Archive | April, 2014

Scenes from a Japanese highway: by Spinster Cardigan

21 Apr

I am the eternal passenger. My love of taking photos from moving cars has cemented my status. While someone else is laboring at the wheel I am leisurely searching for an interesting shot. Approaching the Shuto Expressway in Tokyo my pulse starts to quicken as I prepare myself to be visually stimulated at high speed.  There is an absolute smorgasbord of fascinating infrastructure surrounding the highway in Tokyo. However, taking photos from a moving vehicle largely dictates that the resulting images are works of chance rather than careful planning. My eye looks for constancy in the ever changing environment, so repetitive colors, structures or objects are often a focus of my highway work.   Thanks to the frequent traffic jams there are plenty of chances to take a more steadied photo as the car stops briefly or slows down. However I often feel like a paparazzo vainly trying to take my money shot while being jostled around by jerky car movements, or hindered by other vehicles suddenly emerging and blocking the view. Luckily the nature of the Japanese highway makes me confident of discovering another “star” after the next bend in the road.



Refractions – Contemporary Urban Photography

20 Apr

We have our quarterly magazine “Refractions” now available on you can visit the Refractions site to find the link. The issue features Ragnar Steffanson, Pavel Petros & Laslo Biliki Image

Nick Barkworth Empty Streets

14 Apr

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.

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