Captivating Urban Photography by Hannah Treagus

This season, CreativeMind. hosted an Instagram competition looking for standout photography works from the past year. We are excited to announce our winner, Hannah Treagus. In the selected works below Hannah explores various aspects of urban landscape and architecture, showing an interest in strong lines, black and white shots and negative space. Take a look at the selected works below as well as Hannah’s commentary which offers an insight into the creative process behind each shot.

I have always been a keen photographer but, this year, I’ve found my interest growing significantly – perhaps fuelled by the added free time thanks to lockdown! I tend to focus on quite urban subjects and lean towards street and architectural photography. Most of my work is in black and white which I feel lends itself to my interest in using strong lines and negative space in my work. These themes are noticeable throughout my photography and I’ve begun to experiment more over time. 

Most of the time, I shoot photos on my iPhone 11 Pro and I like to try and advocate the ability of camera phones today because they are sometimes overlooked or dismissed but are, often, just as capable as ‘proper’ cameras. I’ll happily argue the importance of ‘creative’ over ‘technical’ any day of the week!! However, I’ve recently bought a Ricoh GR III but I’m still getting to grips with it and having a lot of fun!

The Mailbox, Birmingham | The Tube, London | Me, on a train to Birmingham

I have loved black and white photography for a long time but feel as though I’ve only recently begun to fully understand it. In September, I challenged myself to work only in black and white for that time and found that I began to enjoy the high contrast of dark blacks and glowing whites more and more. These shots demonstrate that and I like that they draw out details that are, usually, less of interest than others. For example, the glow of the lights on the tube train floor.

Centenary Square, Birmingham | Brindleyplace Canals, Birmingham | Gas Street Basin, Birmingham

Although I only lived in Birmingham for a relatively short time, its influence on my photography has been palpable. These three shots capture the city in different states: the enormity of its urban landscape, gently reflected in the water of its canals; the surprisingly quiet mood of two people taking an evening bike ride despite it being the centre of Britain’s second largest metropolitan city; and the ever-evolving face of Birmingham, fronted by one of its enduring symbols – the trams.

St Martin’s Square, Leicester | Castle Park, Bristol | Central Birmingham | Copenhagen, Denmark

It’s only been recently that I’ve intentionally begun to include people in my photos. I get quite nervous about this aspect of street photography because I have a lot of issues with anxiety so asking a total stranger if I can take their photo is not high on my list of things I want to do!! However, I’m gradually becoming braver at just shooting street scenes and editing to focus on an individual/group later on. I prefer that the outcome is more natural and, often, more anonymous too. I wouldn’t describe myself as a portrait photographer at all – I prefer people to play a part within a wider subject, not necessarily be the subject themselves.

Leicester City Centre | The Highcross, Leicester

These are easily two of my favourite photos I’ve taken. The former because it feels like the end product of a lot of effort to develop my photography and editing skills when working in black and white – something I’m really proud of; and the latter because it’s just beautiful and the colours remind me of the mad dash my boyfriend and I made to get home from the chippy, that day, without being drenched in the evening’s downpour. But, this scene was worth stopping and getting (both of us!) absolutely soaked for!!

I’m looking forward to a bit of normality resuming in the world – as I think we all are – so that I can travel more and take shots of a wider variety of subjects again. I’m keen to continue experimenting with street photography involving people and I think I may try to enter more photography competitions as this has been really exciting and a bit of an ego boost!! Thank you again for supporting my work.

To discover more of Hannah’s work, take a look on Instagram: @hannisburg

Thank you once again to all the entries for this season’s competition. We were blown away by the number of applicants and the high level of talent! Hannah’s urban photography really caught our eye and we look forward to seeing future work.