Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => User Critiques => Topic started by: RSL on February 01, 2013, 07:37:24 PM

Title: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 01, 2013, 07:37:24 PM
Alcatraz -- 1968
Title: Re: Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 02, 2013, 06:43:42 AM
Very nice, I like it.

It lacks complexity in a couple of ways, some good, some less good, I think. None *bad* though.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: wolfnowl on February 03, 2013, 12:12:04 AM
Very nice... definitely marks a specific 'place in time'.

Mike.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 03, 2013, 09:25:03 AM
Afraid it's a bust, Stamper and Seamus. Looks as if everybody wants to go out and shoot non-threatening cats, landscapes, and yarn.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 03, 2013, 05:36:52 PM
It's the weekend, Russ; everybody is asleep even when awake.

Tomorrow's another day, as you and someone else declared quite recently...

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: nemo295 on February 03, 2013, 05:54:41 PM
Shot from Ghirardelli Square, from the look of it.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Patricia Sheley on February 03, 2013, 06:23:18 PM
....non-threatening?    
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 03, 2013, 07:34:26 PM
Very nice Patricia. And Doug, right on. Ghirardelli Square -- long ago.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 03, 2013, 11:24:33 PM
I enjoy  the concept of the photo and find it interesting to look at. It's possible it might be more interesting (tense) if the figures weren't in the tone range they are now, which is to my eye a bit muddy. Either lighter to see some expression, or dark all the way to silhouette might be more engaging.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 04, 2013, 06:57:17 AM
It is interesting to consider the location and the date together. This was a notorious year in San Francisco, and here we seem to have some of Old San Francisco enjoying a little conversation (enjoying?) in one of SF's newest retail establishments, built in and on the site of a San Francisco institution from the turn of the century.

With the date and the title, it becomes a document of a moment of transition, I think.

Without it, it's still pretty darn good, but as far as I can see it's pretty much a nice composition with a hint of street.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 04, 2013, 07:57:23 AM
Ok it was my suggestion. :) I went out on Saturday with little success. Got bawled out by someone for taking an image of a busker. The usual "you shouldn't be taking photos of people in the street". This is my best effort at an entrance to a park.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 04, 2013, 08:23:47 AM
One from a while back. Not sure if it qualifies for Street, though I am sure if it isn't then I will be informed otherwise. :) Drinking and smoking in an underground railway station. Smoking is prohibited. I was glad there was a rail track between me and the "ladies". Glasgow "ladies" can be brutal if they get you. ;D
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 04, 2013, 08:48:23 AM
And another. Ambiguous?

All alone.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 04, 2013, 09:14:58 AM
Last but not least.

Hurrying home.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 04, 2013, 09:39:57 AM
Good shooting Stamper. The guy behind the tree makes #1, and #4 is a fine shot, ambiguous enough to fall into my own definition of street. #2 reminds me a bit of Garry Winogrand's "World's Fair, New York City, 1964" (http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=53834&handle=li). I don't see ambiguity in #3, but it's a fine environmental portrait.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 04, 2013, 09:48:05 AM
Russ I know that you think ambiguity plays a big part in street but it isn't the only definition that applies? From what I have read in the last week in various internet sites and books Street has a wider definition to a lot of photographers and can't be pigeon holed down to ambiguity. I agree ambiguity is a good definition. Thanks for the feedback.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 04, 2013, 09:51:41 AM
Good shooting Stamper. The guy behind the tree makes #1, and #4 is a fine shot, ambiguous enough to fall into my own definition of street. #2 reminds me a bit of Garry Winogrand's "World's Fair, New York City, 1964" (http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=53834&handle=li). I don't see ambiguity in #3, but it's a fine environmental portrait.

Russ I don't know if you noticed but there is a woman in front of him in #1 I didn't notice her at first. The tree mostly hides her and I couldn't isolate her. Without them moving into the picture I wouldn't have posted it and I didn't want to crop them out. As to #3 then a black face in a sea of white faces is possibly ambiguous? The white faces don't appear to notice her moving through?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 04, 2013, 10:29:31 AM
I do think ambiguity is the main element that converts a documentary photograph into a street photograph, but I know there are a lot of people who don't make a distinction, in other words who feel that a documentary shot made on the street is street photography. At that point all I can do is suggest you can't understand the distinction without having studied the great street photographers. And, as usual, I always come back to the difference between HCB's street photography and his photojournalism. It's a fine line, and a subjective line, and I know there are many who disagree with me, but I'll stick with my definition even though I don't always agree with myself. I've included an example. Is this picture ambiguous enough to be called a street shot? I think so but I can see reasonable arguments against the idea. In the end I come down to Justice Potter Stewart's approach to pornography: "It's hard to define, but I know it when I see it."

Maybe it doesn't matter, but if you surrender the point then practically anything shot on the street can be called street photography. Not long ago there was a forum that claimed to be a street forum but that defined street as anything on the street or in an urban setting. The stuff that got posted mostly was either pathetic or hilarious. When that became clear, instead of changing their definition they changed their name.

Didn't notice the woman in front of the guy behind the tree. Now I see her. I don't think she detracts from the ambiguity enough to make the picture straight documentation. As far as the black gal among the sea of white faces is concerned: First, I can't be sure those are all white faces. Looks as if there might be a darker kid in the background. Second, integration has succeeded in the United States so completely that a black face in a white crowd or a white face in a black crowd doesn't look unusual to me. Fifty years ago it might have.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Patricia Sheley on February 04, 2013, 03:19:56 PM
I was glad there was a rail track between me and the "ladies". Glasgow "ladies" can be brutal if they get you. ;D
Actually as I look at it again Stamper, they caught you!
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Patricia Sheley on February 04, 2013, 03:21:05 PM
?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 04, 2013, 03:31:27 PM
Last but not least.

Hurrying home.


Great one, stamper.

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 04, 2013, 08:27:47 PM
Night scene from this past Saturday night. 
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 04, 2013, 09:13:59 PM
Man with pet turkey.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 04, 2013, 10:32:43 PM
Ice cream.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 05, 2013, 04:37:59 AM
Reply to #19 Patricia.

A bit voyeuristic? I am not sure about if the image has any impact? However it is a study in isolating a feature in the street. I would have never have seen it, I would have been looking at the whole of her.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 05, 2013, 04:48:00 AM
Quote Russ reply #17

As far as the black gal among the sea of white faces is concerned: First, I can't be sure those are all white faces. Looks as if there might be a darker kid in the background. Second, integration has succeeded in the United States so completely that a black face in a white crowd or a white face in a black crowd doesn't look unusual to me. Fifty years ago it might have.

Unquote

In the west of Scotland where I live and in Glasgow - a large city - it is still comparitively rare to see a black person. Coloured people are more common. To see a black person among a lot of white people is a stand out, not in a racist way. Last year a football commentator on television referred to a coloured footballer as .... coloured...... and was forced to apologise for making the distinction between coloured footballers and white footballers. Just in case anyone thinks my image has racist overtones then it most definitely hasn't....on my part.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 05, 2013, 04:51:56 AM
Redwood Guy. I like your two B&W images better than the coloured one, especially the third one. The helmeted guy looks "rough" so seeing him with an ice cream has a bit of ambiguity. :) I have had another look at the first one and there is more to it than meets the eye. A bit like the Fonz in Happy Days.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fonzie
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 05, 2013, 06:11:18 AM
A troll through the dregs of my hard drives unearthed this one. One of my few tries at panning. Not strictly Street?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 05, 2013, 06:26:33 AM
One more .......Walk On By

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dValo35EXdQ

A favourite song of mine.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 05, 2013, 06:47:31 AM
Not Paris.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 05, 2013, 07:21:56 AM
This is becoming addictive. From a street festival. The Edinburgh Fringe.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 05, 2013, 09:02:49 AM
Stamper, all four of these are good shots, but the artifacts have almost taken over the images in the last two. That, the foreshortening, and the square format make me suspect you of cropping!
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 05, 2013, 09:06:19 AM
Not bad, Patricia. What makes the picture is the missing leg. The guy's foot is up on the bumper, but unless you look closely it almost looks as if he's one-legged.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 05, 2013, 09:09:46 AM
Guy, Sorry, but what I see is one high-school type snapshot and two environmental portraits -- no street photography. You need to go to a library or bookstore, pick up a book of Cartier-Bresson's photographs, and study it.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 05, 2013, 11:36:18 AM
Guy, Sorry, but what I see is one high-school type snapshot and two environmental portraits -- no street photography. You need to go to a library or bookstore, pick up a book of Cartier-Bresson's photographs, and study it.
Oh my. Thanks for the advice. However, it brings to mind two of the worst dangers in art - emulation and assumption of rules. And I thank you for presenting me the opportunity to say something about them. Emulation is deadly to anyone seeking their truth through art. To grab a forerunner's style, and assume it is a standard by which your own truth must conform, will kill the enterprise before it even begins. Whatever CBs truths were as he snapped his shutter are not my truths. His life is not my life. If art is life, how can I adopt his? This is not to deny in any way the appreciation of his life, no not at all. But it is to say that his is his, and mine is different. Necessarily then, my art wouldn't be his either. This confuses many people. This difference between appreciation and emulation. Never emulate! Always seek the truth within. And yes, CB had a certain way with his photographic truth, didn't he?

As to assumed rules of photography, be ever so careful of that tight box. A rule is a boundary generally claimed by someone who might have run out of ideas and seeks to assemble the world within the limits (rules) of their imagination. This is street photography, that is not! The more exclamatory the lecture, the more one should run. The first thing you learn in the study of art (study being the dictate of the poster) is that art advances in movements by means of rule breaking. A box becomes too stale for further exploration because of the existing rules, and then POW! someone breaks them, and all chaos breaks out.  Rules are tools for learning, but not intended to bound one's own expressions and truths, lest the whole world of photography suddenly look like there was but one photographer!

Photography is by far the most difficult art form of them all, precisely because it is the most open-ended of them all. (Painters can only dream of what can be done with a camera.) But what makes photography ever the more difficult is falling into the trap of emulating others who have had notoriety. How many tedious attempts have we all seen of the photographer trying to emulate Ansel Adams, instead of seeking their own truth? 

The thread title was "Love Real Street." And the obvious implication is that, "real" is a state of one's own truth in their photographs out on the street, not a universal dogmatic truth passed on by some High Priest of Street Photography. If you want to join a religion that's fine with me, but I choose to search out my own universals through photography, and they are not found at the local library or bookstore under "Cartier-Bresson."

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 05, 2013, 11:53:26 AM
.....I have had another look at the first one and there is more to it than meets the eye. A bit like the Fonz in Happy Days......
 
The dozen kids are on a junior prom night in front of the Ritz - a cocktail lounge normally having a few boring old people toddling in and out. To turn the corner and see this huge release of youth energy and laughter and excitement was really fun. In a matter of about 90-seconds it was all gone as they jumped into waiting limos and were off to the dance. But for a minute "the street" was positively pulsing with their energy and color. In the year long life of the Ritz, it might have been the most energetic minute experienced.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: jeremypayne on February 05, 2013, 12:00:56 PM
There is a religious cult operating here.  Get used to it ...
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 05, 2013, 12:09:21 PM
Bicycle.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 05, 2013, 12:22:36 PM
Umbrellas
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 05, 2013, 01:02:47 PM
@ Not Paris

I enjoyed browsing this photograph for the mixing of two stories, one told by the bar characters, the other told by the woman looking at the photographer who is lurking behind the hedge! It makes a kind of inside/outside thought process. The characters have some character. I only find the canvas top odd looking and I am not sure why. It seems like it is outlined in black? Minor point. A humorous photograph.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 05, 2013, 03:53:49 PM
Fun documentaries, Guy, but not street photography. Nobody's suggesting you copy anyone. That's impossible in any case. But by studying the masters of street you at least stand a chance of learning two things: what street photography is and how photographic geometry works.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 05, 2013, 05:29:47 PM
Russ, this is the modern age.

You can photograph anything you like and then apply any old designation you wish. Why? "It's art because I say it is" spawned the right.

That it might be crap doesn't matter; it's what the 'creator' says it is! Don't you love that? Everybody feels good; we're all stars!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 05, 2013, 05:31:59 PM
... Emulation is deadly to anyone seeking their truth through art. To grab a forerunner's style, and assume it is a standard by which your own truth must conform, will kill the enterprise before it even begins. ...

As to assumed rules of photography, be ever so careful of that tight box. A rule is a boundary generally claimed by someone who might have run out of ideas and seeks to assemble the world within the limits (rules) of their imagination. This is street photography, that is not!  ...

Without communication, there is no art.

Without emulation, there is no communication. A photograph will inevitably refer to other photographs the viewer has seen, there's no way to look at a photograph without thinking of and being reminded of other photographs. The photographer should be mindful of this and deal with this reality, accept it and embrace it. Emulation is not copying.

Rules are one thing, they're just solutions to problems. You may choose other solutions to the problems, or leave the problem unsolved. Best if your lack of solution somehow serves the image and the communication, however.

Street photography is a genre, there aren't any specific "rules" for it, but it does have a pretty well defined definition. If we choose to eschew definitions, well, that's ok I guess. It's going to be awfully hard to communicate if nobody's using words to mean the same thing.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: wolfnowl on February 05, 2013, 06:15:27 PM
And another. Ambiguous?

I don't know about ambiguous.  Thought provoking, at least for me.

Mike.

All alone.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: wolfnowl on February 05, 2013, 06:16:29 PM
Last but not least.

Hurrying home.

Really like the mystery in this one.  There isn't enough detail in the woman's clothing/actions to fill in the answers for the questions that spring to mind.

Mike.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: James Clark on February 05, 2013, 06:35:22 PM
Here's one...

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: James Clark on February 05, 2013, 06:35:57 PM
...and another
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on February 05, 2013, 07:51:52 PM
Since this thread, like some others, has gotten bogged down in issues of definition, I thought I should try to clarify the essential definition of "street" photography, and illustrate with some examples.

Here is an example of Pure Street Photography. It is a photograph of nothing but a portion of a street, with no distracting persons, dogs, or even kittens to sully its pristine nature:
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on February 05, 2013, 07:53:23 PM
This next example might be taken for "street" by the uninformed, but close inspection will reveal that only a small portion at the bottom is "street," while the rest is "sidewalk:"
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on February 05, 2013, 07:54:50 PM
And one more example. This one is clearly NOT "street," as it was taken on a beach.

I hope this will make everything perfectly clear.    ;D
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 05, 2013, 09:08:45 PM
Without communication, there is no art.

Without emulation, there is no communication. A photograph will inevitably refer to other photographs the viewer has seen, there's no way to look at a photograph without thinking of and being reminded of other photographs. The photographer should be mindful of this and deal with this reality, accept it and embrace it. Emulation is not copying.

Rules are one thing, they're just solutions to problems. You may choose other solutions to the problems, or leave the problem unsolved. Best if your lack of solution somehow serves the image and the communication, however.

Street photography is a genre, there aren't any specific "rules" for it, but it does have a pretty well defined definition. If we choose to eschew definitions, well, that's ok I guess. It's going to be awfully hard to communicate if nobody's using words to mean the same thing.

It's understandable that many people such as you find emulation a requirement for communication or art. But not everyone does. Not everyone takes photographs that "inevitably refer to photographs they have seen." Let's understand emulation to see why its inevitability is not universal, and not even desired. Emulation is - "An ambition and effort to equal, excel or surpass another; to compete or rival with some degree of success, especially through imitation." Let's see how this pretty well defined definition serves the cause of art. Is art a competition of rival individuals? Absolutely not by nature. Yes, some artists may compete with each other, but competition is not intrinsic to art. But that's not the worst of emulation. The worst consequence is the imitation. When you seek to imitate another, you lose focus on your own nature, your own internal truth. You lose authenticity of self, and if you enjoy logical consequence, as you seem to, the loss of self is the loss of art. Because art is not a technique to be merely imitated. When authenticity leaves, it is for most people impossible to regain (as true in art as it is in daily life). Once you rely on imitation, you have become a simple mechanic, a robot, not an artist.

I think I've commented at length on rules and who attempts to enforce them and why, so I will let me previous comment stand.

As to street photography and its "pretty well defined definition," where is that spelled out in this thread? If it's not in the thread here, and it is a requirement to meet that "pretty well defined definition" in order to post a photograph, please spell it out for all to attend to. That only makes sense if you are using such rules.

And finally, this branch of the forum is about user critiques. Critiques are rather useful to photographers. Pontificating on rules? Not actually a method of useful critique.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 05, 2013, 09:50:17 PM
Fun documentaries, Guy, but not street photography. Nobody's suggesting you copy anyone. That's impossible in any case. But by studying the masters of street you at least stand a chance of learning two things: what street photography is and how photographic geometry works.
I'm all ears. Since this is the critique forum, please do pick a photograph I posted and expound on how photographic geometry works. I'd be delighted to hear about it. I find that naked assertions are far less valuable in a critique, don't you?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 05, 2013, 10:04:10 PM
"Smoker"

Sorry, I can't say I am emulating any of the approved High Priests with this one, and I wasn't attempting any imitation of previous photographs by other people. Sad, huh? It's nothing more than a simple photograph that gave me goose bumps when I pressed the shutter because I knew I had captured the feeling I had about the subject. Looking at this photo, I can always recall that exact moment of my own life, and the feel it gave me capturing this unique and specific moment which belongs only to me. Had I been imitating some other guy's life, I probably would have tossed this in the can. No wait, I would have tossed the camera in the can.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 06, 2013, 02:43:59 AM
Russ, this is the modern age.

You can photograph anything you like and then apply any old designation you wish. Why? "It's art because I say it is" spawned the right.

That it might be crap doesn't matter; it's what the 'creator' says it is! Don't you love that? Everybody feels good; we're all stars!

;-)

Rob C
You're close, but you haven't quite got it there. Since this is a critique thread, I'd like to critique your commentary there.  Rather than me posing as some authority with rules, I'm going to use the wisdom of accomplished artists to demonstrate my point and critique your view. Your view can be summed up as "People ought not claim themselves as artists on the strength of their own convictions."

This is a great place to start: "If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh. What's important in this quotation? Of course it is the inner voice - the source and cause of all art. He means what? He means that the entire enterprise is within you, and only emerges from that space. There's no outside reference required.  But go further into that idea: "The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls." - Pablo Picasso.  Once more, we see that the purpose is personal, and has no external authority. And maybe top it off with one more: "A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament." - Oscar Wilde.  Once more, we have the same persistent theme. Art is the internal process of our own unique desire to reveal ourselves from the inside out. Unique means one of a kind. No one can reveal their "self" when they have adopted the idea of emulating another. No one can 'dust the daily life off their own soul,' if they choose to imitate other lives. To do so, is to cancel out the unique result from a unique temperament.

Art reveals the artist. And as Ansel Adams said, "There are always two people in every picture:  the photographer and the viewer." Now we have to consider what it means for the photographer to be in the picture. Here's Richard Avedon on that subject: "My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph." As another accomplished photographer said, "Every photograph is of the photographer." And this idea of the internal cause of art could not be complete without this brilliant and pithy summation: "Your photography is a record of your living, for anyone who really sees." - Paul Strand.  Isn't it pitifully obvious to even a rank beginner of a photographer that you can't leave the record of your life by taking Cartier-Bresson's photographs?

The drive to reveal the self through imaginative physical manifestations, such as photography, is as old as any knowledge about the cause of art.  What's missing from the wisdom of all these aforementioned artists?  - external agency and authority.  The least required element in the cause of art is external approval. The following of their rules. The least useful strategy is ignoring the inner soul and mimicking others. That process of ignoring one's authenticity to adopt the garb and style of others produces artifacts, not art.

I am an artist, not because I received permission or approval for properly emulating other artists, but because I know how to 'wash the dust of daily life off my soul.' I am an artist not because I painstakingly memorized photographs of another artist to model for my own, but because I allow my unique temperament to produce the result.

There's an implication in your post that people should be embarrassed to claim their art on just the strength that they were the creator. You imagine that is something to laugh over, when in fact, that's the foundational meaning of art! That confusion relies on mistaking art with commercial artifacts. It assumes a person selling a photograph for a million dollars must be an artist, but the photographer working in obscurity couldn't possibly be so by "self proclamation." As if an artist couldn't know his own cause? Now THAT is a measure of how far astray one can be lead by assuming they ought to mimic the work of others.  That idea is running full speed in the wrong direction. It is running from self - the only place from which art can originate - and running to others, the only place your art can't be found!

You are correct in two things though. True, it doesn't matter if it is crap to some others - it's the authenticity that counts.  Being an artist is absolutely no guarantee that  others will like it or approve of it.  And secondly, yes, I DO feel good, thanks.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 06, 2013, 03:53:17 AM
RedwoodGuy, I can throw words around just as easily and happily as can you; fortunately, I've spent enough time on this planet to realise that one is always going to bump into someone whose pleasure in the exchange of ideas lies not in the ideas but solely in argument for its own sake. At that realisation, I simply bow out gracefully and let the person carry on talking to the trees, the walls or whatever else fills his vision.

Life's too short for this, something else learned from the time on this planet.

Enjoy the echoes.

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 06, 2013, 04:08:03 AM
RedwoodGuy, I can throw words around just as easily and happily as can you; fortunately, I've spent enough time on this planet to realise that one is always going to bump into someone whose pleasure in the exchange of ideas lies not in the ideas but solely in argument for its own sake. At that realisation, I simply bow out gracefully and let the person carry on talking to the trees, the walls or whatever else fills his vision.

Life's too short for this, something else learned from the time on this planet.

Enjoy the echoes.

Rob C
That's ok Rob. Don't feel bad about it. It was a pretty steep hill to climb.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 06, 2013, 04:17:05 AM
V-J in a way.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 06, 2013, 06:17:47 AM
Stamper, all four of these are good shots, but the artifacts have almost taken over the images in the last two. That, the foreshortening, and the square format make me suspect you of cropping!

Russ they aren't artifacts. It is smart sharpen for detail enhancement that may have been strengthened by the down sampling to jpeg. The jpeg compression was set at maximum in Save for web. However I do plead guilty to cropping.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: jeremypayne on February 06, 2013, 06:21:56 AM
That's ok Rob. Don't feel bad about it. It was a pretty steep hill to climb.

Hah!  Touche.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 06, 2013, 06:28:15 AM
Jeremy, do you have anything to contribute to the thread or are you just here to practise your repertoire of one liners?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: jeremypayne on February 06, 2013, 07:02:50 AM
Jeremy, do you have anything to contribute to the thread or are you just here to practise your repertoire of one liners?

"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose."

Enjoy your day, Stamper ... if that is your real name ...
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 06, 2013, 09:19:08 AM
I make no direct accusation, RedwoodGuy, but your intellectual posture is one I(and many of us) have seen before. It is a posture frequently held by people who are too lazy to understand their antecedents, and cling to the notion that they can simply intuit their way into doing wonderful art. So far you don't seem to have cited Mozart, thank goodness.

Anyways, I too will bow out of the conversation. Feel free to imply that I simply haven't the intellectual stuff to keep up with you.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 06, 2013, 09:58:42 AM
I'm all ears. Since this is the critique forum, please do pick a photograph I posted and expound on how photographic geometry works. I'd be delighted to hear about it. I find that naked assertions are far less valuable in a critique, don't you?

If you think you're going to learn about photography, or any art form for that matter, from verbal descriptions then it's clear you haven't a clue and that you're charging off in all directions at once. The way you learn about how graphical geometry works is to look at the best examples of it until you internalize at least something of what's involved. But that aside, none of your posted photographs so far would be fit subjects for an explanation in any case.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Chris Sanderson on February 06, 2013, 10:37:51 AM
Please avoid personal attacks and abuse or the thread will be locked again
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 06, 2013, 10:47:57 AM
If you think you're going to learn about photography, or any art form for that matter, from verbal descriptions then it's clear you haven't a clue and that you're charging off in all directions at once. The way you learn about how graphical geometry works is to look at the best examples of it until you internalize at least something of what's involved. But that aside, none of your posted photographs so far would be fit subjects for an explanation in any case.
This is a critique forum, and it was your claim that I knew nothing about photographic geometry. Obviously, it was regarding one of the photos I posted, else why would you say it?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 06, 2013, 11:17:40 AM
I make no direct accusation, RedwoodGuy, but your intellectual posture is one I(and many of us) have seen before. It is a posture frequently held by people who are too lazy to understand their antecedents, and cling to the notion that they can simply intuit their way into doing wonderful art. So far you don't seem to have cited Mozart, thank goodness.

Anyways, I too will bow out of the conversation. Feel free to imply that I simply haven't the intellectual stuff to keep up with you.

Underhanded insults are no better than honest direct ones. When you begin by saying you are not making an accusation, then don't make an accusation. I'm lazy?  Tell me exactly what you would know about my work habits, or my intellectual rigor. Where did I indicate anywhere on these forums that I am 'intuiting my way into doing wonderful art?' Please, make the citation so we can see what you are talking about.

Why would you even attempt to make this kind of insult?

 
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 06, 2013, 12:24:42 PM
Charybdis and Scylla sing yet again, just like their cousins the Sirens.

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 06, 2013, 12:28:24 PM
Jeremy, do you have anything to contribute to the thread or are you just here to practise your repertoire of one liners?


Hah!  Touche.


Let it slide, stamper; in the quest for brevity he even forgot the acute.

Touché!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 06, 2013, 01:12:25 PM
SNAPSHOT OF Figures in shadow.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 06, 2013, 01:13:11 PM
SNAPSHOT of Drummer
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: seamus finn on February 06, 2013, 04:58:23 PM
It seems to me that humour is another legitimate element in street photography. The first is an example of male multi-tasking. The second is, well, just fun when school's out. Both brought a smile for me - a small but priceless treasure on any given day.



Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 06, 2013, 05:10:08 PM
Recycle.

I managed to get this SNAPSHOT of a recycler.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: WalterEG on February 06, 2013, 05:40:04 PM
Recycle.

I managed to get this SNAPSHOT of a recycler.

To say nothing of George Bernard Shaw catching up on a spot of reading!!  LOL

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 06, 2013, 06:01:47 PM
Now you've got the idea, Guy. That's a street photograph and a pretty darn good one.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 06, 2013, 06:02:59 PM
@seamus
Indeed, I think both of your photos are humorous. I always enjoy children playing like that. I like the content and I like the ideas you had for the photographs. I have some problem with the density in both. The appearance is too dark and the shadows a bit muddled. That stuff is easily correctable, and I think you would have more pleasing images if you tried it. If it's just my screen, then of course ignore that comment. I like humorous street and I think you've done it.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 06, 2013, 06:04:18 PM
It seems to me that humour is another legitimate element in street photography. The first is an example of male multi-tasking. The second is, well, just fun when school's out. Both brought a smile for me - a small but priceless treasure on any given day.

Humor certainly is, Seamus, as Elliott Erwitt has made clear to anybody familiar with his photographs. These are fun shots. Life isn't much without fun and funny.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: AFairley on February 06, 2013, 09:12:36 PM
OK, can someone give me a succinct definition of what "street" photography is?  From this thread it seems that I have been misapprehending.  I'll stick in two of mine...are they street or not, and why?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 06, 2013, 09:50:57 PM
@Spring St. Photo--

The idea for this is sound. The photo is constructed well, but doesn't hold me long enough. It is a little bland as a palette of black and gray tones with some very dull color. The reflected image in the window would be a lot more fun if it was distorted by wavy glass or some other contrast adding reality at the time. The man inside is dull. Other windows, at other times with other effects can make photographs that have some visual appeal or more. This one doesn't have enough going on to hold me for long. I want more content! :-)

@We Buy Gold
This is way more fun. There's the nice geometric tile and deep shadows and some content to explore. The guy is a bit further away than ideal, so he almost works himself out of the photograph. I think the composition could be improved by raising the bottom edge until it comes to the corner of the white banner on the right side. There's no apparent humor or irony, or social comment, or odd juxtapositions here, so the interest level to me falls off somewhat quicker than other pictures like this that have more intellectual content, like irony. Another way to shoot this, considering the content that is there, would be in a deadpan style.

As to who claims what about street photography, I think the argument is meaningless to artists. People who write books like arguing over such stuff. If you are following your artistic center, it ought not matter which pigeon hole some one wants to stick it in.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: kencameron on February 06, 2013, 11:02:59 PM
...Yes, some artists may compete with each other...
When I think about the history of the art forms I know something about, or the lives ans writings of artists I have studied in detail, I find it difficult to think of any who haven't competed, in some sense, with those they consider to be their real peers, whether contemporaries or predecessors. There is a branch of critical theory which goes into it - you might find this article (http://web-facstaff.sas.upenn.edu/~cavitch/pdf-library/Bloom_Apophrades.pdf) interesting (hard going, but worth the effort, IMO). Harold Bloom started off a lot of useful thinking about one of the things that drives many artists. Emulation isn't imitation - on the contrary, mere imitation gives up on any ambition to emulate. Nor is emulation - or competition - necessarily a hostile act - on the contrary, it is the highest kind of tribute.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 06, 2013, 11:47:17 PM
When I think about the history of the art forms I know something about, or the lives ans writings of artists I have studied in detail, I find it difficult to think of any who haven't competed, in some sense, with those they consider to be their real peers, whether contemporaries or predecessors. There is a branch of critical theory which goes into it - you might find this article (http://web-facstaff.sas.upenn.edu/~cavitch/pdf-library/Bloom_Apophrades.pdf) interesting (hard going, but worth the effort, IMO). Harold Bloom started off a lot of useful thinking about one of the things that drives many artists. Emulation isn't imitation - on the contrary, mere imitation gives up on any ambition to emulate. Nor is emulation - or competition - necessarily a hostile act - on the contrary, it is the highest kind of tribute.
Thanks for the Bloom piece. It's too long to read tonight and do justice, but I wanted to make a quick and simple comment. It seems we disagree on what emulation means. I stand by the common meaning of emulation, which includes imitation in part (see my previous post). As to whether emulation or competition is hostile act, that's not a position I took this morning. I only suggested that it led one away from one's true self and results in a loss of authenticity. That's not about hostility.

And finally, the idea of tribute. Artists will pay tribute to past favorite influences in particular works. That's a fine gesture. But to live as a "tribute band" (let's say), is a strict limitation to individual art. I would not want to live my art life as a tribute to another artist. But that's a peculiarly individual choice I make about my art. I didn't want to suggest at all that such choices weren't permitted. In fact, I was rebelling against the opposite idea that such emulation and tribute was a requirement for me!

Artists get to make all these personal decisions about what path they are following in their art. I prefer to follow the path of staying authentic, and others may find fulfillment in emulation or tribute to others, even to the extent of being a "tribute artist" (common in music, maybe not as common in other arts).

As to the competition angle, I am not persuaded yet by your argument, but if Bloom has that persuasive argument, I'll let you know. I did preciously say, "some do compete," so I have acknowledged it is a choice made by some. 
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: kencameron on February 07, 2013, 04:28:12 AM
As to the competition angle, I am not persuaded yet by your argument, but if Bloom has that persuasive argument, I'll let you know. I did preciously say, "some do compete," so I have acknowledged it is a choice made by some. 
I am not sure if I have an argument, so much as an observation, that the major artists I can think of are all competitive in one way or another - all aware of the quality in each others' work and determined to do as well or better. I would be keenly interested, and not necessarily surprised, if you could point out any who aren't competitive in that sense. What the Bloom article does is expand on one way in which great writers have been competitive. He is talking about major artists, recognized as such by their contemporaries and/or posterity - as am I. I am sure there are lots of people who think of themselves as artists, and may be entitled to think that way, who aren't particularly competitive. I hope you won't take that personally - I don't mean it that way at all.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 07, 2013, 04:35:48 AM
OK, can someone give me a succinct definition of what "street" photography is?  From this thread it seems that I have been misapprehending.  

Unfortunately there seems to be a "bull in the china shop" in the thread to discuss the meaning properly. Personally I am still trying to fathom it out by reading and looking at this thread. Russ's definition imo is too restricting but he has come to his conclusions after many years - decades - of practising street and I can see where he is coming from. The book

http://streetphotographynowproject.wordpress.com/the-book-2/

is less restricting than Russ's definition, perhaps too liberal in the range of images provided. Possibly there isn't a defining meaning?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: kencameron on February 07, 2013, 04:50:26 AM
OK, can someone give me a succinct definition of what "street" photography is?
What it means is what people who use it mean by it - with some bias towards the views of those who have thought about it a lot.  Even there, seems to be some variation. Eric's contributions provided a humorous corrective to too much definitional agonizing. What Russ calls ambiguity (I am not entirely happy with the word, because to me it implies two possible meanings, and that doesn't seem quite right) is certainly a powerful tool for distinguishing photographs that are interesting in a particular way. I am not sure if it is a winnable battle to seek to confine the phrase "street photography" to photographs that are interesting in that way, although I will probably allow it to govern my own usage from now on.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: opgr on February 07, 2013, 05:15:14 AM
A repeated request but:

1. It would be useful if the opening post actually invites people to add submissions. This would also allow some guidelines to be presented as to what "framework/context" is desired, which would solve a lot of the confusion.

2. It doesn't seem very productive to spam this thread full of images from past and present by only one or two people.

3. While it is useful to discuss contributions and definitions as we go, the current "tone" if you will isn't very inviting. Combined with 2 this thread currently doesn't make for an inviting environment for other people to contribute.

I'm therefore inclined to request a new thread be opened, with a proper invitational opening message, and we try to limit the number of submissions per timeframe. ("inclined" being the operative word here).
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: seamus finn on February 07, 2013, 05:28:38 AM
Quote
I managed to get this SNAPSHOT of a recycler.

That's a terrific genuine street shot.

Re my 'humour' shots, it's possible my calibration is off.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: kencameron on February 07, 2013, 05:34:02 AM
I'm therefore inclined to request a new thread be opened, with a proper invitational opening message, and we try to limit the number of submissions per timeframe. ("inclined" being the operative word here).
Maybe you would be the right person to open it. Although I am not too optimistic about the chances of controlling where threads go by anything said in the opening post.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 07, 2013, 06:13:01 AM
I don't see how it can be "cleaned up". If Michael were to agree to a new forum it would help but you can't control how people post. Stricter moderation would probably/possibly spoil contributions. I have posted a few of my own in an endeavour to help the thread along and keep it "live" but I am not holding my breadth.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 07, 2013, 06:33:55 AM
I don't see how it can be "cleaned up". If Michael were to agree to a new forum it would help but you can't control how people post. Stricter moderation would probably/possibly spoil contributions. I have posted a few of my own in an endeavour to help the thread along and keep it "live" but I am not holding my breadth.



But I am holding a mouse; my fingers are frozen and it's time to go to the chemist and pick up some more pills (I rattle when I move) and then shamble off for another cheap lunch. Followed, with luck, by another flippin' hour of walking along the same darned piers with the wind cutting through everything I can find to wear. Fun, winter ain't! It's cold here at the computer because Mallorcan developers don't build walls with proper insulation: they use cheap hollow bricks and your heating bills go up as the heat goes straight out. No wonder the industry's on its knees.

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 07, 2013, 08:48:14 AM
An hour ago the post man delivered a book to me. I have no connection with the publishers.

http://www.ephotozine.com/book-review/the-new-street-photographer-s-manifesto-505

176 pages and the size of the book is in a 3.2 format comfortability sitting in a coat pocket. Read about half and must say I am impressed. Nice combination of images and detail and most importantly ....inspirational. A nice tip was if you don't want the public to engage with you - though the book recommends doing so - is to wear head phones and they will probably not talk to you.

What didn't impress me was this book.

http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/David_Busch_s_Portrait_Candid_Street_Pho.html?id=oMOnpwAACAAJ&redir_esc=y

David Busch is a very good writer of photography books in general but the book above dwells mostly exclusively on the technical and repeats information on a few pages. A book that tries to be all things to all people.

Still to read Henri Cartier Bresson's

http://www.flixelpix.com/blog/henri-cartier-bressons-minds-eye-review/

On a personal note I recently bought the Canon sx50 camera. It has a swivel screen with a leveling indicator on the screen. It can therefore be used at waist level. Look down at the screen and the indicator will mean if you line it up the image shouldn't be of at an angle. Less likely to be noticed doing this?



Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 07, 2013, 09:28:13 AM
I agree with Ken. "Ambiguity" doesn't come close to adequately describing what makes street photography street photography. And I don't even like the term "street photography." I wish there were a better name for it. If you don't know much about the history of photography the term "street photography" implies that you can grab a camera, go out in the street, start shooting, and have street photography. And that assumption seems sensible even if it's wrong.

Street photography's development goes back at least as far as Andre Kertesz, but it really was defined by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Young Henri was one of André Breton's acolytes. He'd attend Breton's gatherings and sit silently in awe during the discussions of surrealism and readings of André's surrealist poems, and when he started walking the streets of Paris with his Leica the surrealism spilled over into his photography. But those early pictures aren't quite surrealistic, and, I think, "ambiguity" comes as close as any word I can find to describe the merger of surrealism and the kind of realism you can't avoid within a well-composed photograph. When Cartier-Bresson joined with Bob Capa, Chim, George Rodger and Bill Vandivert to start Magnum, Capa had to advise him to avoid the "little surrealist" reputation being hung on him and call himself a photojournalist.

Which brings us to the difference between street photography and journalism, or, to put it in a more general way, documentation. As I'm sure Seamus with his background in journalism can tell you, for the most part photographs to be used in journalism can't afford to be surrealistic or even ambiguous. The whole point of photojournalism is explication, and surrealism most emphatically doesn't explain. But I said "for the most part." I've seen plenty of photojournalistic spreads in magazines like Life or Look where the central photograph was ambiguous enough to grab your attention and get you to read the article. Often the photojournalism was by HCB.

So if someone can come up with a better term than "street photograph" for a photograph that includes people or their artifacts in somewhat surrealistic juxtapositions, let's have it. But, as I've said before, there's no way to come to terms with the definition of whatever you call that kind of photography without studying its early masters. Words can point to it but they can't define it. You need to internalize the art to understand.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 07, 2013, 09:28:55 AM
Stamp, this 'problem' about being noticed: it seems to me you are doing something that you really feel you ought not to be doing; go with your gut and do something else!

For example: a couple of hours ago I wrote that I was going for lunch and then the medicinal walk. As it happened, I made about the first twenty-five yards of the pier and realised that were I to continue, at the very least I'd lose the bandana and in the worst case, I'd end up in the sea myself. I took the advice of natural instinct and returned home, praying that no roof tiles would come from above and split me in twain. So far, so good. So yes, do follow instinct and leave those people in the street be!

You really can live perfectly happily without them.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 07, 2013, 09:37:13 AM
I agree with Ken. "Ambiguity" doesn't come close to adequately describing what makes street photography street photography. And I don't even like the term "street photography." I wish there were a better name for it. If you don't know much about the history of photography the term "street photography" implies that you can grab a camera, go out in the street, start shooting, and have street photography. And that assumption seems sensible even if it's wrong.

Street photography's development goes back at least as far as Andre Kertesz, but it really was defined by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Young Henri was one of André Breton's acolytes. He'd attend Breton's gatherings and sit silently in awe during the discussions of surrealism and readings of André's surrealist poems, and when he started walking the streets of Paris with his Leica the surrealism spilled over into his photography. But those early pictures aren't quite surrealistic, and, I think, "ambiguity" comes as close as any word I can find to describe the merger of surrealism and the kind of realism you can't avoid within a well-composed photograph. When Cartier-Bresson joined with Bob Capa, Chim, George Rodger and Bill Vandivert to start Magnum, Capa had to advise him to avoid the "little surrealist" reputation being hung on him and call himself a photojournalist.

Which brings us to the difference between street photography and journalism, or, to put it in a more general way, documentation. As I'm sure Seamus with his background in journalism can tell you, for the most part photographs to be used in journalism can't afford to be surrealistic or even ambiguous. The whole point of photojournalism is explication, and surrealism most emphatically doesn't explain. But I said "for the most part." I've seen plenty of photojournalistic spreads in magazines like Life or Look where the central photograph was ambiguous enough to grab your attention and get you to read the article. Often the photojournalism was by HCB.

So if someone can come up with a better term than "street photograph" for a photograph that includes people or their artifacts in somewhat surrealistic juxtapositions, let's have it. But, as I've said before, there's no way to come to terms with the definition of whatever you call that kind of photography without studying its early masters. Words can point to it but they can't define it. You need to internalize the art to understand.



But Russ, you know perfectly well that there already was a good term for it: candid photography. It's connotations were universally known and understood, and only its slide into obscurity has led to the possibility of new eyes misinterpreting its meaning. Just as with gay: it used to be a perfectly usable word in the appropriate circumstances; now, it's been hijacked and denied its legitimate use altogether; there must be battalions of hussars turning in their graves...

Rob C

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 07, 2013, 09:48:43 AM

On a personal note I recently bought the Canon sx50 camera. It has a swivel screen with a leveling indicator on the screen. It can therefore be used at waist level. Look down at the screen and the indicator will mean if you line it up the image shouldn't be of at an angle. Less likely to be noticed doing this?


Could be. But it also might mean missing the photo too. I wouldn't consider being noticed a problem. Here's a fun video of Joel Meyerwitz doing street photography. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UspoolSnZtg&list=WL23E038A1FCEB030F
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 07, 2013, 10:19:22 AM
Sontag makes the claim that Photography is the only actual Surrealist art form. She explicitly chucks out pretty much of actual surrealism to make her claim stick, effectively re-defining the word completely until it fits all of photography and none of surrealism.

So, it's pretty much crap, but as with so much of Sontag there's the germ of something in there. I haven't got my arms around it yet, but it's more than just "some photographers did surrealism" and less than "photography is the True Surrealist Art". I think.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 07, 2013, 10:43:11 AM
Sontag makes the claim that Photography is the only actual Surrealist art form. She explicitly chucks out pretty much of actual surrealism to make her claim stick, effectively re-defining the word completely until it fits all of photography and none of surrealism.

So, it's pretty much crap, but as with so much of Sontag there's the germ of something in there. I haven't got my arms around it yet, but it's more than just "some photographers did surrealism" and less than "photography is the True Surrealist Art". I think.



I read the famous essay on our 'thing' and can't claim to have been impressed. As with all pundits who simply observe and then write, the reality often has little to do with what's written.

Her relationship with Annie may or may not have had an effect on Annie's snaps, but I do believe the early stuff for Rolling Stone was better/more interesting(?) than the later glossy work I've managed to catch here and there. Perhaps too much external input kiills an 'artist's' personality, leaving them not really knowing any longer exactly who they are. I believe that starting to introspect about your work is the worst thing you can do. You should always retain your personal virginity and just do what you do. If it brings you success, it's because people like what you actually do, not that which someone else may later con you into thinking you should do; there's a lot of 'control' and powerplay that comes into some relationships - if you let it...

It's why I dislike the idea of critique. I think it both futile and insidiously destructive

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: James Clark on February 07, 2013, 10:59:04 AM
I agree with Ken. "Ambiguity" doesn't come close to adequately describing what makes street photography street photography. And I don't even like the term "street photography." I wish there were a better name for it. If you don't know much about the history of photography the term "street photography" implies that you can grab a camera, go out in the street, start shooting, and have street photography. And that assumption seems sensible even if it's wrong.

Street photography's development goes back at least as far as Andre Kertesz, but it really was defined by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Young Henri was one of André Breton's acolytes. He'd attend Breton's gatherings and sit silently in awe during the discussions of surrealism and readings of André's surrealist poems, and when he started walking the streets of Paris with his Leica the surrealism spilled over into his photography. But those early pictures aren't quite surrealistic, and, I think, "ambiguity" comes as close as any word I can find to describe the merger of surrealism and the kind of realism you can't avoid within a well-composed photograph. When Cartier-Bresson joined with Bob Capa, Chim, George Rodger and Bill Vandivert to start Magnum, Capa had to advise him to avoid the "little surrealist" reputation being hung on him and call himself a photojournalist.

Which brings us to the difference between street photography and journalism, or, to put it in a more general way, documentation. As I'm sure Seamus with his background in journalism can tell you, for the most part photographs to be used in journalism can't afford to be surrealistic or even ambiguous. The whole point of photojournalism is explication, and surrealism most emphatically doesn't explain. But I said "for the most part." I've seen plenty of photojournalistic spreads in magazines like Life or Look where the central photograph was ambiguous enough to grab your attention and get you to read the article. Often the photojournalism was by HCB.

So if someone can come up with a better term than "street photograph" for a photograph that includes people or their artifacts in somewhat surrealistic juxtapositions, let's have it. But, as I've said before, there's no way to come to terms with the definition of whatever you call that kind of photography without studying its early masters. Words can point to it but they can't define it. You need to internalize the art to understand.


Well, there you have it.  I'm not sure it's necessary to quibble over what make a "proper" "street photograph," but that one sentence is a nice attempt at what makes an *interesting* photograph in the genre.  Combine that with some semblance of generally decent composition and a smidgen of technical competence, and you have yourself a "street photograph."

More pictures and less talk, anyone?   8)
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on February 07, 2013, 05:38:19 PM
More pictures and less talk, anyone?   8)
+10.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 08, 2013, 03:57:59 AM
Quote Russ Reply #89

So if someone can come up with a better term than "street photograph" for a photograph that includes people or their artifacts in somewhat surrealistic juxtapositions

Unquote

Urban reality?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Mjollnir on February 08, 2013, 10:49:08 AM
Well, there you have it.  I'm not sure it's necessary to quibble over what make a "proper" "street photograph," but that one sentence is a nice attempt at what makes an *interesting* photograph in the genre.  Combine that with some semblance of generally decent composition and a smidgen of technical competence, and you have yourself a "street photograph."

More pictures and less talk, anyone?   8)

Precisely.

All this blather about what properly constitutes an X photograph versus a Y photograph brings to mind the idiocy of those who insist there are 'landscape lenses' and 'portrait lenses'.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: nemo295 on February 08, 2013, 12:09:07 PM
Precisely.

All this blather about what properly constitutes an X photograph versus a Y photograph brings to mind the idiocy of those who insist there are 'landscape lenses' and 'portrait lenses'.

I agree. Only the image matters. I don't care about labels; I only want to produce images that work on a visceral level for me. If the public likes them, all the better. If others want to bicker over how to categorize them, let them. It's no concern of mine. I just want to take photographs. And I only think about the lens and all my other gear in terms of whether it will enable me to capture the scene in the way I want and whether it happens to be in my camera bag when I need it.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: seamus finn on February 08, 2013, 01:14:23 PM
Quote
More pictures and less talk, anyone?

Family of Man:

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 08, 2013, 01:22:20 PM
@family of man

This is a provocative photograph that works on it's content and framing. I get a very strong emotional and intellectual reaction that keeps me interested. Where we often like the f/g to be sharp, this diffuse profile works perfectly as a means of getting to the group behind the scrim. As the title suggests the group goes down in size referring to the famous evolution drawings. The simple tones work to maximize the effect here with no unnecessary distraction. This is one of my favorite photographs this week. This is one I'd like to see in a print.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 08, 2013, 02:09:38 PM
I agree. Only the image matters. I don't care about labels;

Fair enough. Here's a landscape.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 08, 2013, 02:10:55 PM
Family of Man:

Both good Seamus, but #2 is a great shot. Bravo!
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: nemo295 on February 08, 2013, 03:05:05 PM
Fair enough. Here's a landscape.

I like it, very much in fact. What you want to label it is your business.   :D :D :D
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 08, 2013, 03:06:45 PM
Thanks, Doug. Here's another landscape.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 08, 2013, 03:17:13 PM
And here's a still life for you.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: seamus finn on February 08, 2013, 03:54:51 PM

Ok, here's a landscape called 'Brainwave':



Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: nemo295 on February 08, 2013, 04:06:23 PM
And here's a still life for you.
I liked your "landscapes" better. No matter what you call them, only the photograph matters. No one cares what category a great image fits into and no label will improve a photograph that sucks. You may argue whether Cartier-Bresson's definition of what he thought "street photography" ought to be is something other photographers should care about, but at the end of the day it's just an empty academic exercise. Labels don't matter. Art matters.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 08, 2013, 04:20:48 PM
You may argue whether Cartier-Bresson's definition of what he thought "street photography" ought to be is something other photographers should care about, but at the end of the day it's just an empty academic exercise. Labels don't matter. Art matters.

I don't argue any such thing. HCB never "defined" street photography in words, but he defined it pretty convincingly in photographs. I'm glad to know that "art matters."
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 08, 2013, 05:57:17 PM
Family of Man:


Boy in the bubble photo:
There's a fine line between sappy sentimentality and genuine nature, and at first I wasn't so sure which way this photograph fell on that line. But looking closer for a bit, I have a better appreciation of it, and I enjoy it even though the kid is too cute (sarcasm). It has an interesting texture to it that I really like.  The framing is spot on and gives all the story I need. The technical execution is near perfect for me, and I think it's a terrific photograph, although not as interesting for me as the first one.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 08, 2013, 06:02:46 PM
Ok, here's a landscape called 'Brainwave':




@Brainwave.

I liked the look of this at postage stamp size. But when I made it full screen size, I was a bit disappointed. There wasn't much there there. The backs of people in stasis aren't all that intriguing and the rest of the image fizzled for me. The shapes and tone are obviously interesting in an abstract sense, which is why I think I liked the thumbnail. And the wall of lights is interesting but not enough content to generate much excitement for me.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: nemo295 on February 08, 2013, 06:19:57 PM
I don't argue any such thing. HCB never "defined" street photography in words, but he defined it pretty convincingly in photographs. I'm glad to know that "art matters."

Ah, but you have argued that people should follow his modus operandi, and that anything that varies from it isn't worthy of being called street photography. My point is that it doesn't matter.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on February 08, 2013, 06:55:01 PM
Love the Landscapes, Russ and Seamus.

(Maybe the colors are a bit too saturated?   ;D )

I agree that the Still Life doesn't have the pizzazz of the Landscapes.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: wolfnowl on February 09, 2013, 01:56:38 AM
Family of Man:



The second one is brilliant, Seamus.

Mike.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: seamus finn on February 09, 2013, 05:29:01 AM
Thanks Mike.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: seamus finn on February 09, 2013, 05:31:37 AM

Model Release:

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on February 09, 2013, 10:37:18 AM
You're really hitting your stride, Seamus! Nice work!
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 09, 2013, 10:53:34 AM
+1
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 09, 2013, 11:05:25 AM
And here's a still life for you.
@ Man beating drum
Is this ambiguous? Really?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 09, 2013, 11:24:23 AM
Thanks, Doug. Here's another landscape.
@Man on cell phone in lobby

Well, there it is - - how much more "ambiguous" can a photo be than a man on a cell phone in a lobby? I guess we could wonder "who is he calling?"
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: seamus finn on February 09, 2013, 12:03:33 PM

Be Careful Out There:

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on February 09, 2013, 12:07:53 PM
@ Man beating drum
Is this ambiguous? Really?
But it's a Still Life, not a Street Photo, so it doesn't need ambiguity.   ;D
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 09, 2013, 12:22:54 PM
But it's a Still Life, not a Street Photo, so it doesn't need ambiguity.   ;D

Oh gee, I didn't get that. Thanks so much.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 09, 2013, 01:29:16 PM
Keep 'em coming, Seamus. I can't get back on the street until we get out of here and go someplace like St. Augustine, but I'll go back through some more earlier stuff when I get a chance.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 09, 2013, 04:31:59 PM
Serenade
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: seamus finn on February 10, 2013, 05:17:04 AM
Be careful what you wish for:
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 10, 2013, 06:34:48 AM
Shadows.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 10, 2013, 07:02:32 AM
I'm forever blowing bubbles.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 10, 2013, 07:14:37 AM
My cup is full and running over.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 10, 2013, 11:59:01 AM
Be careful what you wish for:

There is a string of very explicit photographs here. Some work pretty well, such as the boy in the bubble. I think this one doesn't work well, so I was interested to analyze why.

To say it is explicit is an understatement. The sign is formally framed by the camera to present the sign dead on - screaming - look here! So, I did. But all I found was banal sentiments, and nothing clever, profound, humorous or ironic. The "Before I Die.." hook is great, but nothing of interest grabs the bait. At that point it is far more like a document and far less like a photograph. (There's no play of light and shadow, for instance.)

I do think it was a good photographic instinct though. To make it work better, the photographer might have waited (the sign isn't going anywhere) until someone came into the picture, and perhaps wrote on the board. That would allow plenty of opportunity for a more engaging picture - before, during, or after writing on the board. Or even just looking. The possibilities are then endless.  You could even end up with an ambiguous photograph if that was your intent.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: cjogo on February 11, 2013, 01:33:26 AM
One of my favorite street shots ....in the misty rain ... Latvian kids through the fence .  Waistlevel viewing helps with catching candids ...  this is Hassy with normal lens  1989   Probably not that many who shoot with a tripod for street shots :-)  (http://photos.imageevent.com/estrump/fineart/icons/CHILDREN%20AT%20FENCE.jpg)
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 12, 2013, 04:43:31 AM
An early digital test shot for me: my D200 with a 24mm cunningly disguised as a 35mm.

I thought it was a jewel-like camera, but it now sits doing nothing. As, really, does most of the other stuff, too. Guess the sweet bird of motivation got shot somewhere in a forest. Worse: it might be prisoner in a golden cage. Why don't you write, sweet one; whisper in my ear?

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: kencameron on February 12, 2013, 05:36:47 AM
An early digital test shot for me...
I like it, but would like it better without the title which, for me, detracts rather than adds in this case.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 12, 2013, 05:48:16 AM
I like it, but would like it better without the title which, for me, detracts rather than adds in this case.



Probaby right, Ken, but it's impossible for me to do that: it's as close as I get to writing Sunflowers.

Without a title Vinny would have had but a weed. Or an old chair.

;-)

Rob
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: kencameron on February 12, 2013, 06:19:11 AM
Looking again, I am seeing the case for the title: it is of the same vintage as the photograph. Where have all the chicks gone?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 12, 2013, 06:29:52 AM
Looking again, I am seeing the case for the title: it is of the same vintage as the photograph. Where have all the chicks gone?



Imitated the lamb, and gone to the slaughter.

They became feminists and thus lost their God-given natural power and superiority. I never met a girl who couldn't make her point without the need to be strident, which most seemed to know would only be counterproductive. Why do we never know what we have untill we lose it or, worse, destroy it ourselves?

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: kencameron on February 12, 2013, 06:36:37 AM
"Two". I like to think they were discussing sculpture - we and they had just come out of a fine exhibition. (http://www.mca.com.au/exhibition/anish-kapoor/). I could only here the odd word.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 12, 2013, 08:09:52 AM
"Two". I like to think they were discussing sculpture - we and they had just come out of a fine exhibition. (http://www.mca.com.au/exhibition/anish-kapoor/). I could only here the odd word.


From her face, I imagined they - or at least she - were discussing his feet.

Ambiguity is nice, sometimes, as long as it doesn't come from your bank.

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on February 12, 2013, 08:34:50 AM
... Where have all the chicks gone?

Found some:

(http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4046/4174492173_9530735490.jpg) (http://www.flickr.com/photos/slobodan_blagojevic/4174492173/)
Chicks (http://www.flickr.com/photos/slobodan_blagojevic/4174492173/) by Slobodan Blagojevic (http://www.flickr.com/people/slobodan_blagojevic/), on Flickr
Title: Mom, dad, and baby makes three
Post by: RSL on February 12, 2013, 09:37:43 AM
I'm seeing a lot of documentary, some of it very good, but the last several don't contain much street ambiguity. My hat's off to Stamper's "Bubbles" and Seamus's "Be careful out there." Lots of questions in "Bubbles," and the kid's expression makes the picture. And it's not often a croc is waiting to grab the bag of whatever you just purchased. Another top of the line is Stamper's "My cup runneth over." What's actually supporting that basin? Ouch! Unfortunately a couple posts are too small to let the viewer see what's going on.

Here's another one. It's street documentation but it doesn't have much ambiguity. Considering the subject matter, that's unfortunate. I shot this one in 2007, and every time I see it I pray those kids will grow up along with their baby. Ambiguity might make hope more reasonable.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on February 12, 2013, 10:16:07 AM
Ambiguity is nice, sometimes, as long as it doesn't come from your bank.

Rob C
Now that has to be the definitive word on "ambiguity." Bravo, Rob!
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 12, 2013, 10:38:16 AM
Stroller. I think there is enough going on in it to make it interesting. You are wondering what the young woman is saying to the guy. Is it a reprimand for something he has done wrong or is she telling him that he's onto a promise?  ;D
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 12, 2013, 10:46:35 AM
Actually I'm wondering why his pants are falling down  :D
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 12, 2013, 11:19:58 AM
The last many pages have been filled with explicit documentary style street photographs. I haven't seen one claim yet of ambiguity by the photographer, nor one ambiguous photograph. (Wondering what two people are saying to each other is not a demonstration of ambiguity.)   

Would someone mind saying which of their photographs posted here they think are ambiguous? There was so much insistence on ambiguity I thought for sure there would be many examples posted. It would be interesting to see just one to study.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Chris Calohan on February 12, 2013, 11:23:02 AM
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8104/8468640176_27415e33d8_o.jpg)

Passing Glances
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 12, 2013, 12:06:43 PM
(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8104/8468640176_27415e33d8_o.jpg)

Passing Glances
The direct connection of two people creates a little tension through their obvious differences, as seen by the observer here. This kind of featureless lighting though doesn't create much drama, and doesn't accentuate the composition, which I think is very good. The bars make a nice grid for the scene and the even sky works to keep attention on the figures. But there is little dimensionality here and for that I think the idea suffers a bit. Imagining some deep shadows here I can see a more powerful picture. I think the idea works well for me, but the actual photograph is a bit under-performing considering the subject matter.

EDIT: With regard to the category here,  I should have mentioned in the critique that this is an explicit and unambiguous photograph, like most of the others in the thread. Of course the photographer didn't claim it was ambiguous, so that's good, but I should mention it given the debate about street photography.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 12, 2013, 02:27:38 PM
The last many pages have been filled with explicit documentary style street photographs. I haven't seen one claim yet of ambiguity by the photographer, nor one ambiguous photograph. (Wondering what two people are saying to each other is not a demonstration of ambiguity.)   

Would someone mind saying which of their photographs posted here they think are ambiguous? There was so much insistence on ambiguity I thought for sure there would be many examples posted. It would be interesting to see just one to study.



Be my guest: so ambiguous it jumped right back off the street onto the patio!


Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: WalterEG on February 12, 2013, 02:55:23 PM
Sometimes surreal juxtapositions can really work.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Chris Calohan on February 12, 2013, 03:12:59 PM
The direct connection of two people creates a little tension through their obvious differences, as seen by the observer here. This kind of featureless lighting though doesn't create much drama, and doesn't accentuate the composition, which I think is very good. The bars make a nice grid for the scene and the even sky works to keep attention on the figures. But there is little dimensionality here and for that I think the idea suffers a bit. Imagining some deep shadows here I can see a more powerful picture. I think the idea works well for me, but the actual photograph is a bit under-performing considering the subject matter.

EDIT: With regard to the category here,  I should have mentioned in the critique that this is an explicit and unambiguous photograph, like most of the others in the thread. Of course the photographer didn't claim it was ambiguous, so that's good, but I should mention it given the debate about street photography.

I would differ as the scene is quite ambiguous. There is no certainty as to what exchange, if any has taken place. There is a rather vague connection made to what I saw as "boredom - resignation on the parts of the two players but there also may be a reaction. The guy on the right might have called the other one a name and the gocart guy has responded with a look of contempt...anything could be taking place; thus we have ambiguity in its fullest measure.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 12, 2013, 03:22:11 PM
I like Chris's photo specifically because of the ambiguity.

The sightlines are not quite clear, the men could be looking past each other. We're invited to guess that they are looking at each other, and to guess at the story, if any, therein. But it's not clear. There are potential depths, but we must make them ourselves, really. To me, this is what street's all about.

Plus, the geometries are pretty wicked too.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: kencameron on February 12, 2013, 03:35:39 PM
It seems as if we are arguing about the application of a somewhat ambiguous word. That could go on for a long time. We also need to be careful about whether we are using the word as descriptive or evaluative. Is it a synonym for quality, so that more of it is better, or just one characteristic among others? For mine, there are degrees of "ambiguity". Sometimes there is something jut a little bit unclear about an only mildly interesting narrative - as in my shot, IMO. Sometimes the implied narrative is stronger and less clear - Chris C's shot a fair way along that continuum, but not as far as it is possible to go.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on February 12, 2013, 03:41:23 PM
Ambiguity = Emperor's new clothes

Faithfuls are seeing it, infidels not.

:P
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 12, 2013, 03:49:00 PM
I would differ as the scene is quite ambiguous. There is no certainty as to what exchange, if any has taken place. There is a rather vague connection made to what I saw as "boredom - resignation on the parts of the two players but there also may be a reaction. The guy on the right might have called the other one a name and the gocart guy has responded with a look of contempt...anything could be taking place; thus we have ambiguity in its fullest measure.
Now I understand why you all think these photos are "ambiguous." Your concept of an ambiguous photo is one in which you can imagine various story lines to apply to the people. He might have called her a slut, she might have said let's have sex, he might be arguing with his boss on the phone, or she might be arguing with her mother, she might be talking with the pope, and so on, and so on. Therefore it follows, that any photograph involving a person is ambiguous, because we can invent multiple stories of what each is doing, saying, or perhaps thinking. As you put it, "when there is no certainty of of the exchange."

Photographs do not contain a sound track. And therefore no certainty of verbal exchange. When viewing photographs we have no expectation of any kind that we "know what people are saying," let alone what they might be thinking or feeling. Therefore it is a given that any possible words can be put in anyone's mouth or thought bubble on any photograph taken that includes a person. That general claim eliminates the possibility of declaring one photo ambiguous and the other not. I can invent "multiple speaking roles" for any photograph I take with people.

I think your comment represents a big misunderstanding of what make an ambiguous photograph.  Ambiguity isn't about making up countless variations of stories for the photograph. It is about the photograph driving in two (or sometimes more) basically divergent directions based on the photographic content - not some imagined verbal content. Your photo of two men is explicit in content - "two men on a walkway are looking at each other." Each man is explicitly rendered in their circumstance. The space and time they occupy is explicitly rendered. You don't turn that into an "ambiguous photograph" by simply speculating on what they are saying or thinking. That aspect of any photograph is it's "story telling ability" or it's intellectual content. That's what is meant by intellectual stimulation of a photograph. It might also refer to the emotional impact of a photograph. If it makes you "feel" a certain way, say, pitiful or angry, that's the emotional content. Neither of those defines an "ambiguous photograph." To say every expression people have on their face is "ambiguous" might be true, but also meaningless in the sense we are discussing here about photography. It's easy to say all expressions are ambiguous in a photograph. So, that makes every photograph ambiguous? No, it does not. It might make some mysterious, or humorous, or intriguing, but not ambiguous.

I am glad you spoke forward because I simply couldn't see where all this claimed ambiguity was in these photographs. Now I understand what you all meant. You invent mental scenarios and scripts for your images, and since you are then "uncertain which is true" it becomes very ambiguous.  I get it - thanks.

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 12, 2013, 03:51:21 PM
I am unclear on what does constitute an ambiguous photograph, then. Can you post, or otherwise direct my attention to an example, please?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: WalterEG on February 12, 2013, 04:51:14 PM
Ambiguity = Emperor's new clothes

Faithfuls are seeing it, infidels not.

:P

Aman to that!
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 12, 2013, 04:56:31 PM

 The guy on the right might have called the other one a name and the gocart guy has responded with a look of contempt...anything could be taking place; thus we have ambiguity in its fullest measure.



Other way around: the black guy with the camera just shot a candid of the white guy in the 'mobile'; the former thought he was Gordon Parks but he wasn't. The 'subject' wasn't thrilled. Maybe he once lived on Mallorca. Ain't life complicated?

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 12, 2013, 05:16:58 PM
Okay, off the terrace and back in the world.

Sunday market a while back; made me think of a great, iconic Mexican movie.

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 12, 2013, 06:23:46 PM
I am unclear on what does constitute an ambiguous photograph, then. Can you post, or otherwise direct my attention to an example, please?

I think you have it backwards. It's you fellas that have been going on and on about ambiguity as an ingredient in street photography, not me. Didn't you just a few hours ago post something you claimed was ambiguous?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 12, 2013, 06:24:50 PM
Sometimes surreal juxtapositions can really work.
Yes, they can. Are there some photographs in here you think demonstrate that?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 12, 2013, 06:31:05 PM
Ambiguity = Emperor's new clothes

Faithfuls are seeing it, infidels not.

:P
I think it was presented as a matter of fact, not faith. There were commands to "run to the library and get books," and so on, as though the idea were as clear as seeing that animal is different than vegetable. In fact not a soul here yet has A) defined this thing that is so easily contained in books, B) nor have they demonstrated it with the works, aside from one claim for a picture which has no ambiguity of any kind.

I wasn't evaluating this idea as dogma. It wasn't presented that way. We don't need more faith, we need more fact.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 12, 2013, 07:32:17 PM
RG you've told us that what we all mean by the word ambiguity is wrong. You're not doing a good job of explaining what you think it means, though. That was the thrust of my question, a request that you do so. I repeat that request now.

Of course we're not very interested in copying the contents of books here. You can go read HCB etc yourself. Feel free to. Since it took those guys pages and pages to describe some things, it's pretty unlikely that lesser people, like us, could whip out a quick explanation in a 200 word forum post.

Especially since we all have ambiguity wrong to start with!
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 12, 2013, 07:40:06 PM
It seems as if we are arguing about the application of a somewhat ambiguous word. That could go on for a long time. We also need to be careful about whether we are using the word as descriptive or evaluative. Is it a synonym for quality, so that more of it is better, or just one characteristic among others? For mine, there are degrees of "ambiguity". Sometimes there is something jut a little bit unclear about an only mildly interesting narrative - as in my shot, IMO. Sometimes the implied narrative is stronger and less clear - Chris C's shot a fair way along that continuum, but not as far as it is possible to go.

I don't think the word is ambiguous at all. I think the application of it to photography, as expressed in this thread, is obviously unclear and ill-defined. I can't under any circumstance see how it can be considered synonymous with quality. I've never heard anyone make such a case. It's also not synonymous with vague. Mere vagueness doesn't necessarily imply ambiguity. "Ambi-" is latin for both. Thus in the usual parlance, ambiguity means "both readings are possible." Most often there is an A and B reading under question, and they are generally very different from each other. For example, many famous optical illusions are based on ambiguity. e.g. This way you look it is a witch, but that way you look it is a beautiful princess. That's the meaning of ambiguity - the one contains both. It is all contained in the image, not in a set of words you make up for the witch, which is suppose to make you think she is a princess - it is ALL in the image.

In photography, the characteristics of the photograph have to be visual. There's no sound capture, there's no mind reading, there's no third dimension as in sculpture. The reading is purely visual. Therefore, any ambiguous reading of the photograph must be carried within the photograph proper.

The only photograph here claimed to be ambiguous was the one Chris posted of the two men looking at each other. Yes, the viewer can if they choose make up any number of mental stories based on thoughts and imagined speech. But they can do that same thing with any photograph with people. Exactly as Chris did in his commentary. That's a feature, but it's not what is meant by ambiguity in a photograph. That feature is simply intellectual content - "the stuff you think about." Ambiguity would have to be about the visual content, not Chris' imagined dialog. Everything about that photograph is frank and explicit. The two people are what they are. The scene is what it is. There's no "witch and princess" concepts embedded in there. If you wanted to make a big deal out of what expressions are on their face, you might say it has some mystery. But again, mystery is not ambiguity.

If ambiguity is to have some meaning in photography, it must be selective on some rational basis. If all photographs are made ambiguous by nothing more than making up possible dialogs, then the term is meaningless.

I do agree with you that whatever features of a photograph do exist are always on a continuum from a little to a lot.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 12, 2013, 07:48:41 PM
Okay, we need to get back to square one on the "ambiguity" thing. My dictionary defines ambiguity as "1. An expression whose meaning cannot be determined from its content." and "2. Unclearness by virtue of having more than one meaning." When trying to apply the meanings to street photography I'd probably rule out #1, but #2 would come closer to what's involved, though it doesn't really get there.

I'll say again what I've said over and over: if you really want to understand what street photography is you have to become familiar with the work of the people who defined it. They didn't define it in words. They didn't say anything like: "street photography has to be ambiguous." What they did was shoot pictures that are in a class by itself -- a pretty distinct photographic genre. If you're not familiar with the real thing you're not going to be able to apply a word like "ambiguity" to a photographic genre and have it make sense.

Let's try the term "self-explanatory." I think that comes closer to dealing with what's there. If a picture is self-explanatory it's not street photography. So let's see if applying that term helps.

Let's go back through some of the pics above. I don't want to go too far back because it's time for me to get to bed so I can get up before dawn and go out on the river.  Is Slobodan's "Chicks" self-explanatory? You bet. It's a girl and her mother looking at some chicks. Cute picture, but there's nothing else there. My "Stroller?" Not quite. The guy's pants don't explain themselves. Chris's "Passing Glances?" Almost. Basically two guys shooting the breeze. Ken's "Two?" I really like the picture, but it's a couple talking. Nothing that goes beyond what's there in the picture. Rob's "Girl Flowers Alley?" It's too small for me to see what's in it. Mike's "In the Courtyard?" A guy smoking and reading a paper. Another good shot, but quite self-explanatory. Cjogo's little girls? Again, too small to be sure. Cute, but I don't see anything there but some kids up against a screen. I've made comments on some of Seamus's stuff and Stamper's stuff so I don't need to go there again.

So let's toss out the word, "ambiguity" and try to use a different approach. There IS a genre called "street photography" and in order for a picture to fall into the genre it can't be self-explanatory. There's more to it than that, but that's a start.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 12, 2013, 07:57:46 PM
RG you've told us that what we all mean by the word ambiguity is wrong. You're not doing a good job of explaining what you think it means, though. That was the thrust of my question, a request that you do so. I repeat that request now.

Of course we're not very interested in copying the contents of books here. You can go read HCB etc yourself. Feel free to. Since it took those guys pages and pages to describe some things, it's pretty unlikely that lesser people, like us, could whip out a quick explanation in a 200 word forum post.

Especially since we all have ambiguity wrong to start with!

It wasn't my challenge to explain it. You forget so easily, it was the posters here who made all the claims about "ambiguity in street photography." I was the guy saying, "explain it." And no one can.

I've never known any idea that can't be reduced to a summary by a person who understands the idea. "Go read the book" is an admission of an inability to explain the idea, or summarize the idea. When you know something, making a summary is simple. When you don't, you tell people to go read the book.

I let the argument alone for a couple days to see just what photographs would be posted as "ambiguous street photographs." After seeing none for several days, I thought it time to check in on why these photos were being posted. They certainly aren't emulations of Cartier-Bresson! LOL So, I supposed that they were therefore "ambiguous street photography" and I asked someone to explain their ambiguous photo. Chris did. Now I know what you all think constitutes ambiguity in a photograph. Stuff which "can't be whipped out in a 200 word post." Oh, I see.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 12, 2013, 08:06:55 PM
We did explain it, and you said we were wrong. We explained that it at least included ambiguity in the narratives we write when we see a photograph. That was an explanation. That is, in fact, the explanation.

You rejected this explanation, rather snottily, and have been prattling arrogantly along for 100s of words now about how wrong we are. Apparently you have some notion of what "ambiguous" means. If you didn't, then how would you know our definition was wrong? Ours seems to work pretty well.

You have said something on this subject:

"Ambiguity isn't about making up countless variations of stories for the photograph. It is about the photograph driving in two (or sometimes more) basically divergent directions based on the photographic content - not some imagined verbal content."

which I am unable to make sense of. I have asked you now, three times, to make an effort to clarify this, and you are dismissive every time. I begin to suspect that you don't know what it means either.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 12, 2013, 08:25:07 PM
I like Russ's approach as well, but let me defend "ambiguity" a bit more anyways.

A street photograph generates an ambiguous response in the viewer, we find ourselves unsure what to make of the photograph. There are human interactions in it that we are unable to interpret in a single satisfying way. There appear to be multiple ways to read the human interaction occurring within the frame, or sometimes there is no way we can read it. The result is that we are left with questions, a distinct sense of failure to understand. That failure to understand is coupled, I think, to a strong sense that something more or less reasonable IS going on, however. It's not simply weirdos, we feel that some more or less normal interaction is occurring, but we cannot work out what it is.

You may feel free to quibble over whether the photograph itself is ambiguous, or whether it's merely the response of the viewer that is ambiguous while the photograph itself is perfectly clear. I think this is stupid hair-splitting, and shall endeavor to avoid it.

Worth noting: Russ is perfectly correct that all this rubbish is really just describing what we perceive as certain important features of a genre which is defined by itself, and not by any collection of a couple hundred or a couple thousand words here and there.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 12, 2013, 08:36:46 PM
Okay, we need to get back to square one on the "ambiguity" thing. My dictionary defines ambiguity as "1. An expression whose meaning cannot be determined from its content." and "2. Unclearness by virtue of having more than one meaning." When trying to apply the meanings to street photography I'd probably rule out #1, but #2 would come closer to what's involved, though it doesn't really get there.

I'll say again what I've said over and over: if you really want to understand what street photography is you have to become familiar with the work of the people who defined it. They didn't define it in words. They didn't say anything like: "street photography has to be ambiguous." What they did was shoot pictures that are in a class by itself -- a pretty distinct photographic genre. If you're not familiar with the real thing you're not going to be able to apply a word like "ambiguity" to a photographic genre and have it make sense.

Let's try the term "self-explanatory." I think that comes closer to dealing with what's there. If a picture is self-explanatory it's not street photography. So let's see if applying that term helps.

Let's go back through some of the pics above. I don't want to go too far back because it's time for me to get to bed so I can get up before dawn and go out on the river.  Is Slobodan's "Chicks" self-explanatory? You bet. It's a girl and her mother looking at some chicks. Cute picture, but there's nothing else there. My "Stroller?" Not quite. The guy's pants don't explain themselves. Chris's "Passing Glances?" Almost. Basically two guys shooting the breeze. Ken's "Two?" I really like the picture, but it's a couple talking. Nothing that goes beyond what's there in the picture. Rob's "Girl Flowers Alley?" It's too small for me to see what's in it. Mike's "In the Courtyard?" A guy smoking and reading a paper. Another good shot, but quite self-explanatory. Cjogo's little girls? Again, too small to be sure. Cute, but I don't see anything there but some kids up against a screen. I've made comments on some of Seamus's stuff and Stamper's stuff so I don't need to go there again.

So let's toss out the word, "ambiguity" and try to use a different approach. There IS a genre called "street photography" and in order for a picture to fall into the genre it can't be self-explanatory. There's more to it than that, but that's a start.


I know some folks who insist that Rock and Roll means Buddy Holly, period. I don't care really, but the world moved on from that, and Rock and Roll evolves with new artists - - thank goodness, as far as I am concerned.

What I see you want is to freeze Street Photography just like my friends want to freeze R&R. Ok, have at it. But the world has moved on, and there are street photographers pushing new frontiers. As one writer put it, "Street photography has been a continuous wave since the invention of photography." So, I get the angle here - you want to post pictures that look like Cartier-Bresson's pictures. Ok with me -  of course. Anybody can make up threads to be what they want. I only object to this insistence that street photography ended with those images - like when Buddy Holly died. Your world may have stopped, but it went right on spinning for everyone else.

Any attempt to freeze art with an individual artist is futile. I don't buy it at all. Nor do I think you can freeze it with one particular style. I've looked at C-B images for years and years and years. They are wonderful. But so are many new images from street photographers today.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 12, 2013, 08:41:52 PM
We did explain it, and you said we were wrong. We explained that it at least included ambiguity in the narratives we write when we see a photograph. That was an explanation. That is, in fact, the explanation.

You rejected this explanation, rather snottily, and have been prattling arrogantly along for 100s of words now about how wrong we are. Apparently you have some notion of what "ambiguous" means. If you didn't, then how would you know our definition was wrong? Ours seems to work pretty well.

You have said something on this subject:

"Ambiguity isn't about making up countless variations of stories for the photograph. It is about the photograph driving in two (or sometimes more) basically divergent directions based on the photographic content - not some imagined verbal content."

which I am unable to make sense of. I have asked you now, three times, to make an effort to clarify this, and you are dismissive every time. I begin to suspect that you don't know what it means either.

I made it very clear a few posts above your post here:
QUOTE
I don't think the word is ambiguous at all. I think the application of it to photography, as expressed in this thread, is obviously unclear and ill-defined. I can't under any circumstance see how it can be considered synonymous with quality. I've never heard anyone make such a case. It's also not synonymous with vague. Mere vagueness doesn't necessarily imply ambiguity. "Ambi-" is latin for both. Thus in the usual parlance, ambiguity means "both readings are possible." Most often there is an A and B reading under question, and they are generally very different from each other. For example, many famous optical illusions are based on ambiguity. e.g. This way you look it is a witch, but that way you look it is a beautiful princess. That's the meaning of ambiguity - the one contains both. It is all contained in the image, not in a set of words you make up for the witch, which is suppose to make you think she is a princess - it is ALL in the image.
END QUOTE

You're a rude, nasty and arrogant man. I don't have much interest in engaging you. If you can't hold your arrogance in check, I'll just ignore you from here forward.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Patricia Sheley on February 12, 2013, 09:07:02 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2afuTvUzBQ


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about a book by Roland Barthes.
 Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography
 Author(s) Roland Barthes
 Original title  La Chambre claire
 Translator  Richard Howard
 Country  France
 Language  French

 Subject(s)  Photography, Philosophy
 Publisher  Hill and Wang
 Publication date  1980
 Published in English  1981
 Media type  Print (Softcover)
 ISBN  0-8090-3340-2
 OCLC Number  7307145
 Dewey Decimal  770/.1 19
 LC Classification  TR642 .B3713 1981
 

Camera Lucida (in French, La Chambre claire) is a short book published in 1980 by the French literary theorist and philosopher Roland Barthes. It is simultaneously an inquiry into the nature and essence of photography and a eulogy to Barthes' late mother. The book investigates the effects of photography on the spectator (as distinct from the photographer, and also from the object photographed, which Barthes calls the "spectrum").
 
In a deeply personal discussion of the lasting emotional effect of certain photographs, Barthes considers photography as asymbolic, irreducible to the codes of language or culture, acting on the body as much as on the mind. The book develops the twin concepts of studium and punctum: studium denoting the cultural, linguistic, and political interpretation of a photograph, punctum denoting the wounding, personally touching detail which establishes a direct relationship with the object or person within it.
 
[edit] Context
 
Camera Lucida, along with Susan Sontag's On Photography, was one of the most important early academic books of criticism and theorization on photography. Neither writer was a photographer, however, and both works have been much criticised since the 1990s. Nevertheless, it was by no means Barthes' earliest approach to the subject. Barthes mentions photography in one of his 'little mythologies'—articles published in the journal Les Lettres Nouvelles starting in 1954 and gathered in Mythologies, published untranslated in 1957. The article "Photography and Electoral Appeal" is more obviously political than Camera Lucida. In the 1960s and entering the next decade, Barthes' analysis of photography develops more detail and insight through a structuralist approach; Mythologies 's treatment of photography is by comparison tangential and simple. There is still in this structural phase a strong political impulse and background to his theorizing of photography; Barthes connects photography's ability to represent without style (a 'perfect analagon': "The Photographic Message", 1961) to its tendency to naturalise what are in fact invented and highly structured meanings. His examples deal with press photographs and advertising, which make good use of this property (or bad use of it, as the case may be). Published two months prior to his death in 1980, Camera Lucida is Barthes' first and only book devoted to photography. By now his tactics in writing, always shifting and complex, favouring the dialectical to the morally or politically 'committed' (Sartre), had once again changed. If sentimentality can be seen as a tactic in the late career of Roland Barthes, then Camera Lucida belongs to such an approach. It is novelistic, in line with the developments towards this new type of writing which Barthes had shown with A Lover's Discourse and Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes. However, the ideas about photography in Camera Lucida are certainly prepared in essays like "The Photographic Message", "Rhetoric of the Image" (1964), and "The Third Meaning" (1971). There is a movement through these three pieces of which Camera Lucida can be seen as the culmination. With "The Third Meaning" there is the suggestion that the photograph's reality, aside from all the messages it can be loaded with, might constitute an avant-garde value: not a message as such, aimed at the viewer/reader, but another kind of meaning that arises almost accidentally yet without being simply 'the material' or 'the accidental'; this is the eponymous third meaning. This essay of 1970, ostensibly about some Eisenstein stills, anticipates many of Camera Lucida's ideas and connects them back to still earlier ones. One could almost swap the term third meaning for the punctum of Camera Lucida.
 
Yet the personal note of pain in Camera Lucida is not present in these earlier writings and is unmistakable. Written after his mother's death, Camera Lucida is as much a reflection on death as it is on photography. Barthes died in an automobile accident soon after the publication of Camera Lucida, and many have read the book as Barthes' eulogy for himself.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Dahlmann on February 12, 2013, 10:54:06 PM
Im not in to street photographing
But i have start to get a taste of it.

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8365/8451484433_f5682af322_b.jpg)





/Dahlmann
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 12:01:01 AM
Im not in to street photographing
But i have start to get a taste of it.

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8365/8451484433_f5682af322_b.jpg)





/Dahlmann

This photograph is so busy that it is difficult to find a clear subject. Eventually, one comes to the girl sitting in profile, but that figure is at rest, and not very interesting, The plethora of signs don't send much of a message of anything interesting. There are too many objects in the photograph. I think what would have improved this is to move around with the camera and try alternate framings until you have a clear story in the viewfinder. Usually, less is more. If it isn't supporting the subject in an interesting way, it probably doesn't need to be in the photograph. Be more parsimonious. There was probably some potential photograph at that moment, but you settled to early for a view that didn't work out.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: kencameron on February 13, 2013, 01:54:44 AM
If all photographs are made ambiguous by nothing more than making up possible dialogs, then the term is meaningless.
Indeed. But I don't think anyone is saying that. My take on it starts with the notion that the human mind is, among other things, a machine for inventing and finding stories. Google "narrative psychology" for pages and pages of references in a variety of fields. Put simply, we look for and find stories in the world around us, including on the streets, and including in photographs. Photography (and visual art generally) hooks into this quality of the mind in a variety of ways. Documentary photography, as Russ has described it, as a common way. Obama's inauguration, a mother and baby, the audience at a rock concert - you get the idea. It is worth noting that you have to know the story before you can find it and many stories are more or less culturally specific. To a member of an undiscovered tribe in the upper Amazon, a picture of Obama's inauguration probably wouldn't tell much of a story but they would probably get the mother and baby. To me, a photograph of a landscape in Central Australia is just another landscape, while to an aboriginal person who lives there it will tell a detailed story about creation myths and the songs in which they are remembered.

Sometimes, though, there has to be a story there, but we can't work out quite what it is. "Ambiguity", as I have argued before, and as Russ has agreed, isn't at all a good word for this because, as you rightly say, it implies two or more identifiable meanings which you flip between and that absolutely isn't what we are talking about. It has, however, been the word used in many conversations about photographs which have the quality we are talking about, because nobody has come up with a better one. It isn't a matter of making up a variety of possible dialogues arbitrarily as you suggest. The image asks for a narrative answer, even demands one, and constrains, through its content, the possible answers, but refuses to conclusively provide one - but we can't let it drop, because the image is powerful enough to suck us in.  It's not that you make up stories, rather that the image asks the question "what exactly is going on here" and you can't quite get to an answer. This is an experience which you may or may not have had. If you have had it you know what we are talking about.

I agree with you that "ambiguity" in this sense is just one possible quality in photographs of people out of doors and isn't in any way synonymous with quality. But I am a bit surprised that you go on to say that you have never heard of anyone regard it as synonymous with quality. When you denounce those of us who value "ambiguity" as being stuck in the past and talk about how young street photographers are doing different and fine things, you seem to imply that we think that "ambiguity" is the only way to do photography of people out of doors. I think most of us don't, and we we mostly agree about the young street photographers as well. And if you want to talk about the past, google "Cartier Bresson Images" and look through what you find. I just did this and concluded that many, even most, of the shots I found were primarily documentary. But some had this other quality, to a greater or lesser degree. If we could sit down together in front of a screen, we could have a friendly discussion about where we found it. I find it, for example, here (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-bRUSC_QBEOM/UOvW9voabQI/AAAAAAAAAtI/Ebyl--MjrkI/s320/09cartierspan-1-articleLarge.jpg) - and note that people looking out of the frame is a common feature, because you wonder what they are looking at.

cheers

Ken

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 03:18:03 AM
Indeed. But I don't think anyone is saying that. My take on it starts with the notion that the human mind is, among other things, a machine for inventing and finding stories. Google "narrative psychology" for pages and pages of references in a variety of fields. Put simply, we look for and find stories in the world around us, including on the streets, and including in photographs. Photography (and visual art generally) hooks into this quality of the mind in a variety of ways. Documentary photography, as Russ has described it, as a common way. Obama's inauguration, a mother and baby, the audience at a rock concert - you get the idea. It is worth noting that you have to know the story before you can find it and many stories are more or less culturally specific. To a member of an undiscovered tribe in the upper Amazon, a picture of Obama's inauguration probably wouldn't tell much of a story but they would probably get the mother and baby. To me, a photograph of a landscape in Central Australia is just another landscape, while to an aboriginal person who lives there it will tell a detailed story about creation myths and the songs in which they are remembered.

Sometimes, though, there has to be a story there, but we can't work out quite what it is. "Ambiguity", as I have argued before, and as Russ has agreed, isn't at all a good word for this because, as you rightly say, it implies two or more identifiable meanings which you flip between and that absolutely isn't what we are talking about. It has, however, been the word used in many conversations about photographs which have the quality we are talking about, because nobody has come up with a better one. It isn't a matter of making up a variety of possible dialogues arbitrarily as you suggest. The image asks for a narrative answer, even demands one, and constrains, through its content, the possible answers, but refuses to conclusively provide one - but we can't let it drop, because the image is powerful enough to suck us in.  It's not that you make up stories, rather that the image asks the question "what exactly is going on here" and you can't quite get to an answer. This is an experience which you may or may not have had. If you have had it you know what we are talking about.

I agree with you that "ambiguity" in this sense is just one possible quality in photographs of people out of doors and isn't in any way synonymous with quality. But I am a bit surprised that you go on to say that you have never heard of anyone regard it as synonymous with quality. When you denounce those of us who value "ambiguity" as being stuck in the past and talk about how young street photographers are doing different and fine things, you seem to imply that we think that "ambiguity" is the only way to do photography of people out of doors. I think most of us don't, and we we mostly agree about the young street photographers as well. And if you want to talk about the past, google "Cartier Bresson Images" and look through what you find. I just did this and concluded that many, even most, of the shots I found were primarily documentary. But some had this other quality, to a greater or lesser degree. If we could sit down together in front of a screen, we could have a friendly discussion about where we found it. I find it, for example, here (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-bRUSC_QBEOM/UOvW9voabQI/AAAAAAAAAtI/Ebyl--MjrkI/s320/09cartierspan-1-articleLarge.jpg) - and note that people looking out of the frame is a common feature, because you wonder what they are looking at.

cheers

Ken



It's good and well to be done with ambiguity. I think even RSL has dumped it. Let's move on. I conclude you also didn't buy Chris' answer, because it really just involved alternate dialogs he supposed were possible, and which made it ambiguous to him. Even if you don't reject that, I do. Ok then, you go on to describe this certain something you are all looking for. If I reduce it down, I'd say you are describing the quality of mystery and enigmatic narrative. I will now argue that such is so common it doesn't deserve this high place you have set aside.

Let me start by countering RSL's latest rule that the photograph (for this genre) "can't be self explanatory." This is the replacement for ambiguity. This new rule is in clear conflict with the very essence of photography, which is that ALL photographs are both self-explanatory, self truthful, and self-contained. More to the point, the photograph is an explanation of time and space itself. A thing which can't explain itself can not therefore be a photograph. But that statement doesn't carry with it the idea that every viewer will understand or accept the explanation offered in the photograph. The photograph IS...whilst the viewer APPROACHES. The viewer doesn't bring truth the photograph. The truth existed before it was viewed. This is inviolable.  So, when a photograph makes a person dream various dreams, think various thoughts, and feel various emotions, it is the truth of the content causing those effects.  All photographs do that by degree. Not just street photographs, and not just "these certain special kinds" of street photographs. There is nothing special at all about a photograph stimulating multiple dreams and visions in certain people. The one that does it for you, may not do it for me. Well, these things are obvious I won't detail all the permutations.

When you engage a photograph, you can ponder a thousand questions. Who, what, why, when, where? And for each character, each face, each circumstance. The more the photo engages you, the more questions you can ask, if you like doing that. Or you can search for the truth that the photograph is expressing within itself. That might involve no questions. One approach is not better or worse than the other. They are different. I can easily suggest that just keeping your mind occupied with a thousand questions about who'dunnit, might mean you miss the explanation all together. Then you get into how to access the truth in a photograph. A very individual thing. BUT, whatever that questioning is about, it doesn't define the importance of a photograph. You can't say, "this one creates more questions, and thus is a better photo." That should not be arguable.

The inherent power of photography is that stimulation which happens because the photograph is a truth unto itself. The viewers are all out there peering into these truths, and quite frankly, most of the time they are scratching their heads. A guy asked me in the "Travel Vista" thread why on earth I posted some of those photos. He said, try as he might, he couldn't find a reason I would post them (keep in mind this was a photographer asking). What's the meaning there? Here's how I explained it to him. If I write on the chalk board "F=ma", and then ask the assembled audience, "What is this explaining?" Or, "what truth is being expressed there?" I will get some who know what it means, and some who don't have a clue. The difference in the two groups is: background.

I have been studying photographs for 45 years. I am well familiar with the photographs of all the renown photographers. What I know for certain is that there are only three paths by which a viewer finds interest (connection) in any of those photographs: by intellectual introspection; by emotional connection; by visual stimulation. Some viewers of a particular photograph get one path going, some get all three, and many get none. The difference is: background.

The summary is this. If your background is stuck at Cartier-Bresson (name your artist), you will connect only to those themes and styles and features of those photographs. Tell me you haven't heard a parent of a 16 year old saying, "That crap is not music!" If your background is stuck on enigmatic photographs, then direct one might not make sense to you. Art simply doesn't stand still for anyone though and what was before is simply past.

I look at contemporary photography all the time, every day. I am part of intensive personal critiques with artists and photographers weekly. I am not stuck in any photographic era, or stuck on any photographic artist. It's today, I am going to take my own photographs, which will contain their own truths and explanations. I did pay my dues to all those who came before, and they all said the same thing: be true to your own vision. It might be gawd-awful, but it is mine and not borrowed. Never once before pressing the shutter button have I stopped to ask myself, "Is this how the other guys would do it?"

I am always enjoying looking at photographs. If you'd like to look at some together (somehow), It's one of my favorite pastimes. I'm always game. Thanks.
 
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: kencameron on February 13, 2013, 03:46:47 AM
If I reduce it down, I'd say you are describing the quality of mystery and enigmatic narrative
No, I am not. Something much more specific. And just one among many interesting characteristic of (some) photographs, and not something I put on a pedestal. But I don't think it is worth going on with.  If I were to, I would have to start by pointing out the places in which you attribute to me views and attitudes which I don't hold and haven't expressed, and I don't have the patience. Productive discussion requires a certain level of engagement with what the other party actually says, and I don't feel I am getting that from you. Probably I haven't expressed myself clearly enough to give you the raw material you would need.

As to the rest of what you say, I agree with most of it and I certainly don't doubt your credentials.

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: opgr on February 13, 2013, 05:00:39 AM

We don't need more faith, we need more fact.


I so hope, pray, and wish,
with all my heart,
that facts are not the truth
behind great works of Art.


Even so, I'll try at a succinct definition under the guise of less-is-more:

Street-photography depicts a recognisable situation within human society, and gives that situation a distinctly different graphical or narrative meaning.

-------------------------------
1. "A recognisable  situation within human society" means a more or less common occurrence in a synthetic context. A street is the prime example of such a context. The word "street" also represents the notion of an everyday situation that one could encounter going outside "on the street".

2. "A distinctly different meaning" means it allows for an alternative interpretation as graphic elements or in narrative, which is at least as clear as the normal interpretation (by a moderately intelligent observer).

2a. If the alternative interpretation co-exists with the normal interpretation, or there are several alternative but coherent interpretations possible, then it can be understood as "ambiguous".

2b. If there is no clear alternative interpretation, or it is incoherent, then it fails the specific "street" category and probably fits the "documentary" category. (It may still be a pleasing image).
-------------------------------

Note that I am in no way, shape, or form equipped with an artistic background that allows me to make these type of definitions. I am simply trying to help define what I have read here, and combining that with what little knowledge I have to at least attempt to form a "constructive" definition.

Using too many words to explain which rules do not apply, still doesn't help to create a uniform agreement on what can at least be considered part of the game. So here is a futile request to some of the avid contributors without naming people explicitly: if you have strong ideas about what "street-photography" might be, please help in a definition attempt. Merely dismissing attempts by other people is not going to advance our joint effort here.

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 13, 2013, 05:07:48 AM
I think we are in great danger of over analysing the meaning of Street. It obviously means different things to different people and that is possibly/probably good. That means a variety of image will be posted but if it is narrowed down to one meaning then the posts will become restricted and the thread will die.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: opgr on February 13, 2013, 05:21:07 AM
I think we are in great danger of over analysing the meaning of Street. It obviously means different things to different people and that is possibly/probably good. That means a variety of image will be posted but if it is narrowed down to one meaning then the posts will become restricted and the thread will die.

Perhaps we need a "Street without Prejudice" thread ;-)
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: seamus finn on February 13, 2013, 05:54:53 AM
Incoming.













Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 13, 2013, 06:53:57 AM
You're a rude, nasty and arrogant man. I don't have much interest in engaging you. If you can't hold your arrogance in check, I'll just ignore you from here forward.

Coming from you, that's hilarious.

It's pretty obvious that you're not interested in addressing anything I have actually said, answering any of the questions that I have posed, and so on. You would prefer to rattle on in your content-free pseudo-intellectual style endlessly. By all means, do so. I won't necessarily ignore you, I predict that your regular howlers will continue to be worth pointing out from time to time.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 13, 2013, 07:12:43 AM
In the spirit of howlers, let me just pick a few lines more or less at random:

This new rule is in clear conflict with the very essence of photography, which is that ALL photographs are both self-explanatory, self truthful, and self-contained.

Simply asserting that photographs are both [sic] self-explanatory, self truthful, and self-contained doesn't make it true, and this is a point of view with which virtually everyone who's thought about art at all disagrees with. No art is self-explanatory, it exists (at least) in a social context which is required to make it meaningful. "Self truthful" doesn't seem to mean anything at all. I can be self-truthful because I contain systems, like ethical ideas, ideals, and so on, and I can choose to act in ways that conflict with (not self-truthful) or are aligned with (self-truthful) those systems. In order to be self-truthful, a photo must contain something to be truthful to, as well as something which can be truthful or not be truthful to it. This seems like rather a lot to ask of a picture. Perhaps RG simply means that the various ideas and tropes in the image should be aligned and pointing in the same direction? A lack of self-contradiction? If so, this is simply wrong. Sometimes the point of the image is the internal contradiction. Self-contained is true only in the most literal sense, art without, for instance, a viewer is as best pointless and at worst not art at all.

More to the point, the photograph is an explanation of time and space itself.

Does this even mean anything? I kind of thought the general theory of relativity was an explanation of space and time itself, but I'm not really seeing how a photograph could be.

A thing which can't explain itself can not therefore be a photograph.

Again, not really understanding what this could mean. Does he mean "a successful photograph"? Or is he asserting that a photographic print that doesn't explain itself is something other than a photograph? The use of the word "therefore" appears to be simply for weight, since this is just the contrapositive of his silly assertion that photographs are self-explanatory. In short, he's repeating himself, using Logic Words, to make it seem as if he's making an argument instead of just being repetitive.

But that statement doesn't carry with it the idea that every viewer will understand or accept the explanation offered in the photograph.

Now this means something, and is a reasonable thing to say. Is this what this entire mass of words has been driving towards? I honestly cannot tell.

The photograph IS...whilst the viewer APPROACHES.

Certainly a photograph IS. Sometimes, a viewer APPROACHES. But a viewer also IS. More importantly, what does this distinction of verbs have to do with anything?

One wonders if RedwoodGuy is a philosopher. This is precisely the kind of word salad that Nietzsche and those guys are so fond of. In general, Nietzsche's writing doesn't mean anything, and when it does produce a sentence that accidentally means something, that something is wrong. RG seems to be a step up from there, since of the sentences that seem to actually mean something, several of them are right.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 13, 2013, 09:16:12 AM
I know some folks who insist that Rock and Roll means Buddy Holly, period. I don't care really, but the world moved on from that, and Rock and Roll evolves with new artists - - thank goodness, as far as I am concerned.

To save space I'll dispense with the rest of the fatuous arguments that followed this. RG's two sentences serve to establish a point of departure:

I suspect everybody on LuLa who's past third grade is familiar with the impressionist genre of painting. But imagine trying to distinguish impressionism from other genres for someone who's not familiar with impressionist painting. What single word, or short phrase could you come up with to explain how impressionism differs from, say  expressionism? Nothing you could say would get the job done unless the listener had studied the genres enough that the two of you could agree on elements that distinguish them.

Of course RG would argue that as the world moves on from Monet and Van Gogh there's no reason we can't let impressionism evolve to include, say, Edward Hopper -- a "new artist." Actually, we can't. It's not that we can't include Hopper in the impressionist basket, it's that if we do, the whole idea that there's a distinct impressionist genre evaporates. From the standpoint of the art does that really matter? Of course not. To say that Ken's beautifully composed picture, "Two," isn't street photography in no way belittles its value as a photograph. It's a very good picture; it's just not a picture that falls into the "street" genre, a genre that was very badly named from the very beginning.

So, let RG go his own way. It sounds as if he's very young. The guy in the "Courthouse" picture he posted under the "Street View Photography" thread may very well be a self-portrait. There's no reason for him not to live in his own world and enjoy it.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 10:11:07 AM
No, I am not. Something much more specific. And just one among many interesting characteristic of (some) photographs, and not something I put on a pedestal. But I don't think it is worth going on with.  If I were to, I would have to start by pointing out the places in which you attribute to me views and attitudes which I don't hold and haven't expressed, and I don't have the patience. Productive discussion requires a certain level of engagement with what the other party actually says, and I don't feel I am getting that from you. Probably I haven't expressed myself clearly enough to give you the raw material you would need.

As to the rest of what you say, I agree with most of it and I certainly don't doubt your credentials.


I hope you didn't mistake my use of the word "you" - for which I generally meant "one." I had no intention of attributing to you views you don't hold. I might have clumped together the group view about ambiguity though. I had no design to offend you. It might be true though your point wasn't clear.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 13, 2013, 10:12:58 AM
The poor guy's nuts.

That came to me in the shower; not sure if it was self-examination or even related to self, sanity or state of bank account or even of wallnuts: more likely it was a subliminal mind game played around the definitions of ambiguity. At the very least it invoked a welcome change from singing in my wet echo chamber, the pleasure in which conceit evaporated years and years ago when my wife yelled at me to shut the eff up because it was exciting the dog. Or was that one of the twenty-plus cats or, heaven forfend, all of them at once? I forget; I might even have invented this. But the thought, and the subsequent definitions and intepretation of that short sentence amused me for ages.

Part of the problem associated with ambiguity is when it's roped into definition of Rock 'n' Roll, of which Buddy Holly was but a palid, gringo copy. It misses the point of R'n'R completely: white versions were simply watered down versions of black R'n'B, and would have been more aptly labeled as thin white blues. I love Jerry Lee Lewis, but he's not rock 'n' roll at all: mixture of white church, boogie woogie and hugely country, itself a mix of many of the same ingredients.

http://youtu.be/H_lqJk5JzeA

But Rock 'n' Roll pretty much ended with the start of Motown. Soul was something designed absolutely for the interiors of fashion photography studios and model agency parties. Then along came Bubblegum: witness The Archies and Sugar Sugar, at which point, all you had to do was hold your glass and watch those delightful young ladies move... you didn't even have to help them!.

http://youtu.be/JywK_5bT8z0

Thank goodness for ambiguous pedants! Such delightful reminiscences of mammaries past and hips long swayed into memory.

Life is good!

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 10:17:03 AM

I so hope, pray, and wish,
with all my heart,
that facts are not the truth
behind great works of Art.


Even so, I'll try at a succinct definition under the guise of less-is-more:

Street-photography depicts a recognisable situation within human society, and gives that situation a distinctly different graphical or narrative meaning.

-------------------------------
1. "A recognisable  situation within human society" means a more or less common occurrence in a synthetic context. A street is the prime example of such a context. The word "street" also represents the notion of an everyday situation that one could encounter going outside "on the street".

2. "A distinctly different meaning" means it allows for an alternative interpretation as graphic elements or in narrative, which is at least as clear as the normal interpretation (by a moderately intelligent observer).

2a. If the alternative interpretation co-exists with the normal interpretation, or there are several alternative but coherent interpretations possible, then it can be understood as "ambiguous".

2b. If there is no clear alternative interpretation, or it is incoherent, then it fails the specific "street" category and probably fits the "documentary" category. (It may still be a pleasing image).
-------------------------------

Note that I am in no way, shape, or form equipped with an artistic background that allows me to make these type of definitions. I am simply trying to help define what I have read here, and combining that with what little knowledge I have to at least attempt to form a "constructive" definition.

Using too many words to explain which rules do not apply, still doesn't help to create a uniform agreement on what can at least be considered part of the game. So here is a futile request to some of the avid contributors without naming people explicitly: if you have strong ideas about what "street-photography" might be, please help in a definition attempt. Merely dismissing attempts by other people is not going to advance our joint effort here.


Maybe it would be best to start here: Why do you feel you need a definition and set of rules for this kind of art? How often will you change the definition? Should artists with new ideas put them aside if they don't fit the definition?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 13, 2013, 10:22:35 AM
The poor guy's nuts.

Why would a poor man's nuts be any different from a rich man's?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 13, 2013, 10:24:22 AM
Why would a poor man's nuts be any different from a rich man's?



A poor man may not be able to afford the more exotic ones.

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 10:35:06 AM
In the spirit of howlers, let me just pick a few lines more or less at random:

Simply asserting that photographs are both [sic] self-explanatory, self truthful, and self-contained doesn't make it true, and this is a point of view with which virtually everyone who's thought about art at all disagrees with. No art is self-explanatory, it exists (at least) in a social context which is required to make it meaningful. "Self truthful" doesn't seem to mean anything at all. I can be self-truthful because I contain systems, like ethical ideas, ideals, and so on, and I can choose to act in ways that conflict with (not self-truthful) or are aligned with (self-truthful) those systems. In order to be self-truthful, a photo must contain something to be truthful to, as well as something which can be truthful or not be truthful to it. This seems like rather a lot to ask of a picture. Perhaps RG simply means that the various ideas and tropes in the image should be aligned and pointing in the same direction? A lack of self-contradiction? If so, this is simply wrong. Sometimes the point of the image is the internal contradiction. Self-contained is true only in the most literal sense, art without, for instance, a viewer is as best pointless and at worst not art at all.

 
Your problem here and in most posts, is that you don't pay any attention to the content, because you are too busy trying to invent an insult. This is common in forum posters with no discipline. It makes your rebuttal insipid, silly and weak. In the paragraph above you have rebutted nothing of the argument that photographs are self-explanatory, and self truthful. You substituted yourself for the photograph as a rebuttal?

Your comments reveal your insecurity. All your howling about "ambiguity" was shown to be sheer nonsense, and now all you can do is kick and scream.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 10:36:42 AM
The poor guy's nuts.

That came to me in the shower; not sure if it was self-examination or even related to self, sanity or state of bank account or even of wallnuts: more likely it was a subliminal mind game played around the definitions of ambiguity. At the very least it invoked a welcome change from singing in my wet echo chamber, the pleasure in which conceit evaporated years and years ago when my wife yelled at me to shut the eff up because it was exciting the dog. Or was that one of the twenty-plus cats or, heaven forfend, all of them at once? I forget; I might even have invented this. But the thought, and the subsequent definitions and intepretation of that short sentence amused me for ages.

Part of the problem associated with ambiguity is when it's roped into definition of Rock 'n' Roll, of which Buddy Holly was but a palid, gringo copy. It misses the point of R'n'R completely: white versions were simply watered down versions of black R'n'B, and would have been more aptly labeled as thin white blues. I love Jerry Lee Lewis, but he's not rock 'n' roll at all: mixture of white church, boogie woogie and hugely country, itself a mix of many of the same ingredients.

http://youtu.be/H_lqJk5JzeA

But Rock 'n' Roll pretty much ended with the start of Motown. Soul was something designed absolutely for the interiors of fashion photography studios and model agency parties. Then along came Bubblegum: witness The Archies and Sugar Sugar, at which point, all you had to do was hold your glass and watch those delightful young ladies move... you didn't even have to help them!.

http://youtu.be/JywK_5bT8z0

Thank goodness for ambiguous pedants! Such delightful reminiscences of mammaries past and hips long swayed into memory.

Life is good!

Rob C
Thank goodness pornography isn't ambiguous, huh?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: opgr on February 13, 2013, 10:40:45 AM
Maybe it would be best to start here: Why do you feel you need a definition and set of rules for this kind of art?

So we are able to communicate the category amongst peers. As is true with all words and all communication.

How often will you change the definition?

For me personally only as long as is necessary to form an understanding.
For the general case, as long as is necessary to form the most concise definition of category.

Should artists with new ideas put them aside if they don't fit the definition?

Yes, in the sense that the ideas should be put "aside" in a new category if appropriate.

Note that I am not interested in lengthy discussions about the gray areas of the boundaries. I do believe however that a formal definition is always possible, we just might not be able to explicate the definitions properly, which usually is cause for a lot of confusion and other mishaps as this thread pretty much exemplifies.

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 13, 2013, 10:46:00 AM
RG, I don't know whether you can't read, or choose not to read, but the difference is purely academic anyways. Weren't you ignoring me?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 11:02:23 AM
To save space I'll dispense with the rest of the fatuous arguments that followed this. RG's two sentences serve to establish a point of departure:

I suspect everybody on LuLa who's past third grade is familiar with the impressionist genre of painting. But imagine trying to distinguish impressionism from other genres for someone who's not familiar with impressionist painting. What single word, or short phrase could you come up with to explain how impressionism differs from, say  expressionism? Nothing you could say would get the job done unless the listener had studied the genres enough that the two of you could agree on elements that distinguish them.

Of course RG would argue that as the world moves on from Monet and Van Gogh there's no reason we can't let impressionism evolve to include, say, Edward Hopper -- a "new artist." Actually, we can't. It's not that we can't include Hopper in the impressionist basket, it's that if we do, the whole idea that there's a distinct impressionist genre evaporates. From the standpoint of the art does that really matter? Of course not. To say that Ken's beautifully composed picture, "Two," isn't street photography in no way belittles its value as a photograph. It's a very good picture; it's just not a picture that falls into the "street" genre, a genre that was very badly named from the very beginning.

So, let RG go his own way. It sounds as if he's very young. The guy in the "Courthouse" picture he posted under the "Street View Photography" thread may very well be a self-portrait. There's no reason for him not to live in his own world and enjoy it.

Aside from the fact that nothing in your post relates to the discussion - - - good job of typing!

You seem incapable of expressing anything about photography that makes any sense. You were solid on ambiguity until that blew up. Then you tried "can't be self explanatory" which even worse negated the whole point of photography. You claimed advanced knowledge of photographic geometry and couldn't muster two words about what it meant. Now, the diversion is painting - something wholly different than photography.  

"Go read books," is not a sign of your knowledge, RSL. It's a sign of your insecurity. It's what every Internet blowhard on every forum resorts to when they can't formulate an respectable argument. I haven't read a single post of yours that yet that contains anything beyond bluster, with a few weak insults sprinkled in. Compare your posts to mine. How many insults are in my argument?  I am happy though to see how weak your arguments are that all you can do is fill the post with supposed insults. You're a poseur. I haven't seen a shred of proof that you know anything about photography or art, beyond the safe harbor of name dropping. Until I exposed the nonsensical pretense being held up about ambiguity in the common photographs in this thread, you had the whole flock thinking these were profound examples of, "real" street photography for no better reason than they could make up little alternate dialogs about what was going on in the photograph! Then you had the nerve to say, "Oh, I never meant ambiguity!" HA! I wonder how long that charade has been going on?

I did not set out to insult anyone here. I set out to have a discussion about photography that goes beyond the constant and nagging and meaningless name-dropping of all the greats. I set out to critique photographs in a way more meaningful than chimping. When that crossed your preset boundary for what you have declared street photography to be, you embarked on a bluster campaign to hold your status as some guru of street photography here. I presented arguments, you presented more bluster and insults, and that is where it sits now. I can tell you this - the insults from you and your gang of "real" street photographers serve to confirm what I suspected from the start - "no knowledge about photography or art - plenty of name dropping."

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 11:08:52 AM
So we are able to communicate the category amongst peers. As is true with all words and all communication.

For me personally only as long as is necessary to form an understanding.
For the general case, as long as is necessary to form the most concise definition of category.

Yes, in the sense that the ideas should be put "aside" in a new category if appropriate.

Note that I am not interested in lengthy discussions about the gray areas of the boundaries. I do believe however that a formal definition is always possible, we just might not be able to explicate the definitions properly, which usually is cause for a lot of confusion and other mishaps as this thread pretty much exemplifies.


If you enjoy "formal definitions" maybe science is more your field than art?

If one persists though on a formal definition (I don't know of any artists that does), I would suggest to make it as BROAD as possible, not as RESTRICTIVE as possible. You just never know when someone is going to push those boundaries with a (gasp!) new idea!

Everyone here is trying their hardest to make "street photography" = "what Cartier-Bresson did." Yes, I get that, and I have acknowledged it. Who else do you know that is a street photographer? Anyone alive today? Anyone under 50? What do you say about what is going on today?

And keep in mind there is a very big difference between artists and art historians.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 13, 2013, 11:15:25 AM
RG, you should probably accept that your efforts to set yourself up as an intellectual authority based on your ability to write long sentences has failed. We're not going to welcome you as a god. It turns out that LuLa is actually a pretty heavy weight class to be trying these games in.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 13, 2013, 11:16:48 AM
RG I take it you are trying to get the thread closed? A thread that could be very useful to the members if you kept out of it.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 11:20:03 AM
RG I take it you are trying to get the thread closed? A thread that could be very useful to the members if you kept out of it.
Stamper,
In other words, this troop can hurl insults at me, but I am not permitted to reply? Is that about what you are saying?

I wrote some detailed posts last night. They contained no insults to any person here. This morning, I have been set upon by the howlers who didn't have any rebuttal, but decided to pour on some more insipid insults. Perhaps you should have directed your comment to them earlier?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on February 13, 2013, 11:20:32 AM
... Tell me you haven't heard a parent of a 16 year old saying, "That crap is not music!" ...
 

It actually is? ???

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 11:24:02 AM
RG, you should probably accept that your efforts to set yourself up as an intellectual authority based on your ability to write long sentences has failed. We're not going to welcome you as a god. It turns out that LuLa is actually a pretty heavy weight class to be trying these games in.


The claims of your heavy weight status would be best illustrated by the photographic works, or your ability to express something knowledgeable about photography - not more claims. By the way, do you ever post photographs? I'd enjoy seeing what such a self-proclaimed heavy weight can do.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: opgr on February 13, 2013, 11:24:57 AM
You just never know when someone is going to push those boundaries with a (gasp!) new idea!

The million dollar question obviously being: how does one know when an idea is truly innovative?

(And for those who have been here long enough to remember that discussion: wouldn't this qualify as "begs the question"?)

And keep in mind there is a very big difference between artists and art historians.

Of course. I fully agree that the artist probably couldn't care less about categories. But the more influential artists usually have a profound understanding of their chosen method of expression.

As an example of what I believe to be a very clear example of contemporary street:
http://www.siegfried-hansen.de (http://www.siegfried-hansen.de)




Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 13, 2013, 11:27:20 AM
The claims of your heavy weight status would be best illustrated by the photographic works, or your ability to express something knowledgeable about photography - not more claims. By the way, do you ever post photographs? I'd enjoy seeing what such a self-proclaimed heavy weight can do.

I never claimed to be a heavy weight. Given that the post to which you are replying had a grand total of 53 words, I stand by my assertion that you either cannot, or will not, read.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 11:42:48 AM
The million dollar question obviously being: how does one know when an idea is truly innovative?

(And for those who have been here long enough to remember that discussion: wouldn't this qualify as "begs the question"?)

Of course. I fully agree that the artist probably couldn't care less about categories. But the more influential artists usually have a profound understanding of their chosen method of expression.

As an example of what I believe to be a very clear example of contemporary street:
http://www.siegfried-hansen.de (http://www.siegfried-hansen.de)


The million dollar question you pose is not a question pondered by any artist I've ever associated with. It's not the common cause of art. The premise that an artist is hunting for an "innovative idea," probably comes from the world of commercial photographers or Hollywood film producers, where novelty might be associated with money. I believe what you are trying to argue is that a hard definition provides a place for the artist to jump off and go innovate. Once more, that's a motive more associated with science than art.

As to your second claim that "influential artists usually have a profound understanding of their chosen method of expression," I can attest that that statement is vague enough to be true when you need it to be. Some do, some don't. Often the profound understanding was "intuition," and then later on called understanding. I can also point to artists that take no note as to "understanding" their method and simply "do it."

And how did that relate to a need for hard definitions?

 
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Chris Calohan on February 13, 2013, 11:52:24 AM
The million dollar question obviously being: how does one know when an idea is truly innovative?

(And for those who have been here long enough to remember that discussion: wouldn't this qualify as "begs the question"?)

Of course. I fully agree that the artist probably couldn't care less about categories. But the more influential artists usually have a profound understanding of their chosen method of expression.

As an example of what I believe to be a very clear example of contemporary street:
http://www.siegfried-hansen.de (http://www.siegfried-hansen.de)

Great work by Siegfried hansen...gives me pause to reflect more on what good Street looks like.

A poster behind my two guys declaring "indifference," and mine goes from close to the Brass Ring.





Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 13, 2013, 12:03:46 PM
 I really wonder if RG isn't Dale Thorn redux. If he uses the term "kool aid" I'll be sure.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 12:14:45 PM
I never claimed to be a heavy weight. Given that the post to which you are replying had a grand total of 53 words, I stand by my assertion that you either cannot, or will not, read.

Maybe it's best you don't try to speak for others then when you can't hold up your end of the log?

But here's what I think about your posts. You want to argue for the sake of argument. I haven't seen as much as one word from you about art or photography that makes any sense at all. But you are wild about arguing, and tossing juvenile insults around. "You can't read!" - - is the sign of someone who is having their first forum experience. I guess it means, "I meant to say something else." When you start out declaring you're a bunch of heavy weights, you really do need to have something behind that besides, "Oh gosh! -  I didn't mean me!"

WOWIE - you're making an assertion! Lordy! Let's all pay attention to your valuable assertion! (And you're going to stand by it too?)  C'mon, drop all that pretentious and sophomoric nonsense and put something of substance into your post. Address the issue here and stop stamping your feet up and down.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Chris Calohan on February 13, 2013, 12:15:43 PM
I don't know Dale Thorn from Adam but do have another question.

For an image to be "street" by whomever's definition, does there have to be a visible connection between the subject and either the camera or esoterically as Siegfried-Hansen uses, something contrary to the image which makes the image cohesive?

I'll use this as an example. Ambiguity aside, and don't believe this is an abiguous shot at least given the 67,000 or so definitions given here in the last few pages, as the man is projecting an action by his look, stance and general facial interaction which to me suggests he's scoping out a potential shot - but, he's not put the camera to eye yet, so could it be construed as somewhat ambiguous as to what he will do next.

or, is it just a snapshot?

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8093/8471501000_2f6aa950f4_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 12:20:37 PM
I really wonder if RG isn't Dale Thorn redux. If he uses the term "kool aid" I'll be sure.
Didn't you try that dodge yesterday too? I've got the feeling you are going to try it each day. Let me save you some time: Nope.

Are you then the "heavy weight" here referred to by the guy who doesn't post photographs? Is that your "heavy weight" answer to all these questions about street photography? 

If you aren't, would someone please tell me who the "heavy weight" is.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 13, 2013, 12:24:41 PM
Ambiguity as to what's about to happen is one thing, but I think street's about ambiguity in the "now" in-frame more than about the few moments succeeding it. And it's more about ambiguity in what's going on inside people's heads than what's going on outside.

Without the camera, this one might be great street, the expression on the guy's face could be anything. With it, the scene collapses into something that strikes me as quite clear, even though I don't know if he's just taken a shot, or is just about to -- I have the sensation that I know what's in the guy's head pretty well.

I don't understand what you mean by "a visible connection between the subject and either the camera of esoterically [ etc ... ] " but it sounds interesting!
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 13, 2013, 12:26:11 PM
I don't know Dale Thorn from Adam but do have another question.

For an image to be "street" by whomever's definition, does there have to be a visible connection between the subject and either the camera or esoterically as Siegfried-Hansen uses, something contrary to the image which makes the image cohesive?

I'll use this as an example. Ambiguity aside, and don't believe this is an abiguous shot at least given the 67,000 or so definitions given here in the last few pages, as the man is projecting an action by his look, stance and general facial interaction which to me suggests he's scoping out a potential shot - but, he's not put the camera to eye yet, so could it be construed as somewhat ambiguous as to what he will do next.

or, is it just a snapshot?



At the small magnification, it looks more like my Rolex Submariner before some of the links lost their 'spring'...

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 12:29:44 PM
I don't know Dale Thorn from Adam but do have another question.

For an image to be "street" by whomever's definition, does there have to be a visible connection between the subject and either the camera or esoterically as Siegfried-Hansen uses, something contrary to the image which makes the image cohesive?

I'll use this as an example. Ambiguity aside, and don't believe this is an abiguous shot at least given the 67,000 or so definitions given here in the last few pages, as the man is projecting an action by his look, stance and general facial interaction which to me suggests he's scoping out a potential shot - but, he's not put the camera to eye yet, so could it be construed as somewhat ambiguous as to what he will do next.

or, is it just a snapshot?

(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8093/8471501000_2f6aa950f4_o.jpg)
Chris,
May I ask, what is it YOU wanted to express with this photograph that you took?

Related  Discussion
When you push the shutter release, are thinking about the definition of street photography? Are you wondering what other guys might do? Are you visualizing photographs from some other photographer? Is any of those holds, why? Do you know the cause of your art, or are you simply snapping away trying to make photos that please some external standard?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 13, 2013, 12:33:45 PM
Thank goodness pornography isn't ambiguous, huh?



That's a tough one: I don't know enough about the subject to help you. Perhaps it is, perhaps it's not.

Rob C

P.S. What's your day job? Or is this it?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Chris Calohan on February 13, 2013, 12:38:08 PM
I retired this year...so, I guess this is my day job...though I do quite a bit of team sport group and individual shooting..buys my lenses and keeps me out of trouble. I take it you're still working... :D
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: nemo295 on February 13, 2013, 12:44:35 PM
For an image to be "street" by whomever's definition, does there have to be a visible connection between the subject and either the camera or esoterically as Siegfried-Hansen uses, something contrary to the image which makes the image cohesive?

or, is it just a snapshot?


Completely academic, imo. I would start by asking if you like your photograph. If so, then it becomes a matter of what, if anything, you want to do with it. Do you want to do nothing with it or do you want to submit it for publication or as a photo contest entry or to sell as prints? When you start to involve the aesthetic opinions of others then the question is what do others think of it. Art is all about taste. Some people like Rembrandt, some people like Matisse and some like paintings of dogs playing poker. Everyone has different tastes. Who is your audience and what will they think of it? So, really the important question isn't whether it's "street" or not, but whether it works in the way you want it to work.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 12:47:04 PM
Kudos to Doug Frost. I'm beginning to think he's the "heavy weight" here.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 13, 2013, 12:48:43 PM
I retired this year...so, I guess this is my day job...though I do quite a bit of team sport group and individual shooting..buys my lenses and keeps me out of trouble. I take it you're still working... :D


Chris, I wasn't asking you; regarding myself, though, I wish that I was working, but age and evolution have conspired to grind me into the second-below-current level of archaeological dust. You may find me discovered by David Attenborough one day. If so, raise a glass in fond memory!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 13, 2013, 12:51:58 PM
Gosh! I think I just heard a snapping straw.

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Chris Calohan on February 13, 2013, 01:04:48 PM
Completely academic, imo. I would start by asking if you like your photograph. If so, then it becomes a matter of what, if anything, you want to do with it. Do you want to do nothing with it or do you want to submit it for publication or as a photo contest entry or to sell as prints? When you start to involve the aesthetic opinions of others then the question is what do others think of it. Art is all about taste. Some people like Rembrandt, some people like Matisse and some like paintings of dogs playing poker. Everyone has different tastes. Who is your audience and what will they think of it? So, really the important question isn't whether it's "street" or not, but whether it works in the way you want it to work.

I appreciate your comments, Doug. Really, all I wanted was an answer to my question. If I didn't like the image, I wouldn't have PP'ed it, so that's pretty much a moot point. It works the way I want it to but the question I proferred still stands. This isn't about a critique for my image, it is about a question regarding the "rules," or whatever the hell they are which divides "street" from almost or is there such a thing. Redwoodguy will tell you there is as will Amolitor and the rest also have similar but differing opinions. I don't know, hence my question.  :)
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 13, 2013, 01:13:17 PM
Completely academic, imo. I would start by asking if you like your photograph. If so, then it becomes a matter of what, if anything, you want to do with it. Do you want to do nothing with it or do you want to submit it for publication or as a photo contest entry or to sell as prints? When you start to involve the aesthetic opinions of others then the question is what do others think of it. Art is all about taste. Some people like Rembrandt, some people like Matisse and some like paintings of dogs playing poker. Everyone has different tastes. Who is your audience and what will they think of it? So, really the important question isn't whether it's "street" or not, but whether it works in the way you want it to work.

Exactly! Right on, Doug. Are we talking about how successful a photograph is or whether or not it's street photography? They're too completely different things.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 01:17:18 PM


(http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8093/8471501000_2f6aa950f4_o.jpg)

I've looked at the image several times to find interest that would hold me for more than a brief moment to understand the content. I don't think it is there. I didn't develop any intellectual interest in the subject, and it didn't cause me to feel anything noticeable, and visually, it seems flat and mundane. That all sounds worse than it is. There could be something of interest here, and there's no reason why the photographer could not have taken a more interesting photo at that time and place, but the choices made didn't yield a great result. The subject was placed in the middle of the frame in a very static pose. This removes any tension of dynamics from the image. The lighting was blah, and thus no opportunity for developing even the slightest mystery around any of the scene. The direction of the camera to subject is ordinary in the sense of one guy holding a camera shooting at another guy holding a camera. Nothing in the area surrounding the subject is of much interest.

I get that flat-footed feeling. I suspect, if the photographer moved around and looked for more interesting angles, lighting, surroundings, or just better framing, this "event" which was captured could be very interesting. People aren't all that different from one another in everyday circumstances. Meaning, this guy could be interesting just like some guys in more powerful photographs are interesting. It's isn't that he was the wrong guy, it is that he wasn't put in an interesting enough photographic context. Edges of the photograph define what is in and what is NOT in. When you look through the viewfinder, you have to be aware of those edges defining the selected content, not just the main subject in the middle. I don't like to play "what was in the photographer's mind" - but for this example, it is useful to wonder, what about that stuff inside the edges seemed interesting enough to include? (Again, no insult intended. I am just illustrating the point.) I see little of that stuff being useful at all. I think the odd badge on his shirt is probably far more interesting than all that stuff around the edge.


Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: nemo295 on February 13, 2013, 01:23:37 PM
Exactly! Right on, Doug. Are we talking about how successful a photograph is or whether or not it's street photography? They're too completely different things.

It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when we can agree on something, Russ.   :D :D :D
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: nemo295 on February 13, 2013, 01:42:27 PM
Kudos to Doug Frost. I'm beginning to think he's the "heavy weight" here.

Thank you. My bathroom scale would heartily agree.   ;)
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on February 13, 2013, 01:53:26 PM
The poor guy's nuts....

Pardon my limited understanding of English, but are you referring to guy's balls or are you saying that the guy (the guy) is crazy? ;)
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Chris Calohan on February 13, 2013, 01:54:13 PM
Sheese! I did mistype esoteric instead of aesthetically..but that's no matter. This as the question:


For an image to be "street" by whomever's definition, does there have to be a visible connection between the subject and either the camera or aesthetically as Siegfried-Hansen uses, something contrary to the image which makes the image cohesive?

I was just trying to wade through all the bullshit to get a clearer understanding of what makes a shot street, and what makes it almost. Amolitor got the closest. I used the example because there was a definite connection between the photographer and an unseen object. There was no action taking place, no indication of an action because if there was, then it is not a static shot, nothing really happening other than a look in a particular direction. There are all manner of ways his staredown could be interpreted, therefore enough ambiguity exists to take the shot.

I don't understand why having a camera in hand changes any outcome. Do the two poodles in the Mexican doorway indicate some kind of response. Are they going to bark. Their only connection is to the photographer, but they could also be looking at another cute poodle down the way. The question remains: does there have to be a connection between the photographer and the subject or can that connection be as ambiguous as staring down a potential shot?

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 01:57:31 PM
Exactly! Right on, Doug. Are we talking about how successful a photograph is or whether or not it's street photography? They're too completely different things.
What a refreshing advance then. It's no longer about rules, definitions and books to read, but about photographs taken.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on February 13, 2013, 01:58:51 PM
... By the way, do you ever post photographs? I'd enjoy seeing what such a self-proclaimed heavy weight can do.

Yes, I too wish they* do... and often wish they didn't.

* All self-proclaimed heavy weights
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 02:09:27 PM



For an image to be "street" by whomever's definition, does there have to be a visible connection between the subject and either the camera or aesthetically as Siegfried-Hansen uses, something contrary to the image which makes the image cohesive?



The answer to your question is, yes if you want there to be, and no if you don't. Just an artist's choice.
 
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on February 13, 2013, 02:09:33 PM
... Is Slobodan's "Chicks" self-explanatory? You bet. It's a girl and her mother looking at some chicks. Cute picture, but there's nothing else there...

Russ, Russ, I thought you'd knew me better by now. You do not really think I would seriously post in a street thread, the subject and genre I often admitted I do not understand sufficiently and do not particularly enjoy (at least not the type that gets posted here)?

It was just a playful response to Ken's question. You are taking me too seriously, just like RG did when I joked about Emperor's clothes (the joke Walter got perfectly well).

On the other hand, I am surprised that you, of all people, did not catch the built-in title ambiguity. What chicks was I talking about? How many are there? ;)  :P
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 13, 2013, 02:09:37 PM
Pardon my limited understanding of English, but are you referring to guy's balls or are you saying that the guy (the guy) is crazy? ;)

Can't say what Rob meant!

I was just amused by Rob, in the shower, thinking about a "poor guy's nuts". The connection to testicles seemed clear!
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 13, 2013, 02:18:08 PM
Chris,

This is all personal opinion here, just my take on it. I think a connection to the camera is almost counter to street, usually the camera is an uninvolved observer. I'm not even sure connection is necessary, although that's a rich source of the kind of thing I see in street. In much of HCB's work there actually isn't much or any inter-action (I spoke too quickly earlier) but there may be action. The action in "Behind La Gare St. Lazare" is what's inscrutable. The inter-action between crossing glances is what's inscrutable in much of Winogrand. The camera isn't a player, in either case, really.

For me, it's not about connections, though they may exist.

Our minds have a lot of machinery for modeling what's going on in the minds of people we're talking to, or observing. We imagine, constantly, what they're thinking, what they're looking at, what they're going to do next, who they are, and so on. For me a defining characteristic of street is that it makes my mental machinery for that stuff go "GRRRRRIND CRUNCH" for pretty much whatever reason.

Note that my machine does NOT do this when it's just some crazy guy acting incomprehensibly, or a kid mugging weirdly, my mental machine can accomodate that stuff just fine. It has something to do with getting coherent and sensible input that somehow "DOES NOT COMPUTE".

Connections can certainly be a part of that, perceived connections (sightlines, especially) are a big part of what our mental machinery uses to build and run this model of what other people are thinking, motivated by, feeling, and likely to do next. But it's not the inputs that matter to me, it's the hideous grinding of unmeshing gears that does it.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 13, 2013, 02:58:10 PM
Pardon my limited understanding of English, but are you referring to guy's balls or are you saying that the guy (the guy) is crazy? ;)


There you have it: the kernal of the nut!

Ambiguity, dear Slobodan, ambiguity! That's why I took time off from singing: can't handle too many concepts at once - I'm not female, you know.

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 13, 2013, 03:49:39 PM
What a refreshing advance then. It's no longer about rules, definitions and books to read, but about photographs taken.

Yes, it's always been about photographs, but this thread is supposed to be about street photographs. If you want to post pictures of vehicles there's a thread for those. If you want to post pictures of trees there's a thread for those. If you want to post pictures of clouds there's a thread for those. If you want to post anything else there's either a thread devoted to it or you can start a new one. But to be able to post street photographs you have to have at least a tenuous grasp of what constitutes a street photograph.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Chris Calohan on February 13, 2013, 04:09:05 PM

There you have it: the kernal of the nut!

Ambiguity, dear Slobodan, ambiguity! That's why I took time off from singing: can't handle too many concepts at once - I'm not female, you know.

Rob C

Aye, but if you didn't have any, you could sing like one.  ;D
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 13, 2013, 04:48:52 PM
Aye, but if you didn't have any, you could sing like one.  ;D


That's true, but the chances of not dying from either option run about equal, I think. Of course, nature balances this by making the chances of premature departure about equal, as well, so not all is lost. It's much like spending all your money too soon or too late: you can't usually tell. However, it's fairly normal to assume that the hearse doesn't stop at the bank.

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: tom b on February 13, 2013, 05:02:49 PM
Not too sure if I agree with Russ's narrow view of street.

One from Rome, 1978…

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bmAuXPU2rhI/URwL2jlQW8I/AAAAAAAABNk/wqaTgmbq1kc/s1600/snails.jpg)

Cheers,
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: kencameron on February 13, 2013, 05:37:18 PM
One from Rome, 1978…
What was she selling? Looks a bit like the wings from baby birds. Those Italians will eat anything.
Where is she now? In her prime, as I see it these days.

It may not be "street" on the ambiguity-based definition, but if Cartier-Bresson often does documentary on the streets, why not the rest of us?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 13, 2013, 05:39:46 PM
It's a fun shot, Tom, but the two vertical lines sort of break it up.

And yes, no reason not to do documentation the way HCB did it. Maybe we can start a documentation thread.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: tom b on February 13, 2013, 05:42:34 PM
What was she selling? Looks a bit like the wings from baby birds. Those Italians will eat anything.
Where is she now? In her prime, as I see it these days.

It may not be "street" on the ambiguity-based definition, but if Cartier-Bresson often does documentary on the streets, why not the rest of us?

She is selling snails which are escaping everywhere…

Cheers,
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 13, 2013, 06:11:39 PM
Not too sure if I agree with Russ's narrow view of street.

One from Rome, 1978…

(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bmAuXPU2rhI/URwL2jlQW8I/AAAAAAAABNk/wqaTgmbq1kc/s1600/snails.jpg)

Cheers,

The photograph is expressive and compelling in what the young girl is allowing you to see of her. Not what an adult can express, but not childish either, and that's what makes the photograph command some attention. It is capturing something of the photographer through the subject, and that's not accomplished in many photographs as well as it is in this one. It's an obvious example of an artist behind the lens instead of a photographer checking off his rule book and wondering what the photo is going to be about. The setting and surrounding are captured well and support the subject, although I think about 1/3 of the bottom is not particularly supporting the subject in a strong way. I think the photo would be improved by touching up the over-exposure issue at the top of the photo. It captures the life and energy and human conditions of every day life as seen in the street.  I really enjoy it.

EDIT: I was back looking at many other photographs in this thread when it hit me that what makes this photograph in the thread exceptional is authenticity. It isn't a practiced gimmick, or a stale gag learned from some, "tips on real street photography" blog, nor papered over with gobs of software lip-gloss. It's genuine, revealing, and truthful to the bone, and nothing makes a photograph more compelling than that.  Far and away the heavy weight photograph in this thread.  I hope this photographer has more photographs to share here.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 14, 2013, 10:33:49 AM
You may argue whether Cartier-Bresson's definition of what he thought "street photography" ought to be is something other photographers should care about, but at the end of the day it's just an empty academic exercise.

Hi Doug, I shouldn't have let this one float by back there.

Henri didn't call his photographs anything, and if he'd given them a name it almost certainly wouldn't have been "rue photographie" or anything like that. He identified himself as a surrealist, but that's not the same thing as calling yourself a street photographer. I don't know when the name "street photography" got attached to HCB's early work, plus most of the work of Andre Kertesz, and Robert Doisneau, but it did. And later it got hung onto some of the work of Willy Ronis, Brassaï, Walker Evans, Elliott Erwitt, Marc Riboud, Helen Levitt, and even later, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, and recently Vivian Maier.

But as I've said, it's an unfortunate name because it gives people who aren't familiar with the history the idea that any photograph taken on the street is a street photograph.

Whether or not a photograph falls into a particular generic category has absolutely nothing to do with the value of the photograph, but gathering certain types of art into arbitrarily defined genres is more than "just an empty academic exercise." When you say that a particular painting is impressionistic it helps anyone familiar with art history visualize what you're talking about. And the same thing applies to any art genre. Categories can make communication more efficient in any situation, but unless the people trying to communicate understand the categories the categories can add confusion.

But in the end there's no way to define an art genre with words. In order to say that a particular work falls within a genre requires that you become familiar with the actual work that defines the genre. And, of course, that's something lazy people refuse to do. What the hell, we already know what that means. The name says it all. Street photography is photography shot on the street. Why go look at stuff shot by those old, dead guys?

But take a look at Street Photography Now, edited by Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren. The book's copyrighted in 2010, so it's recent enough to show what current street photographers are shooting. Most of the pictures in that book fall squarely within the genre. So there are people out there who know the difference, and when you set out to do something like publish a book called "Street Photography Now," you'd better know the difference.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 14, 2013, 10:46:08 AM

But take a look at Street Photography Now, edited by Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren. The book's copyrighted in 2010, so it's recent enough to show what current street photographers are shooting. Most of the pictures in that book fall squarely within the genre. So there are people out there who know the difference, and when you set out to do something like publish a book called "Street Photography Now," you'd better know the difference.

How about the photos on say, page 26, 33 or 35? Do they fall "squarely within the genre?"
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: stamper on February 14, 2013, 11:06:05 AM
26 .... no

33 .... yes 

35 .... yes

This is of course my opinion.  :)

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: amolitor on February 14, 2013, 11:08:43 AM
I've posted one of these things, but neither of the other two, I think. They've been sitting on my wall as a triptych (drugstore prints!) and I still like them, and I like them as a set. So, here's the three. There's a bit of street in here, but it's mostly documentary, if that.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 14, 2013, 11:52:52 AM
26 .... no

33 .... yes  

35 .... yes

This is of course my opinion.  :)


What else could it be?

With regard to Dakowicz' photograph on page 35, I enjoyed the description above. Yes, having a few drinks and some fun with the party goers DOES mean better pictures. Whahooo! I can't say that leads one to Cartier-Bresson however without a considerable stretch to the breaking point. The photograph close up, explicit, unambiguous and reveals the involvement of the photographer. (As does the photograph on the facing page.) The photographer in his own words doesn't seem to be embracing the genre as previously defined by others. But as you say, this is just my opinion (And how would I know? I never see'd any of dem books 'n stuff!)
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 14, 2013, 12:31:34 PM
26 .... no

33 .... yes 

35 .... yes

This is of course my opinion.  :)


What did you think of the introduction to the book? How do you think it served the title of the book?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 14, 2013, 12:40:41 PM
How about the photos on say, page 26, 33 or 35? Do they fall "squarely within the genre?"

You seem to have trouble with reading comprehension. I said "most," not "all."
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: nemo295 on February 14, 2013, 12:49:45 PM
But take a look at Street Photography Now, edited by Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren. The book's copyrighted in 2010, so it's recent enough to show what current street photographers are shooting. Most of the pictures in that book fall squarely within the genre. So there are people out there who know the difference, and when you set out to do something like publish a book called "Street Photography Now," you'd better know the difference.


I'm sure it's a good book with some great photographs in it, but I think the term "street photography" has become a cattle prod that pedagogues use to coral photographers into thinking and creating in a way they judge to be appropriate. In my opinion the term and the mindset of those who routinely brandish it are toxic to the creative spirit.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 14, 2013, 01:05:00 PM
She is selling snails which are escaping everywhere…

Cheers,


Yes, but only slowly.

Rob C
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 14, 2013, 01:18:48 PM
You seem to have trouble with reading comprehension. I said "most," not "all."
You seem rather obsessed with hurling these kind of insults. Let me say this - my purpose here involves photography, what's yours?
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: Rob C on February 14, 2013, 01:23:16 PM
It's bloody sad, but these recurring squabbles about nomenclature seem to accompany new brooms... it reminds me of those nature documentary repeats (happily flagged as such: Your latest chance to view again, but in HD!) that come on the tv every week to disguise the lack of funding for new progammes: same old wolf cutting down the same old deer, same old stag locking horns with another old critter, and on and bloody on. Why can't we just see more pictures and leave all the silly mind games at home for bed?

Let's accept that the latest members are always simply the most gifted, talented and wonderful people ever! Then, maybe they can relax, think they've earned their spurs, and, quite possibly, move on to pastures new to start over again, and leave us all in peace to wallow, vegetate and enjoy snaps as we may?

Love to the world!

Rob C

Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RedwoodGuy on February 14, 2013, 01:26:25 PM
I'm sure it's a good book with some great photographs in it, but I think the term "street photography" has become a cattle prod that pedagogues use to coral photographers into thinking and creating in a way they judge to be appropriate. In my opinion the term and the mindset of those who routinely brandish it are toxic to the creative spirit.
As it relates to the book in question, my read of the introduction - which define the spirit of the book - is that it is specifically intended to ditch that 'cattle prod' as you refer to it, in favor of open and joyous celebration of how this art is evolving, and bringing new meaning to the new artists who jump in with camera. If there is any prodding of any kind on the part of the authors, it has to be the prodding to go out on the street with your cameras and show the world what you think.  I guess I need to add, "That's just my opinion," in order to avoid confusion.
Title: Re: Love Real Street
Post by: RSL on February 14, 2013, 01:31:11 PM
Well, I'd hate to be accused of cattle prodding anyone into shooting street or any other kind of photography. So it's time to close down this thread.