When I was a teenager, I was tasked with going to the municipal dump with my father on the Saturdays to help throw out trash. There was a tiny little corner by the broken televisions and stacks of newspapers that read “Free books”. There was always a hodgepodge of ancient paperback books and my favorite finds were usually Noir and Hardboiled fiction. I daydreamed of standing on a street corner while lighting up a cigar as a spotlight cast my shadow oh-so perfectly; in the middle distance a woman wearing a red dress would cut sharply across my path.
Capture the pure essence of Noir, especially in photography, is no easy task. Black and white photography is a challenge in and of itself and photographer Rupert Vandervell is up to the challenge. Born and raised in London, his work is characterized by its sharp lines and emphasis on stark geometric shapes. He uses the contrast of not only light and shadow, but person and environment to create rich relationships between the viewer and the world. Each photo by Rupert is filled with suspense and mystery. What are those two people whispering about? Why is he walking off into the darkness? Just what is that man waiting for? Each shot begs us to become the investigator and solve whatever murders, thefts, and shady dealings lay beneath.