The flâneur's tendency toward a detached but aesthetically attuned observation has brought the term into the literature of photography, particularly street photography. The street photographer is seen as one modern extension of the urban observer, described by nineteenth century journalist Victor Fournel before the advent of the hand-held camera.
'This man is a roving and impassioned daguerreotype that preserves the least traces, and on which are reproduced, with their changing reflections, the course of things, the movement of the city, the multiple physiognomy of the public spirit, the confessions, antipathies, and admirations of the crowd.'
The most notable application of flâneur to street photography probably comes from Susan Sontag in her 1977 collection of essays, 'On Photography'. She describes how, since the development of hand-held cameras in the early 20th century, the camera has become 'the tool of the flâneur'.
The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker, reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno; the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flâneur often finds beauty in the seemingly mundane and ordinary world presented to them.*
From around 2000, Ross has photographed extensively in a wide range of countries, both commercially and personally. There is a recurring interest in subject matter where everyday objects take on an iconic nature through the heightening of colour and perspective.
An early influence was found in viewing first-hand the colour work of William Eggleston - many of Eggleston’s prints were made using the 'dye transfer process', a process adapted heavily by Technicolor for the film industry but no longer available for commercial use. Deep saturated colours were achieved by burning a series of separate colour plates back onto the original negatives. Through advanced digital processes, Ross has developed a post-production workflow to replicate the physical technique of dye transfer, achieving larger colour gamut and tonal scale in the final printed image.
Recent work selected for:
Westmoreland Landscape Prize, 2019
Practical Photography—Photographer of the Year Award 2008
Practical Photography—Photographer of the Year Award 2007