• Spencer-wilton-hero

    Spencer Wilton: The Konkan Coast (detail)

Photography

Multi-disciplinarian Spencer Wilton is a travelling graphic designer and photographer to boot

Posted by Bryony Quinn,

It is one big universal truth that our immediate environments and those we share breathing space with will inform what we do and make. Not everyone can pick themselves up and transplant everything they know with foreign architecture, questionable cuisine and/or whole other languages, but Spencer Wilton has. For this travelling graphic designer, new landscapes brought out a different sort of work from him and, for some time now, he has been photographing his way about the place, producing images that appear to hold all the studied attention of his original occupation…

  • Spencer-wilton-01

    Spencer Wilton: Mumbai Blocks

You work as a graphic designer, how, if at all, does photography influence your design work?

I would say it’s vice-versa, that my design influences my photos more than my photos influence my design. When you’re trained as a designer you learn to see shapes and ratios and relationships  between shapes in space in a unique way, and I think I carry that eye for shapes and relationships with me when I’m shooting.

I often find myself drawn to structures that are fairly simple; big blocky structures with little embellishment. I think that attraction comes from being a designer and loving when things are meaningfully unembellished. I like when photos look flat and two-dimensional at first glance, I like photographs that feature typography prominently and boldly (especially when it’s not in english). I love when things in photographs look like they fall into a grid, as if they were meaningfully placed there with care and attention.

What can you tell us about the stories behind your images?

I suppose the story is that I have been living a semi-nomadic existence since leaving design school in Canada some five-or-so years ago. The places I photograph are ones that I’ve lived and generally really love and miss. A lot of time they are places that I would pass on a daily basis while commuting to work, or immediately around where I live.

Over time I grow to love the mundane places that confront me every day and I try to take pictures in a way that shows those places in as interesting and compelling a way as I see them. I don’t have very many photos of London yet, I’ve only lived here for like eight months, and I’m still coming to terms with what those places are for me here. There are bits of Hackney that I really like, though.

It’s not your average travel photography and focusses quite heavily on architecture – how would you define this sort of documentation?

I’m not really sure. I’ve been calling it sort of “urban landscape” photography. It’s kind of new-topographics-ish. The words “photographs of a man-altered landscape” have a ring of truth to them. I don’t think of it as travel photography, but I suppose it is.

  • Spencer-wilton-04

    Spencer Wilton: Mumbai Blocks

  • Spencer-wilton-07

    Spencer Wilton: The Konkan Coast

  • Spencer-wilton-02

    Spencer Wilton: Mumbai Blocks

  • Spencer-wilton-05

    Spencer Wilton: Mumbai Blocks

  • Spencer-wilton-03

    Spencer Wilton: Mumbai Blocks

  • Spencer-wilton-08

    Spencer Wilton: The Konkan Coast

Portrait9

Posted by Bryony Quinn

Bryony was It’s Nice That’s first ever intern and worked her way up to assistant online editor before moving on to pursue other interests in the summer of 2012.

Most Recent: Photography View Archive

  1. List

    South African photographer Dillon Marsh has long been drawn to themes that touch on environmentalism and our relationship with the world around us, and in recent years these interests have become more pronounced.

  2. Main

    Let’s get this straight, Anna Victoria Best’s work is maybe some of the most exciting photography I’ve ever seen. That may sound like a total exaggeration but it’s true – it is not often that someone’s work is so consistently brilliant throughout an entire portfolio, or that a few simple portraits can hold such a huge amount of power. If I wasn’t taken with the photos of Ashley Williams (which I was, a lot) then the fashion editorial shoot for Varon was like the photographic equivalent of pudding. You can almost hear those shoes squeaking on the lino as they do the Twist.

  3. List

    Love it or loathe it, mobile phone photography is entrenched in our modern media culture. But it’s facile to lump this ever-growing phenomenon under a single umbrella, encompassing as it does everything from hipsters’ obsession with Instagramming their burgers to the vital role of smartphone-wielding citizen journalists in conflicts around the world. In recognition of the increasing importance of mobile phone photography and the numerous narratives intertwined with it, the British Journal of Photography has launched fltr, which bills itself as “the only magazine dedicated to mobile photographers.”

  4. List

    In the last couple of weeks the professional football season has returned in all its overhyped glory, but for thousands of amateurs around the UK it’s the start of the Sunday League season that really matters.

  5. List

    Photographer Viviane Sassen has crafted an aesthetic which operates way beyond the traditional confines of her medium. She’s previously made work which would be considered fashion photography, for example, but in which the clothes featured never seem to be the driving force behind the image. Similarly, her latest series Axiom toys with notions of light, colour and illusion in a way which seems to lean towards graphic art, but each image meshes the three elements together so effortlessly that you scarcely have time to ponder the idea behind it.

  6. Main9

    In an untidy apartment in Milan, a lion roars. Nearby, an armadillo sniffs a pile of papers. An ibex is fed up; he can’t see very well for all the bubble wrap around his head. But these aren’t escapees from the zoo; they’re a failed diorama.

  7. Main

    Hey there’s a big floppy pepperoni on that Palomino! Most days I’d find the idea of wasted pizza an atrocity not worthy of further promotion, but I guess this photo series is kind of different. In a somewhat strange diversion from his otherwise rather professional work, this photographer has chosen to take countless pizzas into the great outdoors and capture them against the backdrop of the natural world. Jonpaul Douglass, whose name is a little like someone drunkenly writing John Paul Douglas, has snapped the humble pizza on sun loungers, in bushes, draped over basketball hoops, and even clinging for dear life over the barrel of a military tank. Why is this good? It just is; the quality of the photos is terrific, and ten extra points to Jonpaul who braved looking mega-weird in public to get these shots.

  8. Main3

    Canadian-born photographer Stephanie Noritz lives and works in New York where she freelances for the likes of Monocle, Bloomberg Businessweek, Dazed and Confused and New York Magazine amongst others. Her imagery is defined by sharp lighting, relaxed atmosphere and – most importantly – a youthful subject matter – whether that’s kids skating vert ramps or fast-paced little league games.

  9. Main6

    “AMERICA: Who Stole The Dream?” reads a poster in the newsroom of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Amid towering piles of papers and notepads, styrofoam coffee cups and creaking, half-broken office chairs, this is the question asked by photographer and writer Will Steacy.

  10. Image-11

    Here at It’s Nice That we spend an awful lot of time talking about, thinking about and writing about creatives but ultimately we don’t get too many chances to really see what goes on in their day-to-day working lives…until now. Our new collaboration with super-cool eyewear brand Ace & Tate – who believe in great design and ultimate customer choice – is taking us inside the studios, and inside the minds, of a host of some of our favourite creatives.

  11. Kok-list

    Palm Springs-based photographer Brian Pescador is leading a double life. By day he makes his living chopping locks and trimming beards as a travelling barber, and by night (also quite often during the day, but presumably when he’s not cutting hair) he’s an incredibly talented photographer. Naturally as a resident of the Coachella Valley, he’s got a wealth of stunning scenery to go out and shoot whenever he sees fit, but the best of his photography marries the people and places of his homeland into an idyllic portrait of youthful hedonism.

  12. Main67

    The curious work of Corinne Day seems to rear its ever-appealing head every now and again, just to remind us of a time gone by that we weren’t part of, and will never fully understand. Gaining worldwide notoriety with her famous, career-making shots of a teen Kate Moss on Camber Sands for The Face, Corinne’s groundbreaking photographs of quintessentially British, black-soled urchins were to become stuff of legend. Contrived shoots of hired models were never her thing, instead Corinne lifted her lens to those closest to her – the ones doing the washing up, smoking fags out of windows, watching telly. The fact that all her friends were rebellious models was just a bonus.

  13. List

    There are several times in your life when you look quite ridiculous and have no choice but to embrace it; at the dentist, with a mouthful of rubber glove and some green gunge, for example, or when you’re playing Twister and you have to stretch from one end of the mat to the other with a single left foot. When you come out the end of a water slide is a pretty solid one too, as Krista Long points out; you’re too busy trying to retrieve your bikini bottoms from where they’ve disappeared to without swallowing vast amounts of pool water to even think twice about what you’re doing with your face. (Hint, you look hilarious.)