In the photographs of Oli Kellett the city becomes a stage

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Thanks to attending the St Martins Art College, Oli Kellett discovered the work of Magnum photographers and street photography in general. Discovering the great photographers of the ’60s and the photographers who preceded him led Oli Kellett to discover the city from a new and different point of view

His work is a continuous photographic exploration of people within the urban environment. Using the city as a stage is motivated by the infinite possibilities of chance.

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About ‘America’s streets’:

This project started in 2016, but he would like it to continue for another 3 years, hopefully. Here’s how it started, but there’s a good chance it will turn into something different.

Being in Los Angeles during the US election race in 2016, he started creating images of people waiting to cross the road. Basically, he liked the metaphor of the crossroads representing America in the run-up to the elections.

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He made these images using a tripod and a slow camera with large format movements (although digital). It has an analog shutter, everything is manual, focus, controls.It is a slow process, very similar to the large traditional format. He’s looking for spaces where some people can meet. He set the camera frame so all he could do was wait. He has no control over anything but the camera position and the time of day.

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What he means by city as a stage is that everything is a possibility. Real life is much more unpredictable than something you could hope to imagine. Although he loves a work that is staged / semi-staged (Larry Sultan, Crewdson,) it’s not for him. He would prefer that the characters of his work create themselves.

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Time to read
2 min
Words by
Published on
22 March 2018
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