Based in South London, photographer Kurt Job has been developing his subtle montage photography over the last few years. Combining his interest in minimalism, architecture, the natural world, editing and his deep love of music, he has found a mixed style that focuses on attention, stillness and balance.
An early curiosity turned into a lifelong passion
The origins of his love for the medium go back to childhood and his father's old leather Agfa camera. As a young boy, he felt a sense of joy every time he got to use it to document special occasions and holidays. When he was 10, he got his own camera, using a now obsolete film format. It was his pride and joy. The excitement when waiting for the images from the developer added to the early experience of not knowing exactly what you had captured.
As a teenager, he studied documentary photography and aspired to work in journalism, but ended up working in a darkroom as a developer. With minimal training, he was responsible for processing black and white film and printing with magnification and chemistry that added another dimension to the creative process. The job allowed him to observe how people see the world through their photography. Occasionally he did some wedding and event photography but was always looking for opportunities and inspiration for personal projects. Often the impetus for this came from time spent at the seaside, where the opportunity to notice nature, the sea and the open sky became part of his images. Living in the city, however, it was not always so easy to find similar themes.
A blend of montage techniques and surreal photographic art creates Kurt Job's posters
More recently, while teaching people to drive in London, he has taken the opportunity to notice the sites, architecture and design of the city, then returns to many of them to photograph the elements that caught his attention. Sometimes things fall into place and a photo comes out exactly as it was taken. Now and then, though, some elements are missing and others can be distracting. On these occasions, the original image becomes the starting point for the final image. Editing, montage techniques, colour adjustment and some manipulation allow him to develop his ideas. He combines architecture with natural and celestial elements. Often quite minimalist, the images aim to be attention-grabbing, tranquil and a kind of antidote to the madness of modern life. An impressive man-made structure can be combined with an empty sky to achieve balance.
The pandemic also gave Kurt a lot of time and opportunity to explore and experiment with the ideas of silence, calm, peace, and how the world looks and feels when there are far fewer people in the streetscape. A slightly more surreal quality is prominent in these more recent images. Framing subjects above ground and separating them from competing structures gives them space to be more appreciated.