Shooting Sydney’s CBD Head On
Kings Cross-based photographer Richard Heersmink often shoots in the “blue hour” and his striking photos of Sydney’s CBD feature in An Ordinary World as part of the Head On Photo Festival in May.
What makes Sydney great for street photography?
Sydney has it all; it’s Valhalla for a street photographer like me. It is almost always sunny, which makes colours more vivid and situations more graphic, but most importantly it creates shadows and silhouettes. As a new city its clean lines are good for composition, and the skyline’s amazing.
What’s a good vantage point?
My favourite vantage point is the Sydney Tower. During the blue hour, it gives you a breathtaking view of Sydney’s CBD from above and will generate stunning images. It makes you feel like you’re in a spaceship that is taking off.
What’s the blue hour?
The blue hour is the time of day just before sunrise or after sunset when there is a little bit of natural light in the sky but also some artificial light from buildings and cars. It creates dynamic cityscapes, and allows for long shutter speeds good for light trails, which are really cool because they suggest movement in a still photograph.
Like many Jeffrey Smart paintings, your work shows a human story among urban structures. What’s your artistic intent in this respect?
I love Jeffrey Smart’s work: it’s basically street photography in the medium of painting. I’ve always been fascinated by large cities—and my work is sort of a portrait of the human condition in the 21st century.
Are you documenting a disappearing Sydney?
I like to think I’m documenting an emerging Sydney. Most of my photographs are of people who go to work or home, sometimes staring at their smartphones. It’s very much about life in the here and now.
What’s exciting about being one of five street photographers whose work features in “An Ordinary World”?
It’s awesome to have your work exhibited in a featured show with Head On. This is my first exhibition, which makes it even more exciting. I’ll meet other (street) photographers and perhaps even sell some of my images, which are quite punchy.