Disruptive Photographs

Early indicators of changing styles

Back in November 2017 I made a photograph from a fast moving train that surprised me. I didn’t think too much of if when I saw it on the tiny camera screen after making it but figured I should give it a closer inspection as soon as I got home to my computer.

I must have been distracted when I got home because I don’t remember studying it. Yesterday I was doing some archive maintenance and came across it again. I immediately opened it in Photoshop and processed it only to realise that it was indicative of something new in my photography. Something new in the way I was seeing. A new sensitivity to the ephemeral nature of things passing by, or rather of fleeting things as I passed by.

Sometimes we photographers make a picture that we don’t quite understand. Such pictures are sometimes ahead of their time. They appear early when we are not quite ready to fully embrace them. This is one such picture. I’m ready for it now only because in late 2019 I made a very similar picture that I was hugely excited by as I was making it. This time I was on a bus on a cold wet winter night and I made a picture of a fleeting moment as I passed by. I was on the top deck heading out of Catford in south London.

Catford Shopping Centre has a model of a huge cat at its entrance, the tail of which you can see in the picture below. A colleague suggested it looked more like a chilli pepper. And it does, I suppose.

I was looking out for a last glimpse of the cat in silhouette as I left the neighbourhood when this orange window appeared just as an emergency vehicle sped by underneath, hence the blueness of the image as the flashing lights illuminated the wet glass. I made this photograph almost without thinking. It was purely instinctive. And I love it. I think it is one of my best photographs in almost 30 years of photography. I wonder what will come next that will fit with these two? Is it the beginning of a new trend in my work? Only time will tell.

Thank you for reading.

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