Dennis Church’s ongoing, 12-year series Americolor sees the photographer depict the visual noise that clutters the streets of America. Presenting an almost flattened perspective of everyday scenes, Dennis aims to explore his “strong emotional connection to the vibration of colour expressed in American society”. The record intends to “organise this chaos” into single images, which have then be categorised into various chapters that make up the wider body of work. Chapters including Transportation, At the Light and Public Attire, hint at the breadth of the social landscape Dennis has captured over the years.
Americolor first began after Dennis picked up a digital camera and started shooting in colour for the first time back in 2006. “I was awakened to colour both in the world and the photographic results. So I started an in-depth exploration of the picture making possibilities of colour,” he explains.
Dennis’ images feel hyperreal with their kaleidoscopic colour and shiny details, such as street signs and architecture feel almost stacked upon each other like a vibrant collage. Despite the seemingly unreal appearance, Dennis still describes his style as documentary. “Expanding on that, I like to play with perspective and complexity of scenes,” says the photographer. “Cameras automatically describe one-point perspective. I like to obfuscate that and put three dimensional scenes into a planar feel. That’s a challenge I enjoy.”
Originally from Iowa, Dennis doesn’t have a rigorous selection process for the locations he shoots, rather he simply photographs as he goes, continually looking for opportunities. “I like to make pictures out of nothing, and by that I mean pictures of things very few people would give even a first glance… I am constantly looking at everything I can and imagining picture possibilities. I make a lot of experimental pictures that change the way I see because how successful or unsuccessful those are pictures influence how I picture something in the future,” explains Dennis.
For Dennis, exploring colour in such an immersive and everyday way, it’s heightened the photographer’s awareness of his surroundings. Americolor currently appears in an updated edition of Bystander, A History of Street Photography written by Colin Westerbeck and Joel Meyerowitz, and published Laurence King Publishing earlier this month.
About the Author
Rebecca became staff writer at It’s Nice That in March 2016 before leaving the company at the end of 2017. Before joining the company full time she worked with us on a freelance basis many times, as well as stints at Macmillan Publishers, D&AD, Dazed and frieze.