August 10, 2020
IN CONVERSATION WITH NEIL JOHANSSON
Photography by Neil Johansson
Interview by Melanie Meggs
High streets have always been places where you could do your shopping in many and varied independent shops. Recently however, large supermarkets have been built on the outskirts of our towns and as a consequence, with their huge car parks and the ability to buy everything you need in one place, the small independent shops of our high streets have suffered. In addition the rise of online shopping has contributed further to their demise. This has led to empty spaces that often remain unfilled. The sad truth is that months and indeed years can go by before they are occupied again.
British street photographer Neil Johansson wanted to document not just the empty spaces themselves, but the interplay between them and the surrounding world. Being aware that just photographing these spaces in isolation would be impossible anyway, as the outside world always intrudes. From the outside looking in there are always the reflections of the surrounding urban environment and the people who inhabit it. These spaces no longer appeared to be empty. Whilst undertaking this project it became apparent to Neil just how widespread this phenomenon is, and how used to it we have all become. It is an unfortunate sign of the times. This following selection of images by Neil were captured in several towns and cities across England and Wales. In this interview, we spoke with Neil Johansson about how he started in photography and what he has learned along the way.
“Intuition is the key to everything, in painting, filmmaking, business – everything. I think you could have an intellectual ability, but if you can sharpen your intuition, which they say is emotion and intellect joining together, then a knowingness occurs.”