Since moving to Vancouver at the turn of the millenium, I was always the one in the group who had a camera at the ready – day or night it didn’t matter, I would capture it all.
Being new to the city, I took every opportunity to explore my visually rich home on Canada’s West Coast. I was a daily fixture at my local one-hour photo shop; the proprietor Simon would inquire if I was away for a week. Editorial jobs had me shooting frequently too, so the binder of chromes and negatives grew rapidly. As equipment improved I began to add to the mix – digital bodies were soon found amongst my Hexar and Pentax film cameras in the bag.
Some years later, I acquired my first ‘smart phone’, and began exploring simpler, non-intrusive ways of capturing street life, something this almost invisible non-camera device facilitated. It was a liberation, leaving my other cameras for the bigger projects, and moving lightly on bicycle with just this pocket camera. To further simplifiy matters, I chose to shoot in high-contrast black and white to capture my subjects with as little distraction as possible. At this time of experimentation with simplicity, photo collections like ‘City Square’ came together.
City Square is a photography series with it’s genesis in the fleeting moments of street photography. In the early spring of 2010 I found myself city centre in Vancouver, BC as the hard winter light began to soften towards spring. In the financial district, this particular urban environment was cold, concrete and felt very stark to me. With new cherry blossoms opening up on the trees, and people starting to venture outdoors for their lunch or coffee break, I began to see new moments taking shape in these urban spaces. My interest was primarily to isolate the people and the objects that signaled this change, lending humanity to this cityscape.
Today, the camera phone is but one tool in my camera bag. I did not (and will not!) abandon using proper cameras by any means, my professional work and my personal goals with photography simply would not allow this. In fact, the Fuji X camera system has now been my daily companion for the last few years. However, my phone is still the camera I have on me all the time, and one that ends up capturing many of those elusive life moments.
About David Niddrie
Vancouver-based photographer David Niddrie has worked in the non-profit and progressive media sector since 2000, shooting for editorial outlets such as Adbusters, CBC Radio3, Momentum Mag & others. Concurrently, David has developed a strong body of work examining subculture, performance and the urban & rural landscapes of the Americas. He exhibits his work locally, with pieces in both private and public international photography collections. Equally at home investigating fragments of the city and impressions in the wilderness, David explores the cultural and mental geographies that capture his interest. [Official Website]