Winter is generally not a great time for urban photography, particularly in the UK. During the few hours of daylight we do get , it is either overcast and hence low lighting, or bright sunshine with long distracting shadows. One relief from these conditions is during or after snowfall, which tends to accentuate any little bit of colour that is around. It also provides great opportunities for minimalist style images.
For more examples of my urban winter images please visit a small collection here
Signs are all around us, informing us, directing us, and warning us of dangers. By the very nature of what signs need to do, they are generally quite prominent against the background, and therefore make great subjects for both my minimalist and new topographics photos.
Please take a look at my sales gallery here for more photos of trees.
I am fascinated by trees in the urban environment, and I have featured them in both in my minimalist and new topographics photographs. In minimalism, I am normally trying to avoid them because of the unnecessary context or distraction. In urbanscapes they often affect the balance or symmetry I am trying to achieve. However they do occasionally provide a superb contrast to what would otherwise be a very uninteresting wall or landscape.
Although most of my photography now is in colour, there are certain times when black and white suits the subject better, particularly in minimalism where high contrast works very well. I do enjoy subjects in strong sunlight and deep shadows as can be seen in this example. More of my black and white minimalism can be found here in my sales gallery.
Occasionally I do stray outside of the urban environment, and not always by accident. In June 2021 I took a weekend photography holiday to The Wirral Peninsula in England. Not really knowing what to expect, I very pleasantly surprised by the peacefulness of this area, particularly the North and Western coasts. This image was taken in Hoylake on the north coast, and is my favourite image from that weekend, and probably from 2021. It is now part of a set of images I have called Minimalscapes, more of which can be viewed here in my sales gallery
‘Shapes of Bradford’ is a continuation of my interest in urban photography and is the result of many weekends over the past 3 years walking around industrial estates and retail parks in my home city of Bradford. In this project, I have attempted to focus on shapes and lines in keeping with my minimalist photography mindset rather than on the decay and decline which is often the way northern industrial cities are portrayed.
More images from ‘Shapes of Bradford’ can be found here
This photo was taken on the last day of a trip to Dubai last February. Little did I know at the time that it would be my last excursion for a while. In fact, I haven’t been further than 50 miles from home, and not spent a night away since then. I have been able to get out and about locally, but have decided to treat myself to a photography holiday next weekend, and although it is UK not Dubai, it is a coastal location which I really miss. All will be revealed in an upcoming post.
This photo is part of my Minimalscapes collection, more of which can be found here
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. Continue reading →
I am fascinated by how slightest irregularities gives wonderful juxtaposition to the otherwise clean lines found in modern architecture. Even the flatest looking window pane is likely to have some warping, which is excellent for creating abstract photography out of geomentric structures.
Ferris wheels as tourist attractions are becoming a common site in many cities around the world . This is a reflection of the one in downtown Atlanta, the distortions in the reflective glass making it look quite surrreal. Fortunately I caught the light at the right time!
I very rarely intend to take black and white images deliberately, but sometimes there is so little colour that it just makes sense to convert them to monochrome. In my sales gallery here you will find many examples of my work in this style.
One of my favourite photographic subjects is lines in minimalist photography. Lines can be vertical, horizontal, or even diagonal, and work equally well in colour and black and white compositions. More of my lines series can be found in my sales gallery here
I haven’t been much further than my home city of Bradford here in England in 2019 yet, but that hasn’t stopped me taking photos. The light here this time of year isn’t conducive to minimalism, so I’ve been using the time to build up my New Topographics collection. More of my Yorkshire Topographics collection can be found in my sales gallery here
During a recent business trip to Miami. Florida, I was lucky enough to get some free time. However, rather than head to the beach or the everglades, in typical style I chose the local industrial estates for my rest and relaxation. For more of my photographic musings in the USA, please click here
I have just returned from a holiday in Marrakech, Morocco and whilst the holiday 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 is quite evident that they are habited. In fact, I was invited into one of the homes to share mint tea and Arabic bread!
The complete series from Morocco can be found here
I am coming to the end of a 5 day visit to Joao Pessoa in Brazil. Although it is a working visit, I have been able to find some time to get out and about with my camera. During my stay, my inspiration for photography has come from the long stretches of golden sandy beaches, and true to my minimalist self, I found just the shot I was looking for!
This photo is part of my Minimalscapes collection, more of which can be found here
Recently while travelling for work I had the weekend free, and on saturday night was undecided where to go the next day. So what better to do than have a pint or two of beer and do some online research. While doing a reconnaisance using street view mapping, I noticed this building, and decided to drive 90 minutes the next day to find it!
I saw this building whilst driving north towards Boston on the interstate and decided it would make a good photograph to compliment my ‘City Facades’ series. However, trying to find this building once parked was another issue as, once in the downtown area, the high rise building make it very difficult much other than straight up!
Although I have done some editing to eliminate reflections from the glass in the window, most of the work was done when taking the shot. I often have to move around to adjust the reflection to my liking, sometimes to include it, sometimes not. More of my minimal style windows can be found in my sales gallery
I had just spent a few hours wandering the city streets for inspiration and I was on my way back to my hotel when I spotted this image. The first problem was I was driving along a highway so had to take the next exit, and then back to the location. The second problem was, trying to find a suitable place to stop as the location was right next to a highway exit. Having driven around a few times, I did find somewhere to stop, but then there was the third problem, finding somewhere to stand to compose my photo!
I tried various crops of this photo, including with and without the ‘circle’ in the bottom left corner. Normally I would have cropped it out, but somehow the remaining image didn’t seem as balanced as when I left it in.
I am a real sucker for ‘I can see a face’ images. This one I ‘found’ on a fairly uneventful stroll around a dull and grey city. Thankfully the bricks on the wall were white, which nicely contrasted with the blue of the door and vents.
It is difficult to know how far to go with minimalism. Taking out too much detail can lead to blandness, whilst leaving in the detail can be distracting. In this image the intent was to see just how much detail I could remove to keep visual interest. For me this works, the essential part of the image being slight imperfections in the wall to compliment the simple composition.
It never ceases to amaze me the lengths that architects will go to in making a drab walls look interesting. This was the side of an industrial building, away from public gaze and, to the best of my knowledge, the pattern did not serve any practical purpose other than to please the eye.
This image is part of a series of images featuring that ever popular subject of ventilation grilles, which is a subset of my Industrial Minimalism series. I think I spend an unhealthy amount of time at the weekends wandering around deserted industrial estates!
I don’t normally use my blog to shout about my own photographic achievements, but I thought this one deserved a mention. Two weeks ago this photo took the top spot on 500px; no mean feat considering the intense competition from all the landscapes and fashion images which generally have more mass appeal. Agreed it was only for a couple of hours at most, but it made it!
My very first post on this blog was ‘Minimalism is like Marmite’ and I felt this image summed up this title so well I thought I would revisit. Many will see this as just too simple to appreciate. Where is the subject? Where is the detail? However, if you are like me, you will see beauty in the arrangement and balance of the shapes, being the essence of minimalism in photography.