on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

End frame: 2.56pm, 1st January 2018 by Chris Harrison

Finn Hopson chooses one of his favourite images

Finn Hopson

Finn Hopson is a photographer from Brighton. Having grown up playing on the beach and the South Downs he has spent the last eleven years photographing them. In 2014 he opened the Brighton Photography Gallery.


Some of my favourite images are those that require me to spend some real time and effort understanding what I’m looking at. Having made me stop and stare, they don’t always offer up any clear answers, containing something tantalisingly close to reality but leaving so much open to interpretation and imagination. Photographs that grab me with something as simple as colours and shapes and then invite me to look closer.

Chris Harrison is a friend and a fellow Brighton based photographer. In June 2022, I exhibited some of his work at my gallery, and over the course of a month, I was lucky to be able to watch hundreds of people look at this picture and have broadly the same reaction as I did when I first saw it. They stop and look, often captured by the broad sweeps of red, blue and grey, and then they step a little closer and try to find something that gives a clue as to what they are seeing. Is it a painting or a photograph? Is it a single image or some sort of collage? Trying to unlock this puzzle meant that people often spent more time with this picture than many others, enjoying the questions it asked and the answers they found.

The photograph (a single image) is the view through a very damp and smeary window on the top of a double decker bus. I think anyone who has spent time on a fuggy bus journey on a wet winter day can relate to the condensation dripping down the windows and the blurry view of slow traffic and wet people scurrying around below. Chris describes this as a photograph taken at the end of a long day, which he felt had yielded nothing of any interest, and I think it’s easy to see some of that frustration in the picture. As viewers, we are trapped on the bus, too, the details of the view blurred and hidden around the edges. We want to see more, but we can’t.

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