Based in Adelaide, his work is inspired and influenced by the built environment with a particular interest in urban and night photography. His many photographic credits include:
Here he explains how he first became interested in night photography and discusses where his artistic inspirations come from. Read on for more…
Firstly, for those who may not be familiar with you, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your work?
Thanks Justin. I’m probably a good example of how our profession defines us – I’m an architect first and foremost, and the traits and quirks of practicing architecture have embossed my personality and approach to things; that is, I maintain a slightly obsessive and detailed take on the comings and goings of life. The study and practice of architecture has also influenced my photography as well with an obvious grounding in the exploration of the built form.
Unley Noir - Wayne Grivell
When did you first get interested in night photography and why?
Some years ago when I first started playing around with a DSLR, I started listening to a series of photography podcasts. One of them was an interview with Troy Paiva, a US-based photographer who uses light painting in images of decayed and abandoned towns and various other lost-Americana under the light of the full moon. The concept of lengthy exposures and the patience and sense of detail involved in the process had some appeal to me and so I began some basic experimentation with gelled flashes and other lighting which evolved into a much more engrossing preoccupation.
Are there any other photographers who inspired your initial interest in night photography or whose work you look out for today?
Troy Paiva certainly kick-started it for me. I’m also (naturally) pretty smitten with Gregory Crewdson’s gloriously hi-definition arts-capes and was lucky enough to see one up close in Massachusetts a couple of years ago, and the street around which it was taken. There are a few people online whose work stands out for me as well: Patrick Joust (Baltimore), Markus Lehr (Berlin) and Alex Frayne (Adelaide) are some – and I’ve always enjoyed following your photography as well, Justin.
I’m also enjoying local photographer Scott McCarten’s photography of abandoned places – Scott and I did a few night shoots together several years ago. Apart from that, I’m not really catching up with the full gamut of night work so much lately – so much of it is a little too glitzy and over-the-top for my taste but there are certainly some moody and atmospheric stand-outs amongst the crowd that appeal to me.
Do you gain inspiration or ideas from artists in other fields? If so who?
Definitely. Before I started photography I did quite a lot of illustration and paintings and for a short period exhibited a bit of both. The formal (and informal) study of art is also tucked away in my background so I’ve been influenced by quite a lot of others, a lot of which may not find its way directly into my photography but certainly informs some of the creative decisions I make. The Australian modernist painter Jeffrey Smart is an obvious link to some of my photography but there are others – Paul Klee and Wassilly Kandinsky are a couple that spring to mind and I’m also a big admirer of some of the more expressive comic artists. Adelaide-based Michal Dutkiewicz is one such example.
More broadly, I’m heavily inspired by cinema and there’s a broad gamut of films, directors and cinematographers who I draw subtle or obvious influence from: Blade Runner, John Ford’s ‘The Searchers’, a lot of Spielberg’s visuals, Tarkovsky (Solaris and Stalker specifically) and absolutely loads of others.
Do you tend to think in terms of shooting projects around a theme or particular location, or do you prefer to simply shoot what interests you without an underlying idea in mind?
I do both. There are broad themes that run through my work. The concept of suburbia is a deep source of inspiration for me, tracking back into my childhood upbringing in the most fundamentally Australian suburban setting and so I dip in and out of an ongoing series of images – “Suburban Dreaming” which are largely concerned with suburbia in the night hours.
1901 All Over Again - Wayne Grivell
For a time I also used to consider an underlying narrative through some of my night images. Despite how empty of people they typically are, I always felt that they captured the moment just before or just after someone was there. In that way, a small community of imagined people came to play a role in the images and carried on through them and was often reflected in the titles to suggest the ongoing story. This was arguably influenced by novelists and film-makers who use the same actors or even characters in their suite of work. Brett Easton Ellis used a group of related characters throughout many of his novels, thus suggesting a totally connected world. I saw that in my photography and in many regards still do think in that manner.
How do you think your background as an architect informs your work, if at all?
It absolutely does. Training and working as an architect opens up three dimensional thinking and different ‘ways of seeing’ and this applies readily to the capture and composition of photographs. There are quite a lot of architects who photograph. I also tend to focus a lot on subjects of an architectural nature which is really no surprise!
Schism - Wayne Grivell
In the final part of this interview Wayne Grivell:
If you can't wait till then, you can see more of Wayne's work here:
For prints or other enquiries, Wayne can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
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