The photographer Vivienne Gucwa has made quite a name for herself photographing her home city of New York. I guess if you happen to live in one of the most photogenic cities in the world that sort of helps but a lesson I take from this is you don’t have to travel to exotic locations on the other side of the world to create great photographs.
As an aside it is actually getting ever harder to bring back images from faraway locations that are new and which no one has seen. Heck, when even your granny can go on a cruise that takes in Antarctica and come back with perfectly decent images captured on her iPhone how is any photographer going to make a living out of travel photography?
I believe that with a little bit of imagination you can find inspirational images wherever you live whether it be a small village or a large thriving metropolis. In fact, if you live somewhere you have a distinct advantage over visiting photographers.
- You know the place better than a visitor, even if they do come armed with a pile of travel books.
- You can visit at any time of day (or night) at all times of the year.
- You will be aware of events, large and small, that run at different times of the year and be able to get to them before most visitors.
- You can slowly build up a body of work over a period of time, continuously visiting the place again and again.
- You can return to the same place again and again and capture the changes that happen there.
During 2016 I started to make a serious effort to capture images of my home city of Birmingham, England. Birmingham is the UK’s ‘second city’ (behind London) and like many post-industrial ‘Northern’ (that is North of London) cities going through a period of great change and expansion (and is set to do so even more). It’s also following the trend of other large cities to a devolution of funding, powers and responsibilities as well as selecting an elected mayor in May 2017.
Here are some images from my first year of capturing ‘Birmingham Through the Lens’.
Images captured with mainly an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk I and a variety of M.ZUIKO lenses.
I really should make more of an effort to capture my home town. Thanks for the inspiration.
Cities are an endless source of photo opportunities and projects in my experience. Go for it!
[…] As he grew older Adams became less interested in travel to other parts of the world preferring instead to concentrate on creating images of his own part of the world along the California coast of which he said he could “work for a century, exploring with eye and lens”. Whilst you might point out that California is a particularly photogenic part of the world to see out your days in Adams does have a point when he says “one must live in a region for a considerable time and absorb its character and spirit before the work can truly reflect the experience of the place”. Maybe this is something we should all consider more. Not just because no matter where we live there is almost certain to be a photographic treasure trove to be had on our doorsteps if we just look in the right way but also because as the impact of global tourism becomes better understood we could all benefit from staying at home a bit more. […]