16 November 2015
Let me know which you prefer and why. Click on each image to enlarge.
Special Note: I will be fully immersed in family festivities over the next two weeks. My cup overflows with glorious emotions that run deeper than words can tell. I will be floating on day-after-day filled with celebratory traditions that will lead to one heartfelt event. I will be cyber-free beginning 20 November through 28 November (missing next week’s challenge), and will post for the challenge on 30 November. Hope that your time between now and then will be spent enjoying your family, friends and nature’s offerings.
I’ve been ruminating about the direction of my image-making, where my aesthetics and interests are leading me. Two themes seem to be emerging, and I wonder how to combine them: nature photography and street photography.
Each seem to be at odds with each other, but maybe not. I continue to think about how these genres of photography challenge my sensibilities, provoking me to represent them within a frame that reduces them in size and changes perceptions of them.
Photography offers me a chance to see anew. Each time that my mind moves through the lens, I am coaxed to discover a world that is simultaneously familiar, known and unknown. It is a conundrum that follows me and is never really resolved, just momentarily satisfied.
While what I see becomes fresh and refreshed, it’s always about the light, process and image. At a particular moment my intuition accelerates and flashes of time are stilled.
Each image becomes a component of who I am and who I am becoming. My life has been forever changed through my photographic eye.
After a recent trip to New York City I became driven to understand street culture’s magnet-like pull on me to witness its evergreen narratives. While I am aware of the masters of photography who made street life more than an ordinary occurrence, their work also has made it an essential part of the oeuvre of art, of art history.
In my attempt to understand the deliberations and nuances of street photography, I am studying the images and words of those who have made this genre as essential today as it was in the near and distant past. In this process I have been collecting quotes about photography that apply to this exploration. Here are a few:
“I fell in love with taking pictures, with wandering around finding things. To me it feels like a kind of performance. The picture is a document of that performance.” Alec Soth (American, 1969)
”Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.” – Garry Winogrand (American, 1928-1984)
”There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative. Oop! The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.”- Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908-2004)
The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street. – Robert Doisneau (French, 1912-1994)
”I don’t believe a person has a style. What people have is a way of photographing what is inside them. What is there comes out.” – Sebastiao Salgado (Brazilian, 1944)
“There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment.” – Robert Frank (Swiss, 1924)
“I have always felt that a lot of the most interesting work, not just mine but other people’s, falls into [the] nether area, somewhere between the worlds of documentary and photojournalism (two very vague words) and the world of art. I think a lot of street photography falls into this nether area.” – Alex Webb (American, 1952)
In the Lens section are two images that I consider street photography. Each may or may not be “judged” to be in that genre. The first is a sculpture installed in an outdoor gallery at the new Whitney Museum of Art. It’s not on the street, but is part of a public space. The second is a flower and garden shop where it’s hard to determine where the street ends and the store begins.
Regardless of the outcome of my endeavor, I am inspired by the ordinary and extraordinary can be found on Main Street USA or a tiny European village or an urban center or truly anywhere on the streets of the world. Everyday life provides those infinite moments to capture and freeze–moments that accelerate or slow in time and space.
Photography is an agent of change, using image-making to pursue various interpretations of reality. Even when I deliberately recognize a desirable or precious moment, it’s dependent on the confluence of serendipity, coincidence plus external and internal forces. That very scene may have various realities for other photographers. In truth, these limitless opportunities can be caught and exposed, but their sense of worth is very much in the eye that realizes them.
Tip of the Week: Joel Meyerowitz (American, b. 1938) is one of America’s most gifted street photographers. He has had a long career that has produced an archival record of street life. Here are some words by Meyerowitz to consider:
“I believe that street photography is central to the issue of photography—that it is purely photographic, whereas the other genres, such as landscape and portrait photography, are a little more applied, more mixed in the with the history of painting and other art forms.” – Joel Meyerowitz
“You know, he (Winogrand) set a tempo on the street so strong that it was impossible not to follow it. It was like jazz. You just had to get in the same groove… You know, if you hesitate, forget it. You don’t have to learn to unleash that. It was like having a hair-trigger. Sometimes walking down the street, wanting to make a picture, I would be so anticipatory, so anxious, that I would just have to fire the camera, to let fly a picture, in order to release the energy, so that I could recock it. That’s what you got from Garry. It came off him in waves – to be keyed up, eager, excited for pictures in that way.” – Joel Meyerowitz, from Bystander : A History of Street Photography by Colin Westerbeck and Joel Meyerowitz.
View other entries for this week’s challenge:
As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. My photographs for the mobile photography challenge are taken with an iPhone 6.
If you’d like to join this Mobile Photography Challenge, please click here for details and history of the challenge. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming 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, Panorama, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).
5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.