STOP!

Charlton Avenue
Charlton Avenue
Bouverie Lodge
Bouverie Lodge
Stone Park Avenue #2
Stone Park Avenue #2
Hackington Cresent
Hackington Cresent
Worsley Bridge Road #1
Worsley Bridge Road #1
Vicarage Drive #1
Vicarage Drive #1
Stone Park Avenue #1
Stone Park Avenue #1
Stanstead Close
Stanstead Close
Worsley Bridge Road #2
Worsley Bridge Road #2
Vicarage Drive #2
Vicarage Drive #2
Red Lodge Road
Red Lodge Road
Lower Sydenham
Lower Sydenham
Pickhurst Park #1
Pickhurst Park #1
Pickhurst Park #2
Pickhurst Park #2
Greycot Road #2
Greycot Road #2
Greycot Road #1
Greycot Road #1
Copers Cope Road
Copers Cope Road
Elmers End
Elmers End
Brackley Road #1
Brackley Road #1
Bridge Road
Bridge Road
Brackley Road #2
Brackley Road #2
STOP!
Commissioned by faux-tography online digital book.
STOP! Is a series of ‘portraits’ of sheltered, lit, bus stops. Photographed between the hours of the last bus passing through at night and the first bus’ arrival in the morning, these familiar structures have no purpose or function during this time period yet they remain persistently ready and waiting to be used.
This series grew out of an exploration into making photographs of mundane spaces in order to force a look at something normally ignored, to draw attention to them and search for some kind of value in them.
In this age of ‘non-stop’ activity, of constant movement, where one is continually bombarded with data and pile upon pile of visual impressiveness, all jostling for attention, and where no moment is allowed to be unfilled, the simple pleasure of looking at or doing nothing is lost. If something is not shouting at you, is it worth looking at?
I find pleasure and worth in using photography to explore that which I would not have explored otherwise. I use photography as a tool of discovery; of the visual world around me and of myself. The act of photography and the photographs themselves work off of each other, to form each other.
It was the desire to take photographs at night that lead me to walk out into the darkness. My experiences dictated the initial set of images from which I chose a picture of a bus stop to explore further.
I had to walk to each bus stop, as they were all on routes not served at night. Each photograph is taken from the opposite side of the road, either twenty paces to the right or left. This angle gives the impression of approaching, walking and looking rather than a straight on viewpoint that would give the impression of standing still.
There is an obvious affinity with the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher, who photographed multiple industrial structures. Unlike their work the formality and diagrammatic look is shaken up in this series through use of colour, the familiarity of the structure and a shift in perspective. Their work seemed almost devoid of life, stark in black and white and presented as objects to be compared. In STOP! I have found narratives in each scene. I feel human activity in these common structures even though no human is present in the pictures. The long exposures and colour of the photographs, balanced heavily towards a tungsten temperature, give the images a mesmerizing glow that holds the gaze and sets the mind wandering.
These long exposures, in which nothing moves, are taken at places that are static representations of movement. This is inactive evidence of activity; a bus stop is a structure that is a symbol of civilisation, activity and daily life. It’s easy to bypass the significance of a bus stop because it is a functional structure, but it is a place of memory, of happenings. At night these bus stops appear lonely, and desolate, but it’s difficult not to project activity onto them; there is tension and anticipation of an event.
Aside from that they appear to take on a personality of their own. The more I look at the series the more each bus stop seems to be guarding its position. Standing boldly upright with its’ beacon of light and its’ flag (ie. the bus stop sign) pitched firmly in the ground before them emblazoned with their coat-of-arms (ie. the London buses logo).
The title ‘STOP!’ refers not only to the fact that these are bus stops, but is also an implication to stop and look at one’s surroundings.
The exclamation mark suggests action, movement and urgency. These still photographs, taken while most are resting, are in contrast to the fast paced up-to-the-minute throw away digital culture in which the developed world is driving through at 1000mph.
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