It is the infrastructure of the city which informs his work: Here the shape and colour of the architecture, of the streets and public spaces, how the city is lit by day and by night, are of as much of interest to him as the people that populate them.
Leighton is concerned with the increasingly conditioned viewing of the world as typically portrayed in two-dimensional imagery. The emphasis of commercial photography in film, advertising and television, is arguably on the aesthetic, and a process of ‘glossing over’, becomes increasingly perfectible through digital manipulation. The easy assumption is that the photographic image portrays documental fact, rather than photography as an authored representation of a subject.
Leighton uses the viewers’ eagerness to accept the familiar and dismiss the unfamiliar to his advantage. His digitally altered images are apparently factual records of cityscape, but are revealed on closer inspection as fictitious and imaginary.
Using his repertoire of optical devices Leighton produces large scale glossy images, which use an equivalent level of superficiality, as found in mainstream commercial photography. In their extreme form these images become caricatures of the city, as Leighton uses symmetry and repartition to create illogical yet often believable space.