Guest Interview: Lamar Francois, Photographer

While we’re not able to get out and about as much as we’d like, I thought I’d catch up with some of the people I’ve discovered through doing my Watson Fothergill Walks. This time, I asked Photographer Lamar Francois (who is responsible for the great photos of me in action that grace this website!) – about his work, and some of his favourite Nottingham buildings.

Lucy Brouwer:            As a photographer who specialises in photographing architecture, what makes a building interesting to photograph?

Lamar Francois:            I find architecture fascinating to photograph because buildings can be admired in terms of their forms and methods of construction – which in turn is something which can be a particular trademark of a particular architect, say the use of black and deep red brickwork for many of Watson Fothergill developments.

Photo taken by Lamar during the Watson Fothergill Walk tour. Photo: Lamar Francois

Architecture is also to examine from the point of view of how buildings are designed to integrate with each other to be able to fit in with their surroundings to make a fascinating urban cityscape, and to provide useful environments for their occupants.

In general I also enjoy really digging into details as to how and why certain things are engineered the way they are – having studied maths and physics as an undergraduate and worked within science.

LB:            Do you have a favourite building in Nottingham? Which one and why?

LF: Two buildings spring to mind, which I feel, are particularly memorable:

Boots Store, Pelham Street, Nottinghm (now Zara). Photo: Lamar Francois

Albert Nelson Bromley‘s Boots flagship – now a branch of Zara on Pelham Street – the amount of ornamentation and detailing to the exterior elevation facing towards the Council House is really something to admire. I like the contrasts with the arched windows, and curved glass entrance with the straight vertical columns separating the windows above.

GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry, University of Nottingham. Photo: Lamar Francois

In terms of more modern builds, one which I really appreciate is the GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratory – mostly from a point of view of how it used more traditional laminated timber frames, as well as some very clever internal engineering to minimise the use of natural resources. The design also has a really distinctive and memorable form which I admire.

LB: Do you have a favourite photo that you’ve taken of a Nottingham building?

LF: My favourite image of a Nottingham building so far – probably one which I made of the new Confetti build by Allan Joyce back last year. The changeable weather conditions on the day helped highlight and contrast the form of the building against a moody sky – with sunlight highlighting it’s frontages, helped by shadows cast from buildings on the opposing side where I was photographing from.

Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies, Nottingham. Photo: Lamar Francois

LB: You’re working on a book of your photos. What sort of subjects can we expect to see in it?

LF: In my upcoming book From The Streets of Nottingham I’ve decided to take a broader look at the urban landscape and showcase a variety of interesting street scenes and quirky details which I’ve seen along the way. I’ve also married this a bit more with my other passion of candid photography to showcase some fascinating events which have taken place in the last couple of years.

I’ve had to pause production due to the current lockdown but I aim to get this produced and available for sale as soon as my suppliers are able to, with the book being in an advanced stage of drafting.

Many thanks to Lamar for answering my questions and letting me show off his photos! You can contact Lamar via his website or follow his Facebook page.