Richard Bentley has a love for buildings and believes they are a living part of our cities and cultures. But he wonders how much we really see the great structures surrounding us as we move through our modern spaces.
For three years, he has been a time lapse photographer, patiently turning his camera on some special buildings and encouraging us to consider what they reveal of our past, present and future.
In Metropolis, Richard uses his photography to explore our relationships with the cities and structures that surround us.
From the correspondent:
"When I was about eight or nine my dad got a 16mm cinecamera. It was a wind up one that we would take on family holidays. I remember using it to take some stock frame animation of my Spiderman action figure as I made him climb up the trellis in our back garden. There was always something visual about my play as a child and I think that's where my interest in photography began.
Then, in my work, I've spent years travelling around the world - going everywhere from Swaziland to Sweden, Denmark to Dubai - helping journalists, reporters and filmmakers use highly technical equipment to create visually stunning films. It's a lifestyle that involves living in hotels and travelling around new cities on my own - taking trains, taxis and buses. I'm always finding myself surrounded by great architecture. We are often oblivious to our urban environment, and while I'm sometimes guilty of walking around staring at my phone, time lapse photography has taught me to be more present in the moment; to just stop and appreciate the buildings around me.
A lot of people ask why I don't just shoot video and speed it up. But time lapse is a beautiful combination of still photography and videography. You have to compose the shot correctly. You have to drag the shutter by just the right amount. You have to work out what the best interval is going to be - are the clouds moving slowly or are they flying through the sky? You basically have to decide exactly what it is that you are trying to achieve. It is so much more than just running video for 30 minutes and then speeding it up. It's more creative, technical and demanding - not only on the mind but physically.
I do it, first and foremost, to show the rest of the world, and the time lapse community in particular, where I've been and what I've been able to create; to ask them 'do you like it too?' There's an immediacy to the feedback when you upload something to a site like Vimeo. Everybody is so willing to share their ideas and experiences.
I also think that, deep down, all of us want to become experts at something. Time lapse photography has given me the chance to immerse my heart and soul into a passion that lets me take myself and the viewers on a journey.
But in making this film, I've learnt that cities are more than just buildings. They are more than infrastructure; more than the monorail, the cars and taxis, the petrol station and the fast food place on the corner. What brings all cities to life is the people who live in them. When you are part of those communities, even if just for a short time, you take something of it with you. You take it on to the next place you visit. And like this you are able to understand people, cultures and the struggles that unite so many of us."