Celebrating the town and its people
By Simon McQueen
Commissioned by Atria Watford.
Atria Watford have introduced a new Digital Gallery Space. Their first exhibition ‘Watford. A Street Portrait’ celebrates Watford town and its people. They commissioned local street photographer Simon Mcqueen who has garnered widespread recognition for his unique blend of candid street photography and urban scenes, capturing the essence of Watford and its people. The art is beautifully showcased and amplified through their projector which is located on the lower mall near Joe and The Juice, providing visitors with an immersive experience that brings the town’s streets to life. His artistic vision beautifully encapsulates the essence of our town and its people. This exhibition is a captivating experience for visitors, providing a unique perspective on the heart and soul of Watford.
Simon gives us a little background…
My work is way of getting out into the world and connecting with people in the tradition of some of the great photographers of the past like Garry Winogrand, Robert Frank, and Vivian Maier to name a few. I love black and white for its look and timelessness. I don’t shoot exclusively black and white but when I’m out on the streets I don’t want the distraction of colour, it’s all about the people and trying to freeze a moment of life as it happens. Most of my work is candid, but I don’t hide. A lot of ‘street photographers’ will say that you should be invisible and not bruise the scene. Sometimes I bruise it intentionally. It’s usually a positive experience to have random interactions with strangers.
My ‘Street Portrait of Watford’ project in partnership with Atria has required a more direct approach quite literally. I would spot interesting characters in key locations around town and approach them. Most people are quite receptive once they get what you’re trying to do. I also wanted to capture urban scenes to give a sense of place with anonymous people featured purely to add a human element. I would purposely go out and shoot in bad weather so that faces were hidden by hats or umbrellas. That way I could get candid shots without having to gain permission and I really like shooting in the rain for the mood it evokes.
I will continue to shoot in Watford for a long time to come. I’m really inspired by the reality of towns and capturing life as it is in the time that we live in.