Projects: Sundown at Bank Junction
This series of photographs was created on site, in camera and with post-production limited to adjusting levels and cropping. It was shot on a sunny autumn afternoon through twilight and into dusk from just a few vantage points on a single junction in the heart of London’s financial district. An unusual photographic technique, great light and a vibrant environment combining to form a dramatic visual narrative.
After a hectic rush hour, evening draws in. The light fades and the streets begin to empty out. Artificial lights start to dominate the compositions and produce vibrant dynamics, counterpointing the traditional clean lines and light trails associated with night photography in the city. Dusk seeps from the sky and absorbs itself into the landscape. A nigh on apocalyptic depiction of a street scene concludes the series with odd fractious elements collaging themselves to the very front of the picture plane.
The photographs were all generated by a considered abuse of a camera function that normally requires absolute stillness. Applying it to moving subjects results in ghosting and peculiar abstractions (warned against in camera manual), whilst in the most successful images, it formulates a fine balance of static and moving elements. Pushing this technique to extremes has helped curate a highly personalised aesthetic and generated its own subsets of styles.
The broad aim of the project is to produce painterly impressions of the world around me, using photography. However, unlike the painter - who allows his interpretation to inform his paintings - I let the camera, performance, subject matter, time and happenstance generate mine.
In the heart of London’s financial district, people pour from their workplaces. Textures are generated from their movements and are echoed in the environment around them.
Traffic intensifies during rush hour as a stampede of activity floods towards the camera lens, in contrast to the static architecture bathed in late sunlight in the background.
The statue of the Duke of Wellington in front of the Bank of England building loses all detail as each exposure is woven together in a painterly fashion, flattening the information and altering the perception of depth. A red flash from the traffic light highlights the expansive camera movement made in creation of the photograph.
The buildings at the back of the busy junction are drenched in the last of the afternoon sunlight as the shadowed foreground appears smudged and submerged. The ghost of a cyclist moves into the frame at the forefront of the picture plane, emphasising the passing of time.
The skyline is ghosted as the camera lens zooms towards the oncoming traffic, dragging the iconic red of the London bus out of frame. A dynamic pictorial puzzle unfolds.
As the light fades, electric trails punctuate the cityscape. Fractions of cars emerge through them. The traces of old buildings highlight the experimental nature of the photographic technique, helping to create a layered impression of the moment.
With exaggerated upward movement a flat grey section is created where no detail exists leaving space for the composition to breathe. A mystifying glow appears around the skyline, a gesture to the peculiar luminescence often created by normal HDR photography.
The Bank of England building has its portrait taken once again, this time with a swift vertical camera movement, under the light of dusk. It becomes absorbed by the intense blue of the sky as the world appears to melt into the ground.
The picture plane is abstracted with a dusky blue and punctuated by lights streaming from the street, creating a juxtaposition against the figurative detail in the buildings. Questions undoubtedly arise about what lies beneath this veil of abstraction.
Almost apocalyptic by nature the last image in the series pushes the technique to near unrecognisable levels. Shadowy buildings provide a haunting backdrop, whilst fractions of the first exposure remain haphazardly layered atop smudges made from the intentional camera movement of the final exposure.