Neon, tower blocks, alleyways, smog: urban living is both diverse and strangely similar wherever you find yourself. To capture these cultures, we’ve found five international photographers who’ve been exploring urban spaces worldwide, this is what they saw.
Greg Girard – Canada, China, Vietnam
Greg Girard is a Canadian-born photographer whose work has examined the social and physical transformations in Asia’s largest cities for more than three decades. His most recent work, City of Darkness Revisited, was released as a book in 2014 and updates his and co-author Ian Lambot’s earlier City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City. Girard has also worked on Phantom Shanghai a book looking at the rapid and, at times, violent transition of Shanghai as the city raced to make itself “modern again” at the beginning of the 21st Century. As well as these cities, his work includes photography set in Hanoi (Hanoi Calling 2010), as well as other Asian and North American urban settings. In addition to these projects, Greg Girard is a contributing photographer to National Geographic Magazine. Currently, he is represented in Canada by Monte Clark Gallery, and is working on a book that examines the social and physical landscape of US military bases in Asia and their host communities. It’s challenging to pick a small selection of Greg’s photos, as they all so poignantly capture the plights and splendours of urban life all over the world.
Edouard Sepulchre – France, America
Edouard Sepulchre is a 42-year-old French photographer, born and raised in Paris, and only in 2010 becoming a self-taught photographer and videographer as previously working in advertising. Sepulchre works on coverage of communities on wheels as well as contemplative photos of urban and desert landscapes around the globe – from California and Nevada to Paris and Croatia. After recently travelling around America, Edouard Sepulchre believes his work to have evolved notably, in terms of composition, lighting, colour and tone. His work highlights the hidden artistic aspects of urban settings, from unmissable neon signs to inconspicuous strangers on the streets.
Thom Corbishley – England, Iceland
Thom Corbishley is a 21-year-old photographer from Cambridgeshire, UK, who has most recently worked as Head of Photography at Hard Magazine at the University of York. In his fashion work, Corbishley believes that urban and industrial areas make the best backdrops, and so often works the styling around this idea also in order to explore urban lifestyle, as he did in his recent shoot in Ferrybridge, Yorkshire. Although his focus is on fashion photography, he has worked to capture urban places and lifestyles through his photojournalism too. His favourite subject matter for this work is his friends, who he enjoys photographing in a compromising way, rarely when they’re at the best – more often when they’re drunk, or tired out, so that they’re at their most candid. The landscapes that Thom Corbishley focuses on, such as small trucker cafes on the outskirts of cities, or densely residential towns, mixed with his inspired aesthetic eye, create an interesting dialogue on urban culture.
Elsa Bleda – South Africa
Elsa Bleda was born in Aix-Les Baines, France, going on to spend her culture-driven childhood in Istanbul and travelling around to various places due to being brought up by her artist mother. Since then, Bleda has moved to South Africa, where the city of Johannesburg is her key urban focus, as well as its residents. She works in the film and photography industry as an art director, photographer and actress, and cites East Asian cinema, Russian literature and the work of David Lynch as some of her biggest influences. Bleda’s most personal work is her night series photography, as she believes Johannesburg becomes an honest empty city at night, with a feeling of isolation. Shooting urban landscapes late at night, Bleda believes it becomes like an alternate reality, a sense which is surely felt in her dreamily gothic city photography.
Hayley Eichenbaum – America
Hayley Eichenbaum, 27, was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and after attending both the San Francisco Art Institute and Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, moved to work in Los Angeles. Over the years she has honed an interdisciplinary practice (hence her Instagram handle) that works to combine installation, live performance, kinetic sculpture, time-based media, and in the last three years, photography. In her 3D work, Eichenbaum investigates notions of the feminine façade – the way women, specifically within an urban western context, use beautification processes to alter their appearance based on societal trends. Although her setting-based photography may seem outwardly disparate to this, it seeks a similar context in that the focus is on the architecture being a seductive character. For Hayley Eichenbaum, cinema bares a heavy influence, particularly atomic age films – thus the reason why her photography seems to walk the line between authentic and surreal, capturing the overlapping sensations of urban life. Follow her on Instagram to vastly improve your feed, and introduce yourself to the impressively dreamlike landscapes Eichenbaum photographs.
15 October 2018