Tag Archives: Interview

Sense the City: Meet the Photographer Q&A – Stephen Banks

This Q&A is part of the Sense the City Flickr Project. For background on this project see Sense the City – Flickr Project.

Better to just ignore him..., by Stephen Banks, 2011

Tell us about the inspiration behind your photo
I visited London back in December, partly to do a tour of the galleries and museums, but also partly to expose myself to better street photography opportunities. My home town in a place called Bridport, in West Dorset. Although it is a lovely place to live, it doesn’t have anywhere near the kind of buzz and spontaneity of a city like London.

How long have you been involved with photography?
Pretty much all my life (all 22 years of it so far). I had always been fascinated with whatever camera my mum or nan had, but never really got taking photographs until I was in my teens. My passion for photography came about during one general studies lesson in the first year of Sixth Form at The Blue Coat School in Liverpool. We were told to go out and take macro photographs and whoever came back with the best one won a prize. I hadn’t chosen art for either GCSE or A Level, so my result wasn’t very good. Needless to say, I didn’t win. But I was inspired. I could do something so fun and it was considered as work!

What equipment do you use?
The majority of my professional work at Watershed PR is done on a Nikon D7000 dSLR with a variety of prime lenses. I also do a fair amount of video work with this. Street photography is handled with my little Panasonic Lumix GF2 and 14mm pancake lens, although I have until recently ventured out with cameras such as a Lomo LC-A and my beloved Leica M3. The film cameras don’t see the light of day much any more, but I still keep a fair collection of them.

What inspires you?
Young people getting out there and giving it a fair crack. There’s plenty of creative kids around here in Bridport, but they either don’t have the drive to push themselves, or they succeed and leave the area because of the lack of jobs. I’m sure it’s different in the city, but with the job market as it is at the moment, I know I’m extremely lucky to be in a job I enjoy so much.

I also subscribe to around 50 creative website RSS feeds, so that keeps my creative brain ticking over in my spare time. Beats sitting in front of the television all night!

What is your preferred subject matter?
Candid street photography. I love seeing how people act on the street and I react accordingly with my street photography. Oddities in behaviour, juxtapositions, visual puns, all that jazz

Plans for the future?
Get a car and a house. Oh, in terms of my photography? Well I’ve just completed a time lapse starscape project in the local area called Bridport by Night: youtu.be/cbjeXWMNZ5s – as much as a video can do around here, it’s gone viral. So, once the buzz dies down about that (I set a target of matching the number of views with Wikipedia’s population count of 12,977 for Bridport), I will be working on a series of short films and trying to improve the first version of Bridport by Night with some new shots.

Describe your photography in one word.


Further Information

Stephen Banks Website: http://scousebysouthwest.com
Stephen Banks Flickr Photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23048898@N06/
Stephen Banks on Twitter: @DorsetScouser

60 Second Interview with…Heatherwick Studio

Thomas Heatherwick

In January 2010, Heatherwick Studio joined the team leading the design of a New Bus for London. The project marks the first time in more than 50 years that TfL has commissioned and overseen the development of a bus built specifically for the capital. Read More…

Thomas Heatherwick established Heatherwick Studio in 1994. Thomas is an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA and a Senior Fellow at the Royal College of Art. He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from four British universities – Sheffield Hallam, Brighton, Dundee and Manchester Metropolitan. He has won the Prince Philip Designers Prize and in 2006 was the youngest practitioner to be appointed a Royal Designer for Industry.

Here we talk with Heatherwick Studio about their work on the New Bus for London.

What inspired the design of the New Bus for London?
It has been more than fifty years since someone was last commissioned to look in a comprehensive way at the design of London buses. Heatherwick Studio has been given this task and has developed a new design that reflects the functional requirements and challenges of making a new better bus for London. The bus is particularly special because the design is specific to London. For the first time the ‘look, feel and styling’ of the bus has been designed holistically.  Some of the refinements of the design have resulted in the softening of the form, a return to a more calm and naturalistic usage of materials that echo qualities also identified with the Routemaster. The studio has also been keen to retain a sense of heritage in the design.

What was your biggest challenge in designing the New Bus for London?
The requirements of the new bus make for a slightly longer vehicle than current double deck buses. The studio’s main challenge was how to balance the design requirements with the practical and functional needs. To do this, the exterior form was carefully shaped to make a less box-like object.  The most distinctive aspect of the design is the asymmetric ribbon window with its glass that wraps around the vehicle, expanding at the front to provide the driver with clear kerbside views, and following the two staircases as they rise upward to follow movements of a passenger.

What is your favourite aspect of the bus?
The studio has been keen to ensure that the new bus would be an integrated piece of design with exterior and interior working harmoniously. As a result, there are many details which we took a lot of time getting right. For example, we designed a ‘New Bus for London’ moquette. The pattern is derived from the sculpted typography of the seat, a bit like a map; the contour lines are derived from the undulating shape of the seat.  The resulting rich pattern clearly denotes the individual seating positions whilst effectively masking day-to-day wear and tear. We also paid a lot of attention to the cab, and the driver experience too.  We have tried to give the cab a sense of specialness whilst also providing a highly functional working environment.

The old Routemaster was on the road for 60 years. How do you envision bus design in the next 60 years?
The studio wouldn’t want to begin to predict how a bus might look in 60 years time bearing in mind the technological advancements of the last 60 years. However, it would be safe to say that future technology will impact on any future aesthetic design in the same way the most innovative, latest hybrid and environmentally friendly technology has been taken into account in the current design which will be of great benefit to all in London.