Bus Stop – Work of Stephen Calcutt at London Art Biennale

Bus Stop – Urban Photography of Stephen Calcutt at London Art Biennale – words Alan Woods

Have you even been stood at a bus stop and seen the graffiti etched into the see-through plastic? You get this strange disorted view and can it can seem menacing – especially if you’re alone at dusk.

Well photographer Stephen Calcutt saw something else when staring at this urban scrawl. He began shooting and creating images that focused on the gnarled indentations and also the image of the world beyond. The resulting images are quite extraordinary. They have a raw beauty and serve as a skewed view on our urban landscape.

 

The artist in his own words:

“Reflecting the work of abstract artists and following in the footsteps of photographers such as Saul Leiter. My unique form of street photography is a consequence of my frequenting bus stops and shelters around the City of Birmingham. Graffiti can be great art, however for me the etched, scrawled and scratched graffiti into the plexiglass windows of the bus stop feels like a violation. like a poke in the eye, or deteriorating vision through age or disease.

I’ve yet to see any of these etchings that looks great in its own right. I also feel a windows full potential as a clear barrier between yourself and the elements is compromised when the view beyond is obscured, distorted and blurred by the scratches. I fix my camera on the etched lines and generally put the view beyond out of focus. it’s in the processes after that I enhance the image by merging the graffiti and the view beyond. Some are more abstract than others, at first glance looking like paintings.

I love the way they are almost anti-photo, they resonate with my past engagement with Punk culture. There is a lot of energy in these pictures. they invoke frustration, beauty, love, pain and anger. For me I have to let go somehow when viewing them. I need to let them be what they are to fully enjoy them.”

You can see the work of Stephen Calcutt at the forthcoming London Art Biennale

Bus Stop – Urban Photography of Stephen Calcutt at London Art Biennale – words Alan Woods