Cities can be fascinating subjects. Watching how the daylight plays around the buildings, or how night falls and the cities light up their skylines and monuments with a view you could never see in daylight. Baltimore and Philadelphia and DC are all just a short car or train ride away. These cities each hold a place in my heart and always bring something new to my camera.
At the edge of the Chesapeake or deep within any of the cities, you find old ruins, abandoned buildings, crumbling walls. Just blocks away, beautifully restored homes or buildings like the Library of Congress that stand tall and proud with their history, their heritage and their marble floors.
Older cities are constantly changing, growing, tearing down the old, building up the new, renewing and reviving. Fells Point, Baltimore has lovely bumpy cobble stoned streets as does Old Towne Alexandria, just across the Potomac from the District. Old railroad tunnels are bike pathways and a cool shade for runners.
This month's artists both see cities in very different ways.
Brian Romeijn aka “Brian Preciousdecay” is 40-year-old Rotterdam-based urban explorer and photographer with a fascination for decay and abandonments. His career skyrocketed when his Abandoned Orient Express photos went viral in August 2016. This train stands silently still and out of service in Belgium after its last trip in December 2009.
Jordon Matter, formerly an actor now photographer, uses NYC as his primary backdrop. Matter his known for his work with dancers in urban settings and his books like "Dancers Among Us". For him the city provides endless opportunity to explore portrait work. And like many photographers, his primary day to day work is headshots. According to Matter "Although I have photographed people all over New York City, my location of choice is Ft. Tryon Park. Just thirty minutes from midtown, it's the park in northern Manhattan near the Cloisters Museum. The park and its surrounding area have space, beauty, variety and privacy. There's nowhere better for outdoor photography.
Brian uses HDR techniques to post process his images – you can see this in the intimate detail and dynamic range of the photos in this post.
Brian gets truly fascinated by these places and scenes, so therefore, tries to find out the reason why the places are abandoned and when it happened. He digs into the history behind them by looking up information all over the net.
“The idea of walking around in buildings which were abandoned for various reasons fascinates me. What happened here and why has it been abandoned? What’s the story behind the abandonment and can I find historical facts of these places on the internet?”
When Brian was asked if he would like to say anything about his work so far and his involvement, he says:
“I try to feel the emotions of its past and that is what I want to show in my pictures”. “When people are looking at my work and raise questions about the what, why and the when then I feel that I have succeeded.”
Follow this link for more on Brian Romeijn and his work: (excerpts from this article)
Jordon Matter puts the focus on people. For me, I think his background as an actor shows in his ability to set the scene with the city as a backdrop.
Despite his success, I find him one of the most relevant and relatable photographers of our times.
Matter started his career on the other side of the camera.
"One day I was at a friend's house, looking through her headshots. Not one photograph said the slightest thing about her. They were very generic, very studio and very boring. When she told me what she had paid, I almost choked on my Starbucks. Outrageous! I've been the victim of that a few times myself. The next day I grabbed my camera, took her up to the roof and fired off two quick rolls before the sun set. That was it. I was hooked, whether I knew it or not." (from https://www.jordanmatter.com/ )
Matter sees himself as just 1 of 1,567,892 photographers currently residing in NYC. There is not a single day that I can't relate to this perspective!
For this month's challenge use Romeijn and Matter as inspiration to bring your chosen hometown or city to life by creating two sets of photos.
For one set make your hometown or city the star. Use a light touch of HDR to give it a vibrant punch.
In the second set, use your hometown or city as the backdrop for portrait work. Your subject does not need to be dancers or models. You can photograph friends, family, children, even pets.
Just one BIG NOTE here: It is important that you NEVER put your models into danger. There are plenty of safe locations and safe uses of a city backdrop that don't require them hanging off fire escapes or standing at the edge of buildings. Let the drama come from beautifully executed photographs not dangerous situations!
Each set should contain 5 photographs. These photographs can be posted to our Facebook page or on the Meetup.com group site: Photo Society MD/VA/DC