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“Street photography is something that can’t be rushed or forced,” says Australian photographer Jesse Marlow. And so the majority of his photos - which have been shot while he has been out and about on his daily routine - speak of patiently searching, finding and waiting for the right moment.

LFI: The title of your series sounds like a piece of wisdom. Is this motto also the motivation behind your photography?
Jesse Marlow: It’s a title that I came across while reading a book one day, and thought it perfectly summed up my approach to my ongoing work. I love the uncertainty of street photography, and if I knew what I was going to be shooting tomorrow, I would’ve become bored with shooting on the street. The fact that I can leave the house one morning and come home with a photo that will be with me forever excites and continues to drive me. Looking back at the last 20 months globally, I think the title also really reflects the unknown position the world has found itself in due to Covid-19.

Your photographs seem like puzzles, assembled from several compositional pieces, always photographed with a geometric approach. What does form/geometry mean to you?
Thanks! That puzzle analogy really sums up my approach well. With some of the more static scenes I encounter, I do really labour over the composition and often it’s with the fourth or fifth attempt at looking at a scene that the picture finally reveals itself. I love it when this happens and it does feel like the final piece to a puzzle being slotted in. Form and geometry have always played a big part in the colour work I’ve shot over the last 15 years. Without letting it takeover, it’s something I’m certainly conscious of when out and about shooting. I had initially wanted to be a graphic designer, so graphics and architecture have really played a part in the photographer I’ve become.

The compositional nature of your shots suggests that your images are staged...
They are all coincidences and nothing is staged. I’m quite deliberate with my composition and strive for photos that combine some kind of colourful, graphical scene, and when a human element enters the frame things start to work for me. Often there’s a lot of waiting and hoping when I do come across a scene that has potential, and that’s the fun (and sometimes frustrating) part of the work I shoot. More often than not I come home with nothing, but the days when things do come together photographically, make it well worth it.

You photograph with the Leica Q. What do you particularly appreciate about the camera?
The Q / Q2 has been the only camera I’ve used for personal work since its release back in 2015. It’s everything I need in a camera and hasn’t left my side in all that time. What I’ve always loved about the Q/Q2 is how simple and straightforward it is to use. I’m one of those photographers who likes to be in total control and keep things simple. I was an M6 shooter for a number of years before shooting with the Q, and for me it was a really easy switch. As someone who regularly exhibits my work, having the added megapixels in a camera so small, quiet and unobtrusive is everything I need. (Interview: Katja Hübner)

Find out more information about his series in the upcoming LFI Magazine 7/21.

All images on this page: © Jesse Marlow
Equipment: Leica Q, Leica Q2, Summilux 28 f/1.7
© Jesse Marlow

Jesse Marlow

...is an award-winning, Melbourne-based photographer. His work is held in public and private collections across Australia, including the National Gallery of Victoria. Over the last 18 years he has published a number of monographs, including the latest one, Second City. In 2011 he received the International Street Photographer of the Year Award, and in 2012 he won the Monash Gallery of Art’s Bowness Prize. Marlow has been profiled in many books, including Street Photography Now and The World Atlas of Street Photography, published by Thames & Hudson. Marlow is represented by Institute Artists.

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