Influenced by a recent William Egglestone exhibition, Mark Heathcote spent two intense days taking photographs of Houston while there on a business trip. Impressed by the powerful sun light, he mostly captured the kind of colours and contrasts that would not be possible in his home-town of London.

How did you come up with the idea for the A Portrait of Houston series?

Most of the series was shot in January 2016 when I was lucky enough to fly out to Houston for work. Whenever I fly for work, I always try to get a couple of days of my own time to trawl the streets and get to know a city. I always try to create a visitor’s view while avoiding the obvious. In this case I must have walked every street in down-town Houston about four times. I literally did not stop walking for two days, trying to follow the light, or returning to interesting spots I found.

Your pictures radiate such powerful colours. What is it that moves you to take a picture?

What struck me about Houston (compared to my home city of London), was the fantastic sunlight streaming through the streets and pockets of intense colour, so I decided to focus on that. I had also recently been to a William Egglestone exhibition, so colour was very much on my mind. It is hard to shoot strong colour in London, so it was a great opportunity.

Do you also photograph in black and white?

I mostly do colour street work, but sometimes high contrast grey London scenes simply work better in black and white. So I do a bit of both really. In London, some streets and buildings are so grey that a colour shot can look like black and white anyway. It’s important to be able to ‘see’ contrast to shoot in these conditions.

What work by other photographers inspires you?

I have a good selection of photo books and keep switching favourites, but at different times I have been strongly inspired by Tony Ray Jones, Martin Parr (especially The Last Resort), Henri Cartier-Bresson of course, more recently Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris-Webb. I think my all-time favourite would be Saul Leiter. I even tried shooting with a long lens on my Leica (something Saul was known to do). This is difficult because everything seems to move so much faster, but I have had some successes. I recently came across Marie Laigneau in LFI magazine and loved her work, so it’s not just about the big names, it is also about discovering inspirational work from less well known photographers. There is so much talent out there.

Mark Heathcote

London street photographer Mark Heathcote earns his living in the IT branch. In his free time and when travelling he uses every moment to work on his photography. His work has earned him some prizes, publications and an exhibition.

Mark Heathcote’s pictures at the LFI Gallery caught the attention of the LFI editors. You can find the photographer’s profile here.
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