Arch McLeish is a Photographer and Art Director from London currently based in NYC.
Through photography he blends documenting 'real world' with something altogether more dreamlike. Capturing scenes suspended in time and depicting traces of life.
As an art director he works with brands and museums in the cultural sector, resulting in a diverse portfolio of graphic, 3d and motion.
Ignant, Pellicola Magazine, NowhereDiary
I am interested in documenting the real world, with elements of surrealness to present something familiar but altogether more dreamlike.
I look to compose a shot, so it stands grounded in reality, but suspended in time. Often vacant of people, but not void of life. My compositions focus on a detail; an intersection of lines, a glimpse of architecture, a pocket of light. I latch onto a distinct focal point to tie together elements, and create an image at ease. I am drawn to recognisable man made objects and environments for their ever presence in the world and as a familiar connection point or marker for the viewer. Cars and signs do repeat more because i like their textures, materials and shapes but the consistent device is always the place, the scene and the collection of lines and hues. I prefer longer shadows and the softer hazier quality of the light at sunrise and sunset. I also like the romance it adds, and how it transforms the mundane - the way it can make trash not feel like trash.
The scenes are often as I encounter them, I never really intervene with a place, sometimes I’ll draw a smiley on a dirty windshield or roll a tire through the shot. Most recently, the images have been taken predominantly from trips throughout the US, I look for vastness and big skies to open up the scene.
I traversed through the creative industry, working in graphic design in London, and eventually Art Direction in New York, resulting in a diverse portfolio of graphic, 3d and motion but with photography and image-making the anchor, the skills from these areas are becoming more present in my work, allowing me to expand ideas, through collage and digital or physical manipulation. It’s a form of play - to add something extra, unexpected - particularly if it distorts or disrupts the image - or allows the viewer to see more of an image. Mostly it’s a way to build on archival photography in a playful way, and bring a bit of life/weirdness.
I don’t like to impose too much information on an image, instead allowing the viewer to make their own subconscious connections to it. The images are not meant to be read in a series or with a broader political view - they are about the world we live in, flawed/ broken but always optimistic, and the landscapes and scenes that are ever-present but unnoticed.