After an art education I started working in a hospital as an administrative
assistant. I still work there, there are bills to be paid.
Over the years my interest in painting has diminished; the painting process
is too slow for me. That is how my passion for photography and more in
particular landscape photography, developed.
Now I live in one of the most densely populated areas of The Netherlands and
even of Europe. Not an ideal surrounding area for nature photography. Just
recently I discovered urban photography .
I now look at my neighborhood differently. I take along my camera to take
pictures of my surroundings. My work area is just outside my door and has
grown. For that reason I love urban photography.
In most British towns and cities independently owned and run garage petrol forecourts and service areas are becoming a thing of the past. They have either closed down because they were unable to compete with the discounted petrol stations run by large supermarket chains, or because their owners have succumbed to the inflated prices offered by land speculators for their prime locations.
Many of these sites have stood empty, abandoned and unused, sometimes for years, gradually developing into urban wildlife sanctuaries. Often guarded by security cameras and plywood or wire fences, they await patiently the inevitable arrival of the bulldozer and the developer.
These images form part of an ongoing project to record closed petrol stations throughout Britain and the United Kingdom.
When I was young, I used to help my parents with their business at a quiet industrial block in a regional city. During late afternoons on weekends when there was no one around, those walls would resonate with power. It used to ground me. They stand steadfast, impenetrable, supremely pragmatical as we humans blip about pretending, scrounging for meaning, dreaming of purpose.
I’ve come back to these places now as a photographer in my 30’s and it’s an alienating experience. I’m removed from the industrial realities of this (different, much larger) city. I don’t work at these warehouses and factories. I am a stranger, insignificant and lost, but I still find peace here. On a Sunday evening these places are strangely silent, perfect for meditation. There is nothing to think about other than arranging them through a viewfinder to depict their aura–their power–which I see as a challenge, or a game.
I always return from these shoots clear-minded and when I look at my photographs I see a yearning for simplicity and a celebration of play. I see 3D video games from the 1990’s; colourful, rudimentary worlds full of locked doors and dead ends. And it’s safe. It’s alright to be lost, to be human, to take your time. Who cares for the story? It’s all myth and nonsense anyway.
These are the first five of the images of the set, currently titled ‘You Are Here’. They’re not yet developed enough to speak for themselves, hence my post. The rest of the set is still to be made.Thanks for looking.
I found Jiros’ photos while trawling flickr and was struck particluarly by the shadows and his use of solitary figures the images
reminded me a little of Australian painter Jeffery Smart and Australian photographer Mark Strizic who are two of my inspirations. Many of Jiros images are typical street photos, what I look for here on Urban Photo Mag, is a certain sense of solitude,stillness & space. The images which Jiro submitted were really outstanding example of this. This set has a classic street photography feel but also that sense of emptiness and a finely tuned sense of design, which is what I’m really looking to promote on this blog.
text by Andrew Wurster