Urban photography by Stuart Allen
March 28th, 2020
For me, the thrill in photography is chasing that unusual subject, composing it in the viewfinder, and pressing the shutter. I also get excitement from first seeing my images on the monitor, as I did in the past with film, seeing my prints come to life in the darkroom. I do make basic enhancements to colour and contrast, but rarely perform any complex editing, and never use composite images. All of my images are essentially as seen through the viewfinder.
March 9th, 2020
As one does, I was walking through a local industrial estate one Sunday morning when I came across this brightly painted building which really appealed to me. I found it a really stark contrast to the generally dull and dreary surrounding, and the slightly eerie feeling that sleeping industry has at the weekend. This image started a summer-long project I eventually named 'Industrial Colour', which involved a lot of poking my lens through wire fences, and getting strange looks from security guards.
March 1st, 2020
Sometimes patience is required to get the image you are looking for. Whilst it may look like this boy is a solitary soul, in fact this bridge was extremely busy as it was in the heat of summer in tourist location. It took 125 shots over a 2 hour period to get this one image. And for those wondering, yes the boy could have been photoshopped, but he wasn't.
February 21st, 2020
Those of you who have followed for any length of time will know that for many years my specialism has been minimalist urban photography. It is only in more recent times that my attention has been more focussed on a style which probably is best described nowadays as New Topographics. However, there are times, as in this collection, where the dividing line between the two styles is very thin.
February 15th, 2020
I would never make a good landscape photographer. Not because I don't have a good eye for it, but to get the best photographs more often than not requires getting up at stupid-o-clock to catch the morning sun. As an urban photographer I can take my time getting up, because for me the best part of the day is usually around midday, when on a sunny day the shadows are strong and textures come to life. These conditions are ideal for urban minimalism.
February 10th, 2020
In my minimalist photography I go out of my way to avoid street furniture such as lamp posts and overhead cables, as the detract from the simplicity I desire. In some cities, whilst trees are pleasing to the eye, and give a break to the otherwise stark built up environment, can also be very annoying. In my urban landscape photography however, they can become quite a feature. To see more in this series, please click on the link to take you to my collection of ‘The Urban Lone Tree’.
February 8th, 2020
Positioning to get the right image is one of the more challenging parts of urban photography. Stand too close and lens distortion may be a problem. Stand too far away and irritating distractions such as lamp posts or trees get in the way. For this image, the ideal position would have required standing in the middle of very busy traffic in a downtown street, and therefore was just not possible! In the end I had to settle for the pavement, where I had to jostle for position with pedestrians in this very busy shopping area.
February 5th, 2020
Sometimes the elements just come together. When was trying to take a photograph of this wall which had been partially overpainted, I was moving around trying to find a position to avoid the cable. Suddenly the sun came out and cast a shadow of the cable on the wall, which dissected the crack running down the wall, to creat this Mondrianesque image. Thankfully I was in the right place at the right time.
February 2nd, 2020
This image was created by the widely used photographic technique of long exposure. This technique is commonly used at night time to show light trails of stars or car lights, and normally requires a tripod to maintain sharpness. Here the technique has been exploited in daylight and without a tripod to blur movement and soften sharp edges to produce an image somewhat resembling an impressionist painting. The only post processing is the tweaking of colour and contrast.
February 1st, 2020
Whilst a recent holiday to Morocco was mainly about chilling out with my wife, I did find time to practice my new found love of New Topographics photography. Our hotel was next to a village called Douar Erha, just south of Marrakech. Being in an area frequented by tourists, the village has its fair share of holiday villas and hotels. However, surrounding these are the rather more humble homes and shops of locals. Better known for my minimalist photographic style I was naturally inspired by the shape, form and line of the buildings, as well as their eerily isolated feel. However, despite the unfinished look of the buildings and little signs of life, it was quite evident that they are habited. In fact, I was invited into one of the homes to share mint tea and Arabic bread!