Stephen Waddell is a painter and photographer. He photographs - whether in Tokyo, Frankfurt, Berlin or Rome - people he meets in public spaces, streets and squares. Waddell, the flâneur, secretly photographs them at work, in their everyday activities and during their leisure pursuits. He snatches people for the (seconds) of an exposure of anonymity and forgetting. The persons depicted, mostly isolated and seemingly lonely, reveal little of their personality. They rather have the function of catalysts of a picture story, which is only present in rudimentary form.
Waddell's training and initial practice as a painter have lost none of their formative effect on his pictorial concept to this day. On the contrary, in his understanding of the function of color and composition, Waddell's large-format photographs are closer to the tradition of figurative painting than to the photography of the 20th century, which made big-city life its theme (e.g. American street photography). The pictorial effect of Waddell's photographs is essentially based on subtly and unobtrusively balanced compositions and on the refined interplay of two or more strong colors. On the basis of these aesthetic principles, Waddell creates photographs which, despite all the apparent randomness of the image detail, are carried by a great inner calm and permanently focus on the dignity of people viewed from a respectful distance.
In his photographic works, Waddell approaches people and the world in which they live without touching their aura and their secret. At the same time, this prevents the viewer from jumping to conclusions and making hasty classifications. The openness of the "narrative structure" of Waddell's photographs challenges the viewer to place the clues he finds in the pictures in a context of meaning, while at the same time leaving much in limbo.