25 August 2014
” Somehow the most compelling street photography remains the kind that allows us to imagine ourselves wandering into the frame.” —Wall Street Journal
Clearly Street Photography has multiple elements that continually keep my cup running over its edges. Characteristically, it moves from quiet to loud, from drama to melancholy, from exuberance to serenity, from known to unknown, from lost to found, from high to low, from narrow to wide, from monochrome to technicolor…The juxtaposition of humans to their street life is endlessly fascinating in its camaraderie and cruelty. Mostly, I relish the role of voyeur: the non-intrusive observer.
San Francisco has an Old-World sensibility mixed with contemporary vibes. The light exaggerates and insinuates itself through the spaces here and there and everywhere.
That energy lends itself to black-and-white photographs. Accents of contrast and tones of various shades are prevalent; they cavalcade around corners, crawl up buildings and pass through couples as they stroll. That California sunlight is spectacular and sheds itself rarely. Well, there is that famously-seductive fog, but it was nowhere to be seen on this visit.
In the Lens section are three images that depict a slice of San Francisco street life, and the city’s willingness to bring the new to its pedestrian pathways. Pause on Market Street brings a whole new edge to portions of this golden city that always, always entertains in unusual and known ways.
Market Street travels to Castro, near the waterfront. But this part of Market is a thoroughfare directly in the city’s heart. Pause is a different kind of public art project; it’s sponsors hope these spaces will be “catalysts for exploration, innovation and play.” As part of the Living Innovation Zone Program (LIZ) partners are the city and county as well as community-wide companies and organizations that built “a visible layer” within this these public spaces.
Pause has a musical bench (photograph #1) that is activated by people’s hand-holding. It also has a charging station that is powered by a foot pedal. Artistically-conceived benches are interspersed. Eventually, there will be ten zones whose installations will be fully-imagined by architects such as the ones used for this project, which was designed by Gehl Architects.
I was easily lured into the large sculptural objects that were bathed in sunbeams. It was a dazzling discovery.
While my credo for street photography avoids images that can identify strangers. The first capture seemed to blend with my philosophy, because I was not invading anyone’s private space. These individuals were conducting an interview in the midst of downtown foot traffic. Their anonymity was not even possible.
Although I continued to shoot in the shadows of their day’s work, the three images are representative of what the space intended: public use of public art. It is a grand experiment, which is working as a site-specific installation. Bravo, San Francisco–you’ve won my soul and spirit over and over and over again.
Tip of the Week:
For those of you that subscribe to my philosophy of street photography, the work of Bruno Quinquet, who says: “I never show recognizable faces,” is an apt discovery. His Salaryman is a reflection on the problem of candid street photography and portrait rights,” and worth your perusal. Read more about his project, and view some of his images here and here. I know that you’ll be happy you did.
View other entries for this week’s Challenger’s Choice:
If you’d like to join the Photo Challenge, please click here for details. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:
1st Monday: Nature.
2nd Monday: Macro.
3rd Monday: Black and White.
4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).
5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.