In The City is an ongoing project that pretty much covers all of my everyday photography. It is simply a collection of images made in various cities. The common theme is the urban environment. That is the only thread. All the images were made at different times and in different locations.
The inspiration for my work comes from an exhibition of images by a Manchester based photographer called Samuel Coulthurst. Most of his pictures were made candidly on the streets of Ancoats and Salford ( suburbs of Manchester ) in the last 20 years of the 19th century.
When I looked at the people in these photos I became transfixed. They had all long since passed yet somehow they were here, alive, preserved for eternity by his camera. He made heroes out of ordinary people. From then on I wanted to go out and find my own people to keep alive. I’m hoping that in 100 years time, somebody somewhere will look at my photos and they have a similar impact on them as Coulthurst’s had on me.
So I am basically documenting my time. Recording my journey and anyone that I cross paths with. It’s rare that I take a photo that doesn’t have people in it. Humans are my subject matter.
David’s style of photography is very much ‘in your face’. He explains it like this: ‘I like to fill the frame with my subject. So that means getting up close and personal with a 35m lens. Robert Capa said that if your pictures don’t look any good, you’re probably not close enough. It’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten – You have to be fearless.’ For the same reasons of authenticity and record, Gleave rarely retouches or manipulates his images.
Gleave cites among his influences leading photographers renowned for their documentary work including Robert Frank, Robert Capa, Eugene Smith, Bruce Davidson, Garry Winogrand, William Eggleston, William Klein and Mary Ellen Mark.
Shooting mainly on Ricoh GR point & shoot, Gleave describes his style as candid sniper photography and street portraiture. The faces and situations portrayed are gritty and alive – spontaneous moments captured by getting up close and personal in most cases. In The City visits its hero cities by night and by day, lurking on street corners and in bars, pubs and music venues to discover the people at the beating heart of the metropolis.
"I shoot nearly always in black and white because I think that colour is normal, but black and white takes them somewhere else. It makes them abstract. It also gives them instant history"