A few weeks back we asked Adam and Martene of Heiss & Rourke Photography to take the new Marvin Mountain Caps out for a test run. The pair balance a professional practice photographing new architecture for developers with personal projects documenting the places and spaces that are disappearing from our cities.
Mike sat down with Adam and Martene to dig a little deeper.
Long Shot: I first came across your ‘Time Called’ series of photographs in Cotton and Guns magazine. You have recently revisited this series, can you describe the concept behind these images?
Heiss & Rourke: For us the project is about the social economic causes of the pub disapearing from the british landscape and capturing the visual evidence of this.
LS: The images in the series so far have all been based in Manchester and Salford. Are there any other cities that you’d consider visiting for this project?
HR: When we started we didn't decide to just stick to one area but the Greater Manchester area is so big and there are so many derelict pubs here, we've not really had to venture out. Unfortunately there is no shortage of pubs closing down and since covid the process has sped up. We must have shot close to 50 pubs now and there's only one that's in Yorkshire so far which we shot early on.
LS: You’ve lived in Manchester/Salford, Edinburgh and Hannover. Which city has been most inspirational and/or best suited to your practice?
HR: We also lived in Berlin for a short time. We've found inspiration and projects to work on in all these places. We're drawn to the constant conflict between man and nature and finding visual representations of this struggle in the city. By nature we don't necessarily always mean mother nature i.e. plants etc but also the uncontrolable nature of our system and the way this changes parts of the city in different ways. The visual power struggle of the city can be found in all cities whether its wilderness and humanity or class divisions, at the moment I'd say the Greater Manchester area with its deep routed history and constant visual transformation gives us plenty inspiration and ideas to work on without having to look anywhere else. We've been living here the longest, have had a lot of time to explore it and have seen a lot of changes taking place here. The more you learn and know about a place the more you can say about it.
LS: Your personal and professional work are strangely linked, one documents the spaces that the other is replacing. Are your professional clients aware of your personal work and have there ever been any uncomfortable conversations around the subject?
HR: At present it's never really come up in converastion with our clients. I'm sure it will sooner or later and we look forward to the conversations it will lead to.
LS: The ’Time Called’ series of photographs are all shot from a very straightforward aspect and usually under grey skies. We’ve talked before about the romanticism felt for abandoned spaces, do you have to consciously avoid the temptation to present the buildings in a sentimental or romanticised fashion?
HR: Early on when we decided to start this project we had to decide on a format and style that would best represent the project. At the time we were influenced by the new typographical photographers especially the Beckers and there typographies so we decided to shoot the pubs as a typograhy in a neutral way trying to shoot all the buildings in very similar light conditions giving all the pubs the same treatment.
To see more visit heissrourkephotography.com