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!
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6 Responses to “Nick Barkworth Empty Streets”

  1. sedge808 April 14, 2014 at 2:11 am #

    congratulations Nick.

  2. Rob April 14, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    “Nothing should deflect the shabby glory of a north of England alleyway on a rainy day”
    Why are its creators and inhabitants not part of that glory?

    • Nick Barkworth (@Nick_Bark) April 14, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Rob, its a good question and if I’m honest its down to personal taste, and something I have wrestled with over recent years when shooting the urban scene. Its not something intended to be to the detriment or in anyway a judgement of the creators/inhabitants. On one level I’ve found myself being drawn into the lives of the inhabitants of the photographs as opposed to the buildings, flyovers and fences etc. so to that end there is an element of detraction when people are present.

      I agree that the people are intrinsically linked to their environment to the point that in some ways they are still there, more so in some scenes than others. The painted fences, the clothes on the washing line, the refuse and litter are all very recent reminders that people inhabit this space. However I guess I feel that when a person steps into the frame, the scene changes and so too the meaning, it becomes a different photograph.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Photo Feature: People on the Beach - storyacious : storyacious - May 8, 2014

    […] the other set is more of a behind-the-scenes look at the town (see a recent example of “Empty Streets“). These will all be finished in the coming […]

  2. Photo Feature: People on the Beach | storyacious - August 25, 2015

    […] the other set is more of a behind-the-scenes look at the town (see a recent example of “Empty Streets“). These will all be finished in the coming […]

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