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.