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Capturing “abstraction and construction” with Chris May

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Mature age photography student Chris May is pushing the boundaries of digital photography, capturing the “beating heart” of cities through his geometric lens.

Previously working as an art director and graphic designer, Chris eventually made the decision to “pick up the camera” himself and pursue a Bachelor of Photography at Photography Studies College (PSC).

Now in his fourth and final year of study, Chris is still balancing the challenges that come with a full-time academic workload.

“I explore photographic abstraction, which addresses themes centred around architecture and the inner-urban environment while at the same time acknowledging early 20th century and late 20th century influences from the Bauhaus period,” he told Southbank News.

“Most of my family were in building and construction in one way or another – I remember when I was a kid, colouring in my father’s architectural drawings. It’s kind of stuck with me, that whole emphasis on building and architecture.”

Fascinated by “the subject of the city”, Chris utilises his “graphic designer eyes” to dive beneath the surface of our urban environments.

 

 

“Cities are always changing, they become monuments to human progress I think,” he said.

“People are always tinkering with the city, like Dan’s Big Build, for instance – his construction blitz Is something that fascinates me, that’s a project I’m working on now.”

A strong proponent of informed photography, Chris emphasises the significance of research in his creative process.

“I like researching. I said to myself when I went to college that I want my photography to come from an informed position, because before then I would go out with a camera and just shoot and wondered why I was shooting something,” Chris said.

 

It really backs up my work because it’s abstraction, but it’s not a genre of that is particularly well documented in this country – I feel like I’m on a bit of a crusade with that and I’d like to promote it more somehow in the future.

 

Looking ahead, Chris aspires to “exhibit and establish relationships with curators” in the art world, as well as navigating his final year at PSC.

“I mix quite well with the young ones, they kind of respect me and I certainly respect them – they’re doing such amazing, interesting things and they inspire me quite a bit,” Chris said. 

“It’s kind of like a second life, it just makes me feel good being there – the college is so supportive and they nurture very well.” •

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