Michael Hensley


New York, USA


I call it color-chasing. Mostly that’s what it is: an exhausting and solitary pursuit of new shapes, colors and designs. I spend entire days, lost in unknown urban areas, persistent in search of buildings, architectural details, vehicles, roads, reflections, signs, designs, discarded objects and unintentional formations of elements to create abstract minimal compositions. Often images are claustrophobic and focused, filling the frame. Occasionally, the photographs open up and reveal a sense of space and distance. They typically involve strong leading lines, patterns, balanced compositions, and bold, saturated colors in high contrast and resolution. However, the images intentionally remain highly accurate to the original photograph.

The majority of my photography is based in New York but it is decidedly not very New York which overall is primarily composed of grays, browns and gritty neutral tones and neo-classical and early twentieth-century architecture. Born in California, I have traveled extensively in Latin America and employ much of that design aesthetic. Thriving on epic long walks, and solo exploratory adventures in industrial parks, exploring unknown and utilitarian and commercial landscapes, peculiar and desolate areas, finding beauty and color and harmony in areas not intended for aesthetic but mechanized and technical purposes. Everyday objects, found piles of discarded items and refuse in locations and constructions found in commonplace and banal locations.

Born out of emotional difficulty, a pervading sense of aimlessness, photography and the physical toil it entails went from an activity to an encompassing distraction and even therapy to a pursuit in itself.

As a reference, Precisionism’s focus on metropolitan landscapes and geometric harmony through simplicity of design and minimum of detail is a starting point for me. My source is typically shipping, construction, manufacturing, storage and automotive landscapes, sparsely populated metropolitan spaces used for mechanical and development and fabrication.

I shoot analog and digital and make extensive use of Google Maps to research unfamiliar areas and neighborhoods. I live in Brooklyn, New York.

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