April 22, 2021
Photography by Ben Allan
Interview by Melanie Meggs
Exploring the world with a camera in hand and a keen eye for architecture, British photographer Ben Allan captures the beauty of the built environment in stark black and white. A self-proclaimed 'wanderer' with a camera, Ben loves nothing more than exploring the world around him and capturing it with his own unique style. His love for architecture and patterns is evident in his work, which is characterized by its graphical and abstract compositions. Instead of focusing on colours, Ben opts for black and white photography, finding that it enhances the lines, grids and patterns of his photographs. Join us as we get a closer look at this talented photographer's work and learn why he chooses to capture his subjects without any hint of colour.
“I love graphical elements - lines, patterns, and shapes. That's why I'm generally drawn to buildings. You can make a building seem so interesting with the right shot. I wouldn't say there's a bigger idea I'm expressing through my photography - it's simply what I think looks cool!”
IN CONVERSATION WITH BEN ALLAN
THE PICTORIAL LIST: Ben please tell us about yourself. How did you become interested in photography?
BEN ALLAN: I was born in Bristol, UK, but have been living in London for the past five years or so. A few of my friends were interested in photography growing up, so I played around with their cameras a bit. I properly got into it when my parents bought me an entry-level DSLR for my 18th birthday.
TPL: Where do you find inspiration to photograph?
BA: I'm someone that needs new things to stay excited...the stretches of Covid lockdown where I've not been able to explore new places definitely stifled my motivation and creativity a bit.
TPL: Where is your most favourite place(s) to go photograph?
BA: Anywhere with lots of tall buildings! Buildings aside, Barcelona sticks in my mind as a great place to photograph.
TPL: What happens when you go out with your camera? Do people respond positively to you, or do you sometimes get negative reactions? If yes, how do you handle it?
BA: If people are in my photos, it's generally pretty incidental or they are far enough away, so I've never had any trouble. Once a skateboarder told me to stop because he had an 'official' photographer with him. It was just his mate, which made me laugh.
TPL: Do you have any favourite artists or photographers you would like to share with us, and the reason for their significance?
BA: Some of my favourite photographers are: Alan Schaller (B&W street photography and he has a good podcast), Jered and Ashley Gruber (cycling photography), Fred Mortagne (combines skating and architecture), Francois Prost (architecture and other things), Nathan Brookes (architecture), Jamie Windsor (brilliant YouTube videos). I see cool things every time I open Instagram.
I generally let things come to me. I love walking around and seeing what catches my eye.
TPL: Does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? What camera do you use? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length?
BA: I use my iPhone 11 more and more every day - the image quality is crazy for the size. Otherwise I have a Canon 80D, so nothing super fancy. I tend to use prime lenses. I love my 24mm f2.8 as it's so light and forces you to move yourself to get the right shot, not just zoom in.
TPL: What are some of your goals as an artist or photographer? Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?
BA: I need to set up a proper print shop online (please message me currently on Instagram if you after one of my prints). Seeing your work in real life is great. A gallery show is a dream of mine.