contemporary urban photography

Artist Statement

Copyright © 2018 Steffen Tuck  All rights reserved

A reductionist view is apparent in my work, and while this minimal aspect reduces the elements, it also condenses and hones their participation.

I attempt to unravel the normalcy of these typical and everyday scenes by looking beyond the obvious, picking over the detail and looking for graphic forms, surface treatments and lines, horizons, corners and edges, as well as where contrasts or encroachments may sit uncomfortably together, or show a new relationship in isolation from the whole.  Interventions of nature and weather through use or misuse also feature.

 

By taking tight slices between the obvious, this isolation from the 'noise' finds a calm and control.  The dissection locates the forgotten or previously 'unseen' and shows them as the new 'hero' away from the confusion.  I call this 'left-of'-field' viewing, the shift beyond the obvious or typical, and it works at finding a new perspective or a subtle change in vantage point. The result of this shift locates what I call the ‘other.’

With the once-hidden or previously ‘unseen’ now exposed, opportunities arise to delve and visually decode the details, and I do this through slight nuances rather than grand gestures (i.e. a shadow which confuses, a reflection which promises, a distressed surface which contrasts, or nature's breakthrough at a crack or crevice).

 

These studies are part of an evolution to unearth behind the urban facade, by concentrating subtlety and delight. 

Regular revisiting on my daily walks allows this evolution to occur and study minute changes over longer periods of time.  As in my exploration to find these results, it may take the viewer several viewings to take in their fullest and finely drawn meanings.  

A mysteriousness or ambiguity is inevitable and raises questions about what we see in the urban environment.  Are we intentionally missing or misreading through laziness or haste?  What is concealed in the minutiae if we stop to appreciate how the transient and inconsistent can enrich and enliven, and perhaps add value to the appreciation of our material world?

Where one notes that daily use, wear, and habitation destroys the pristine aesthetic, I like to embrace the aesthetic of "wabi-sabi" - where transience and imperfection are appreciated- and show this normal disintegration to highlight the small beauties we miss in our hurried lives. These delicate reminders tell of the impermanence of our urban surround.  The beauty lies in the details for me, rather than the bold and clean forms of the architecture.