Tag Archives: modern

Photography is dead. No it isn’t. Is it?


A member of the audience records a performance of Retro StefsonPhotography is dead. Photography has never been more alive.

Photography is losing its soul. Photography has been democratised.

Photography is dumbing down. Photography has never been more sophisticated.

In the end, a photograph is a photograph. Does it elicit an emotional response? Does it take you back to those lazy days on the beach last summer? Does it make you remember how proud you were when your son or daughter first wore a school uniform? Does it make you laugh again at how crazy that night out was? Does it start an entertaining discussion on the best way to make a chilli? Does it fill you with wonder and awe at the power of nature? Does it help you sell your product to the right kind of client? Does it tell a story about a war and its effect on a society that has lived with conflict for decades? Does it present you in a professional manner? Does it show how a moment of happiness can be found in the most miserable places? Does it show a performer at the peak of their career, lost in their art? Does it show dignity in the face of declining health and advancing years? Does it make you hungry or thirsty? Does it show two athletes giving everything they can and then a little bit more? Does it tease and titillate? Does it make you think?

Doesn’t it make you think? What is ‘true’ photography if not all of these things and more?

The story behind the photo: Going up

Spiral staircase at CitizenM London Bankside hotel
Spiral staircase at CitizenM London Bankside hotel (click image to view larger)

Once again this is an example of looking the other way. As part of my work as the London photographer for Hotel Tonight, I have been sent to some pretty spectacular hotels and apartments in and around the capital. One of the ones that impressed me most in 2012 was CitizenM London Bankside, part of a Dutch chain of hotels which feature identical budget rooms alongside highly decorated public areas. The Bankside hotel is in a converted office building and features automated check-in via computer terminals and a wooden spiral staircase from the ground to the first floor.

I love spirals, in nature or otherwise, so I set my camera on the tripod at the bottom of the staircase and pointed straight up. Craning my neck to view the display on the back of the camera, no doubt attracting puzzled looks from hotel guests and staff, I aimed the camera up along the axis of the spiral staircase towards the black globular lampshades hanging from the first floor ceiling, and ended up with a photo that is almost abstract, fooling the eye with the combination of sweeping curves and radiating wooden slats.

I’ve taken hundreds of photos of hotels over the past two years, but this one is probably my favourite still.