the urban mosaic. The Japan as an island country was always dependent on water and in a waterway I found a key to capture the city’s essence.

London Urban Photography by Dimitri Hon

27 Mar

Having worked across a few architecture and commercial real estate publications over the past few years, I seem to have developed a counter aesthetic to the way the built environment is portrayed in marketing materials and industry media. I like showing places for what they are, usually with very flat, two-dimensional head-on angles and more realistic degrees of saturation etc, as apposed to the glitzy way the developers would like you to see them. That’s not to say I think these places are always ugly – just that you can find the more interesting parts of a skyscraper or shopping centre if you go around the back to where they keep the bins or where the access ramp for the deliveries is.

After seeing the work of Chris Dorley-Brown and Michael Collins (and subsequently an entire clique of Flickr members) I had a kind of realisation that there was this particular style of documentary photography (usually from north-western Europe with a few exceptions) that was appealing to me and seemed natural. These neutral, matter-of-fact images really pushed me in the direction I’ve taken in photographing the spaces we occupy or the weird, dead-spaces in-between places. Something that is quite common in cities – a lot of it is planned but there are always awkward gaps and accidental vistas between these planned areas.

The social implications of the built environment are constantly wheeled-out and argued over and are more often than not used by developers themselves now as a form of coercion on local government and residents alike. I’ve never consciously thought about the larger issue when taking pictures but my own cynicism of the industry is clearly there in the background. It’d be wrong to say that’s the main driver behind these pictures though, I genuinely just find these sort of places interesting and strangely beautiful. Most the time.

Peter Gale – MOMA

16 Mar Peter Gale v
Patient “P” suffers from what we psychiatrists call “Post-Exhibition Perceptual Syndrome”, a delusional state where everyday objects are perceived to be works of art.  In its mild form, the condition is not uncommon.  Whilst visiting a modern art exhibition, not a few people start to wonder whether ordinary things like light switches, signs and random marks on the wall are, in fact, exhibits.  Indeed, some may feel they prefer them to the actual works on display.  This state can sometimes persist for a while after leaving the exhibition, so that objects in everyday life can seem like artworks, too.  Unfortunately, Patient “P” has a more extreme form in which he scours his environment for such entirely unintentional “artworks”.  He goes so far as to maintain a photographic record of these.  To illustrate his condition, some of the photographs are shown below.
There is no better example than exhibit 1, which is nothing more than a glass case of fire-fighting equipment at Bank station in the City of London.  However, “P” insists that it must be a secret commission by London Underground of Damien Hirst vitrine.  He even has a title for it: “The Potential for Life in the Matter of Something Inanimate”.  What can that even mean?  When pressed, he rambles incoherently about carbon and reincarnation.
We can only hope that “P” responds to treatment, but I’m afraid he shows little sign of doing so yet.

Urban Minimalism by Ljubisa Buzic

2 Mar

Most of these places are actually located at very busy spots in the city with lots of people going by every day.

Photography as a process of removing all distractions. The other side of everyday life.Ljubisa Buzic Ljubisa Buzic Ljubisa Buzic Ljubisa Buzic IMG_1418

At Minumum by Marc Llach Pagés

16 Jan
AT MINIMUM by Marc Llach Pagès
At minimum wants to explore and analyse the aesthetic of the industrial suburbs
located around our cities. Because these contemporary landscapes built by our society
can be a revelatory proof of its moral courage. In the aesthetic of these desolated
environments we can watch the ferocious control, the power and the influence that
the modern society applies on its closest surroundings, in general, and on the human
being, in particular.
This situation turns into spaces that float in a one existentialist lethargy. They are
defined by a monotonous aesthetic with childish tones, homogenize textures,
inorganic nature and unmoving geometry. And, one of the most important things, it is
the fact of representing a one-sided break with natural space and its rules. Here, the
environment is manipulated and deformed by the way the human being wants and
being a self-caricatured. We can say that its identity becomes minimum, project itself
like a poor reflex of the cities that they have seen it growing.
Definitely, this is a radically human landscape whose result is a way of making and
understanding the world very contemporary.

Hong Kong by Xyza Bacani

7 Jan
Nothing Personal, just a Lifestyle
A city of fast paced life and geometry,Hong Kong is a photographers paradise. Walking the crowded street for three years now,isolation is a sight i seldom see and capture. Photography for me is nothing personal but a lifestyle.


Museum Quarter – Vienna by Olivier Pillaud- Tiraud

21 Nov

In life, I like the variety around us that makes everything interesting, awakes our curiosity and brings us into an even richer world. With regards to photography, I try to capture the feelings and the images of life’s beauties and varieties that exist in many ways, from very small details to very wide views. I am looking for the contrasts in places, in colors, in different kind of buildings and I try to bring out the live parts of all this amazing mixture called ‘city’ by integrating people in the most natural way possible. There is also something mysterious and fascinating about how all these go along together… These pictures were taken in the “Museum Quarter” in Vienna, a place that really inspired me with its life and contrasts.

Dave Steely

12 Nov

Portsmouth is the United Kingdom’s only island city. It is surrounded by water and packed with people. Despite miles of spacious pebbled coastline it is still the most densely populated city outside of London. With over 200,000 people crammed into 13 square miles of land

The top level of a car park offers an urban haven from the masses below. It offers a unique physical space that is incomparable to any other public space in the city. Car parks are designed and constructed to be filled with thousands of machines. There are times however when they are devoid of all human presence. In these moments they can provide peaceful solitude and an eerie yet soothing silence.

I suppose it is the scale of physical space, and the sense of urban isolation it provides that I am attempting to capture on camera. Once daylight disappears, the artificial light can imbue the vacant space & surrounding views with an ethereal quality. I find this otherworldly look both welcoming and visually pleasing.

I avoid shots that look down on the city below as I think they create a sense of voyeurism that I am not interested in for these images. I prefer the feel of shots that look straight ahead, whether into tall buildings or an empty sky. This perspective helps present a feeling of detached isolation whilst also conveying the insignificance of what is below.

It is that insignificance after all, which I am escaping from.

Paris – Eastern Suburbs

4 Nov

Paris’s eastern suburbs

The eastern suburbs of Paris remained a forgotten territory until 1998 and the FIFA World Cup. Since then, new buildings arise every day, from Company Headquarters to Ministerial offices.

But a trace from the past is still remain.

© Thierry Cariou (2009/2013)


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