An Interiors Photographer Shares His Favorite Images of the Decade

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As a young man, the Irish photographer Simon Watson thought he’d like to be a painter. Today, his affinity for that medium is still evident in many of his photographs. His portraits and interior images, especially, suggest the influence of Northern Renaissance painters. “I choose lenses based on how van Eyck would see something,” Watson says of the Dutch artist. “I’m a big fan of side window light and I love depth and darkness. I guess that’s a little more Vermeer-y.” As a photographer for this magazine, Watson has turned a painterly eye to 12th-century Austrian castles, Brutalist German factories and 19th-century Irish tenements. For each story, Watson says, he tries to find “a sort of penumbra — the light between dark and bright — where the image comes alive. I like to embrace light as it falls. I’m not afraid of the shadows.”

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