Urban Noir Magazine, Issue 1 - Pgs. 5 & 6
Page spread from Urban Noir magazine (Issue 1 - September 2011) featuring model Molly Noelle Graham (MM#2218021). Hairstyles, makeup, and talent management by Lara Graham. Photography, graphic design, and writing by Will Stotler (MM#1338163). This was an experiment in developing a coherent, modern magazine design from scratch.
Text from this spread follows
FINDING NOIR (cont.)
and I practice it, Urban Noir is a style that draws upon elements of both German Expressionism and American Film Noir, but plays out on the street in found conditions, mise en scène, like the best street shooting. It pulls its noir influences from both look and mindscape considerations, it’s urban because of the locale and attitude. The look must include elements of monumentalism and modernism. Exploitation of directional light, shadows, and selective focus enhance the seen and also the unseen—the feeling that just out of frame a whole world is waiting, and perhaps not this one. Within the frame, a tension between the model and his or her environment is present—the model’s position interacts with the exterior spaces to reveal an interiority, something more about the mood.
From a practical standpoint, Urban Noir requires the photographer to visualize the final photographic possibilities of found spaces and light in otherwise “ordinary” street conditions. The street space must be photographed in such a way that it appears hyperreal—more real than real—or, an archetypical example of the street environment, heavily stylized through light and texture. But, the street could be anywhere in the industrialized world or nowhere at all, as on a film set. However, while the look draws from street conditions, the final photograph must draw out the interiority of the model’s performance by leveraging a sense of monumentalism and modernity from the environment. As a look, Urban Noir is characterized by a photograph visually and conceptually tied to the noir tradition, but practiced as a branch of constructed street photography.
Caption: Foregrounded, Molly Noelle Graham looks knowingly as she is embedded in a photograph that makes a conceptual nod to the golden patchwork paintings of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt.