For my final module of year 2 at university I was encouraged to consider a different approach and visual style to my photography - a welcome encouragement after my last project didn't do as well as I'd hoped so I knew it was time to reassess what I was creating not only for the sake of my grades but also because I felt my interest and passion for photography was beginning to slip away a bit.
I decided I needed to find an image making process that completely changed the way I photographed and how I thought about it and most of all, made me enjoy it all again. It took some time to research and experiment a little but eventually I found a new process that I came to really enjoy making which was important for me personally as well as creatively.
Key inspirations for this project (which I aspire to continue exploring and refining over summer) began with Saul Leiter, who I felt a sort of connection to from reading some of his direct thoughts about his photography and was inspired by his words as well as the images I saw. His signature abstract visual style inspired me to invite more abstraction to my street photography and also made me think back to my darkroom work wherein I created abstract works of art and I loved doing that, so maybe abstraction was something I could introduce to my work to not only make me enjoy the process but also result in unique images that have an artistic quality to them.
With this abstraction in mind, I came across other photographers who really impacted how I would refine my own abstract style, namely Siegfried Hansen, Craig Reilly and Kris Askey. The use of bold, block colours and harsh shadows by these photographers led to me searching for colours rather than simply interesting looking people on the streets and I developed a simplistic and geometric abstract look of the images within this project, taking out these people completely before re-introducing them into the scene after finding more inspiration from Reilly and Askey.
I identified one of my previous weaknesses as a battle with colour tones, trying to get the warmth/cool hue matching throughout a final set of images so that they visually linked as part of a complete set and when it didn't work, putting everything in black and white which sometimes made the images less beautiful and impressive. Directly looking for colour and putting it at the focus of my subject matter was a bit of an intimidating way to tackle this problem but I feel like I have done well to turn this weakness into something more of a strength.
This project has therefore changed how I approach street photography and how much of the street scenes I am taking into consideration before triggering the shutter: Where do these intense shadows lie and what shape do they create, who is going to walk into my shot and what colours are they bringing into frame as well as what colours are already present on the street?
I feel that this new visual style and using vibrant colours to my advantage brings a contemporary feel to my work without constant black and white and connects street photography with abstract art with geometric form of the scene interrupted by the more familiar curves of human figures. I'm looking forward to getting back out there to continue pursing this technique and seeing how it develops further and I hope you are keen to see more colour focused photography from me in the future.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram (where surprisingly I still like to maintain a black and white theme, but the new interaction of #SwipeForColour adds some fun and interest to viewing my pictures here) to keep up to date with the images I share from this project and more.
view the full website gallery here