Urban Beauty

The idea that beauty only resides in the natural world has to be contested. It is fair to say that I find most inspiration from the landscape and natural history, but at times I have been moved by urban and industrial environments.

It’s hard not to look on with astonishment and wonder at the city scape that is New York. At night it is simply beautiful, and despite my misgivings about what it represents and stands for its raw impact cannot fail to have an effect.

In a similar way the oil refineries of Pembrokeshire are a curiously beautiful sight. Again, as night falls and that wonderful half light presents itself, they become ethereal and of another world. They lose their harshness and functionality and become beacons of warmth and security in an otherwise hostile environment.

These landscapes of the modern world are, however, enhanced by the extraordinary quality of natural ambient light that they become engulfed in towards dusk. It’s the best time to photograph any city or industrial landscape; that time when the sky is still offering the end of the day and the lights that ensure these places never fully sleep are beginning to announce themselves. It only lasts for about half an hour and sometimes, if the sky is laden with cloud, not even this. But it is the time and if missed these places can become visually sterile and cold, and only the extraordinary low light of a raking sun at dawn or dusk can compete.

Light is the photographers raw medium, it is what we paint with and what defines us as photographers and artists and its extraordinary qualities are what makes any image, whether of the natural world or urban/industrial landscapes. What is placed within its reach can be transformed into something far greater than the sum of its parts or indeed its raison d’etre.

Filed under: ArticlesTagged with: ,