In recent years we have seen a shift in the way creative photography is used to capture the city. Previously, photographers documented the world as they saw it, striving to show us moments we would never have the opportunity to see. Today, however, the world is more accessible through technological advancements and photography’s role has had to change. Photographers now have to give the world meaning, ask questions and present a point of view. They now use the camera as a tool to investigate the city as a place, and not just depict singular instances that happen within it. Photography now helps us to understand our cities and prompt discussion about the everyday places that surround us that we often take for granted.
The English photographer Graeme Vaughan uses a particularly unique approach for exploring and capturing the city. He visits cities he doesn’t know, such as Warsaw, Prague and Palermo, simply finds a stranger to follow, who acts unknowingly as a guide, and he pursues them. His decision to follow a person is made from such reasons as: ‘red hat’, ‘oversized carrier-bag’ or a ‘funny walk’ which adds a further element of serendipity to his work. Vaughan states how this way of working prevents him from going his own predictable path or inhibits him from being controlled by signage. The stranger unwittingly shows their city to Vaughan, giving him an insight into their lives whilst helping to reveal the meaning of a place behind the walls of the ordinary.