How often do we get a chance to stop and ponder over the multitude of interesting sights we pass every day, as we go about our business in this busy metropolitan? Inspired by the mundane details that make up our city’s tapestry, Photographer Jesse Marlow takes us to the streets with his camera, pushing us to confront the very sights of our lives that many of us have come to take for granted.
We caught up with him to learn more about his photography and to get his insights on how we, too, may try to capture our own unique daily experiences.
How would you define your brand of street photography?
I’ve always enjoyed the freedom of being out on the street with an open mind. For the last 18 years, my work has revolved around a combination of bold colour, strong graphic elements, and some kind of human presence within the frame.
As a photographer, what inspired your focus on capturing the mundane day-to-day scenes out there?
I first became interested in being out on the street with a camera after being given a book about the New York graffiti culture from the 1980’s, and this triggered something in me. I borrowed my mum’s camera as an 8-year-old boy and started documenting the graffiti walls that began appearing in Melbourne. 36 years later, I’m still out there wandering around, looking for photos.
Personally, what do you most wish to engage with under the surface of our daily lives?
For me, my work is very personal and shot purely for myself. However, when I do exhibit my work as a series, I want people to see these photos and try to forget that they’re in a gallery. Rather, I hope to transport them back to the footpath, where against an urban and mundane backdrop, these curious moments had occurred.
What’re some key messages that you’d like to share with our readers regarding your latest Anything Can Happen and Probably Will exhibition?
The series of photos in my exhibition were photographed over the last 7 years. In that time, I’ve really sharpened my gaze for strong colour, graphics, and unusual chance happenings that often go overlooked. The series title was a originally a tip of the hat to the nature of working candidly on the street, but after the last 2.5 years with Covid and global lockdowns, it has become more poignant than ever.
From experience, could you share some easy, quick tips on what types of equipment are ideal for us as beginners interested in street photography?
I always tell beginners to avoid the temptation of using zoom lenses, to use their feet and wider lenses (28mm or 35mm lens) as they force you to get closer to the action, no matter what it is you are shooting. A small, quiet, and discreet camera like the Leica Q2 is what I use, and is a wonderful camera for shooting out in public.
Are there certain places that you feel are good to start exploring photography?
Shooting out on the street or in public with a camera is something that takes confidence, and confidence is something that needs to be developed. I always encourage people starting out to photograph at places where there are crowds and other people with cameras. Public events, markets, or even tourist destinations are usually great for this and can easily take beginners out of their comfort zone.
Catch Jesse’s Anything Can Happen and Probably Will exhibition from now till 04 Nov at the Leica Galerie Singapore.
For more information, visit Leica’s website here.