After just returning from a trip to Birmingham, we were delighted to see this collection of bus stop shots by native photographer Stephen Calcutt, but in a slightly different style. Calcutt perfectly captures the essence of bus stops, that we all know so well, by using the scratched and vandalised windows as his lens.
Calcutt’s photography is right up our street. Literally. The raw, rugged style of his pictures not only epitomises our perceptions of bus stops but also highlights the character and the story in them. All the late nights waiting around, and all the people who feel the need to scratch a rather meaningless mark on them. They are a common sight anywhere you go in our country and Calcutt’s idea of showing the world through the eyes of a bus stop is really quite ingenious, aswell as it creating some brilliant pictures.
Calcutt had a more irritated view of the markings and vandalism of the bus stop window stating,
“Graffiti can be great art, however for me, the etched, scrawled and scratched graffiti into the plexiglass windows of the bus stop feels like a violation, like a poke in the eye, or deteriorating vision through age or disease…I’ve yet to see any of these etchings that look great in their own right. I also feel a window’s full potential as a clear barrier between yourself and the elements is compromised when the view beyond is obscured, distorted and blurred by the scratches.”
We agree with you on that one. There is nothing more irritating than sitting down on a train to find your window has been vigourously slashed at. However there is also something in us that secretly likes it. It is almost a culture mark of that particular place. A sign of the people that live there giving you an insight into the strange swearwords or slang they might have. The same goes with the etchings on the bus stops. It’s a sign of the character of a town and the people that live there.
That’s what Calcutt’s Bus Stop project means to us; it’s the true gritty side of the character of Birmingham. What d’you say about doing another in London, Stephen?