In Rupert Vandervell’s Geometrix, the city of London is fiercely rendered in black and white. Investigating “the juxtaposition between the urban background and the human form,” the series uses the city as a series of graphic shapes against which to cast solitary figures passing through that draw the eye of the viewer in towards them.
Describing his process as “an aesthetic reaction to living in the city and its urban spaces”, Vandervell considers the geometry of his images with a highly precise compositional eye. Given that the structure of the images is their whole value – indeed, the artist explains “there is no story or deep meaning in the majority of what I do” – this attention is essential. The photographs are comprised overwhelmingly of jutting straight lines, which at times give way to the relief of a sweeping curve that arcs through the frame. The excitement of the images is entirely dependent on form, and the drama of Vandervell’s bold blacks and whites.
The characters that walk Vandervell’s streets are uniform and anonymous, often wearing the nondescript garb of a suit, their faces invariably obscured by shadows or turned away completely. The personalities are unimportant: instead, the figures simply hint at a human presence, injecting a mystifying drama. The vision of London is a grand and impersonal one.
Indeed, Vandervell uses photography to frame his experience of the city. He explains: “photography is something I can do to help create order from the chaos of everyday life. I like to show what I think is worth looking at and hide other things away in the shadows.”
Rupert Vandervell is publishing a book in August which will contain images from Geometrix alongside new work.
All images (C) Rupert Vandervell.