August 24, 2020
LONELY URBAN PEOPLE
Photography by Belinda Corney
Interview by John St.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to turn a love of photography into a life-long passion? For Australian-born Belinda Corney, the answer is simple – a single street photography workshop in London. With just one introduction to the art form, Belinda was hooked and has never looked back.
Originally from the beautiful Whitsunday region of Queensland, Australia, Belinda relocated to London in 2017 and discovered street photography. Finding an artistic outlet she had been missing for a long time, Belinda has since explored the city with her camera and captured images that show her love of light, shadow and reflections.
From captivating solo figures to silhouettes in the unique light of the city, Belinda’s work captures the beauty of human interaction within their environment. This collection of images is a testament to her eye for detail and appreciation of interesting shapes.
Join us as we explore Belinda’s journey in street photography, learning along the way just how she has managed to turn an experiment into a lifelong passion.
It's an honour to be able to make a good photograph of anyone, and it’s a great privilege. It's the only tool that will stop time itself. - Jill Freedman
“I watched the documentary EVERYBODY STREET for the first time last year and Jill Freedman was one of the photographers featured and what she said stuck with me. This whole documentary is full of some pretty inspirational and motivating stuff, I highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in documentary or street photography!”
IN CONVERSATION WITH BELINDA CORNEY
THE PICTORIAL LIST: Belinda please tell us about yourself. When did you start getting interested in photography?
BELINDA CORNEY: I am originally from Airlie Beach, Australia and moved to London in 2004. I currently work as a Graphic Designer and photography is a much loved hobby. I have always enjoyed taking photos but had no specific genre I gravitated towards.
What piqued my interest in photography was a 2003 documentary called Dreamlives about photographers Trent Parke and Narelle Autio. You can also follow their work @chillioctopus. I got caught up in their passion and exuberance for chasing the amazing Australian light and that perfect moment. This documentary inspired me to go out buy my first SLR camera, then I came to London and this is when my love of shadow and light started to translate into my photography. My interest in street photography came much later after participating in a workshop with Joshua K. Jackson @joshkjack and Craig Whitehead @sixstreetunder in 2017. This workshop instantly kick-started my love of getting out and photographing the amazing city I live in.
TPL: Where do you find your inspiration?
BC: Instagram, YouTube, documentaries, books, but mostly when I am out and about exploring London, you see a scene or location and it inspires you to create something from it.
TPL: What do you want to express through your photography? And what are some of the elements you always try to include in your photographs?
BC: I am drawn to the interesting shapes that shadow and light create, as well as capturing the interaction of human beings, usually solitary or in silhouette, within their environment. I do love a sense of mystery, it developed in college and I haven’t been able to shake it!
TPL: Do you have any favourite artists or photographers you would like to share with us, and the reason for their significance?
BC: The artists Edward Hopper and Jeffrey Smart were big influences during college. I was drawn to how they portray lonely urban vistas and isolated individuals.
Magnum photographer Trent Parke who I mentioned earlier. I especially love his Dream/Life series. I was drawn to how he has captured the franticness of city life, but how it also conveys a sense of isolation that can come with living in a large city.
There are also so many great photographers who inspire me on a daily basis via Instagram:
Mavis CW - @onechapter, Mark Fearnley - @mark.fearnley, Josh Edgoose - @spicy.meatball, Eric Kogan - @erickogan, Nina Welch-Kling - @ninakling, Mo Barzegar - @mo.barzegar, Hiroshi - @hiro_ig101, Sara Melhuish - @swendeluk to name a few...there are so many!
TPL: Has your style of shooting changed since you first started?
BC: A little. I am still drawn to light and shadow, but I do try to take a few more typically candid shots here and there looking for interesting moments and faces. I am not very good at it but it is fun!
TPL: Where is your favourite place to photograph?
BC: I love brutalist architecture, so Barbican and the Southbank Centre in London are favourite spots of mine, I enjoy capturing moments in these spaces and along the Southbank itself. I also love the Tate Modern which is another iconic landmark in London, it’s a beautiful building and space to photograph in and around.
I am drawn to the interesting shapes that shadow and light create, as well as capturing the interaction of human beings, usually solitary or in silhouette, within their environment.
TPL: How does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length? What would you say to someone wanting to start out in your genre of photography?
BC: I have the Fujifilm X-T2. I find the tactile nature of the dials and aperture ring helped me fully understand the relationship between ISO, shutter speed and aperture, but the rest is on me!
My 50mm f2 is my preferred lens at the moment. I am trying to use my 23mm f2 more but I do neglect it as jumping between the two can be quite jarring due to the difference in focal length!
For someone wanting to start out in street photography, I would say always have your camera with you. Also, have your camera on and the lens cap off so it is ready to use, you don't want to be fumbling with your camera and miss the shot! It is only since I have been doing this that I have noticed my photography style improve. You will end up taking a lot of photos and only one or two may be good out of the hundreds you do take, but when you get that shot you are proud of it makes all your efforts worthwhile and encourages to you keep going.
TPL: Do you prefer to photograph alone or with friends?
BC: I find photographing on my own more relaxing, you can just wander and lose yourself in a walk around London. But I do enjoy meeting up with fellow photographers every now and then, it’s fun to have a walk and a chat and bounce ideas and compositions of each other. I have met some lovely photographers through photo walks and meetups here in London.
TPL: Have you ever been involved in the artistic world before photography?
BC: I studied Visual Arts majoring in illustration and printmaking in college, I also used to draw a lot, but when I came to London I just stopped.
TPL: Are there any special projects you are currently working on?
BC: Not at the moment. I have thought about creating a zine, I am a terrible procrastinator though!
TPL: What are some of your goals as an artist? Where do you see yourself or hope to see yourself in five years?
BC: I am not great at setting myself goals, but in five years I hope to be back in Australia. I would love to set up a studio of some sort and get back into my printmaking, perhaps even creating prints from photos I have taken over the years.
TPL: “When I am not out photographing, I (like to)...
Meet up with friends, walk, but I normally always have my camera with me when I do this! I do love to lose myself in a good book or TV series, I have been doing a lot of this during lockdown."
Belinda Corney is an inspiring photographer who has mastered the art of capturing light, shadows, and reflections in her portraits. We are thankful for the journey she has shared with us, and we encourage everyone to explore her fascinating portfolio. Connect with Belinda and get inspired by her beautiful photography by using the links below.