Free verse is for the lost soul. The lost soul who can no longer see or touch the beauty outside the perimeter of their mundane lives. We walk past that beauty, and instead of divulging we simply run into the dark arms of oversight. Camera in hand, photographer Fraser Stannage documents the quirks found in urban environments for this BBG Diaries series.
Confidently describing himself as often ‘exposed’ and most of the time ‘nude’, Fraser shares his stripped view of the environment that encompasses him, creating honest and minimalistic images of what he deems beautiful. He teaches us to open up and look beyond what is captured by his lens. Perhaps the objects so ordinarily placed in our world serve a purpose beyond balance or evading darkness. “It's very easy to forget that everything is designed for a reason”, he reminds us.
Flitting between his muses, Fraser arrives at a photographic style which lends credit to his journey so far. The kinks of youth captured in their surrounding environments blend Fraser’s university portfolios together effortlessly into a greater graduation project: “I'd say my photography is a social document of the people and places around me,” he explains.
Areas like Hackney Wick, one of few places in London where you can genuinely do whatever the fuck you want, allows Fraser to become lost in a world of hefty degenerative structures. Breaking down bleak barriers and craggy structures, he explores his personal relationship with architecture. Taking inspiration from fashion photographer Viviane Sassen, one of the most valuable lessons learnt was how much you should focus on shadow as much as light in an image. It's about more than the building itself, it's also about the placement of living and breathing characters within the environment. “As much as you are capturing a person, you are also taking a picture. It is a part of you,” he explains, tying neatly together his two love interests and how his eclectic photographic style bonds the two.
Flinging his camera over one shoulder and embracing Berlin’s decadence in the other, Fraser takes to the streets. He finds peace within the hazy lights of the German districts, as he photographs friend Saskia. She hosts a low-key demeanor, but with a "very ready to party whenever you mention it" attitude, as she helps him to document the allure of youthful freedom. Berlin was also home to Fraser and his friend Beth's social experiment: the document of a girl in frosting temperatures, with her boob propped out in a photo booth. “Even the fact that this was in minus one-degree weather and nearly snowing outside, she was just like, "yep cool, I'll get my tits out for you after dinner. It's kind of having that whole thing of someone being comfortable and having no inhibitions to do that”. This natural, freeing attitude is not only evident in his portraiture, but in the rust of their architectural surroundings, as Fraser embarks on a quest to find the quirks in everyday mundane activities.
With the launch of his limited edition zine "Settle", which he began curating even before he became the young sprog of the BBG family, he assures it is only the beginning. With the phrase “fingers in many pies, fingers in many pies” lamenting on his lips, Fraser leaves us with a glint in his eyes… and pies in our hearts - “It's an urban open landscape. It's very very open.”
Words by Charli Poster.