Rupert Vandervell Explores Our Relationship with Urban Spaces for “Urbanites”

All images by Rupert Vandervell.  Used with Creative Commons Permission.

Some of the most effective and clever takes on street photography have veered away from the usual scenes of activity and curious-looking faces. We’ve seen architecture transform into spaceships, cities take on colorful alter-egos at nights, and shadow play serve as a compelling narrative device. In yet another beautiful example of eye-catching street photography, London-based photographer and filmmaker Rupert Vandervell explores how we interact with the cities we live in and the urban landscapes we traverse everyday.

In his street photography project titled Urbanites, Rupert captures everyday city life as experienced by singular subjects. In contrast to how we see usually see humans amidst the frenetic energy of cities, his version seems to slow everything down and examine every character making their way around town. The drama of black and white photography is also very strong in this set, showing clever use of light, shadows, shapes, and textures in every frame.


Similar to Kaitlin Rebesco’s noteworthy execution, we see Rupert making use of both light and shadows to either frame his subjects, lead the eyes, or heighten isolation. Still, many techniques are at play in the whole set, which makes this set a prime example of a concept working out effectively in street photography.

Rupert mentions that his set represents an exploration of the city and the relationship we build around its urban spaces. In every frame, we see many of his titular Urbanites caught in mid stride, lost in thought while traversing empty streets and corners, or walking in between light and shadows. Maybe it’s just me, but I sense a tinge of loneliness in every person’s relationship with a city, sometimes feeling alone against the vastness of everything and the multitude of strangers. And the solitary Urbanites embody just that.

Head to Rupert Vandervell’s Behance portfolio to show your appreciation for Urbanites and see his other outstanding sets.