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Author Topic: Spontaneity in streetphotography?  (Read 3150 times)

opgr

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2017, 10:33:42 AM »

Yes, Russ, but what would you make of Gregory Crewdson's images, specifically something like untitled, 2006 relative to your musings?
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Oscar

RSL

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2017, 11:23:14 AM »

Hi Oscar. I love Crewdson's stuff. It has absolutely nothing to do with street, but it has a lot to do with poetry.

opgr

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2017, 12:03:28 PM »

Hi Oscar. I love Crewdson's stuff. It has absolutely nothing to do with street, but it has a lot to do with poetry.

Right, but it's odd. That particularly picture clearly isn't streetgenre, but it does depict humans and the interaction with their artifacts. It's absolutely zeitgeistgenau in the sense that it represents an era correctly. It's recognisable USA. And it is art, at least in a poetic sense.

But yet it isn't street, and the itchy part is: why not?

I did see a docu with the making of this image, and it is clear that he primarily acted as a director. He didn't even handle the camera himself. In the docu he did liken his images to scenes from non-existent movies.
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GrahamBy

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2017, 06:07:09 AM »

But yet it isn't street, and the itchy part is: why not?

First, let me say that labels suck. If you can perfectly stage a street photo so that no one ever knows, I really don't care (supposing you aren't using it for political lobbying).

However, I think the difference between Crewdson and "Street" is much as the difference between fictional cinema (which can be true to an era and place) and documentary.
Crewdson is a sort of Twin Peaks vision of rural USA.
Of course it gets complicated when documentaries include opinions of experts who may not be, who present evidence that is falsified. Or when fictional cinema adopts techniques of documentary film-making: Woody Allen's "Husbands and Wives." There are people who think that Spinal tap is a real documentary :)
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opgr

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2017, 07:11:23 AM »

That reminds me of Slobodan's post here.

I have no problem with that being streetgenre, especially if a local recognises the general quirkiness, but they do appear to be composites.

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Oscar

Telecaster

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2017, 04:29:23 PM »

Re. spontaneity, I tend to think in terms of observed as compared with constructed photos. Crewdson trades in the latter. Heís indeed less photographer and more director. IMO he oughta go the Tom Ford route and make a proper film. Maybe a film of short & silent vignettes, the cinema version of a photobook.

I have no problem at all with constructed photos, whether made in camera or post-composited, so long as their creators arenít passing them off as click-and-done observed moments.

-Dave-
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GrahamBy

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2017, 05:51:03 AM »

The problem with many constructed photos, imho, is that they are so badly constructed.

For nudes in particular, very often it looks as though the model isn't aware of the narrative she has been inserted into... or she is tacitly refusing to participate in the photographer's fantasy, or she is a bad actor. The blame for the first two I'd put at the feet of the photographer, and the third parhaps also, if the direction is vague.

Crewdson is clearly a good director, brings good stories and uses good actors...
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Rob C

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #27 on: October 13, 2017, 10:15:58 AM »

"The Kiss" worked for me before I dug it was contrived. It still does.

Is that kiss any lesser a kiss than one that's faked in the back of the car or in a bedroom? Unless you are told, specifically and most cruelly, that your received kisses were ever faked, where's the harm? Love, and almost every other emotional buzz depends on an act of faith: truth can ruin everything and reduce it to the banal, carnal relationship of one animal with another... Without faith and romance there is very little but mechanics and hydrostatics.

Robert Frank's Americans could have been a total fake - I really could not care less: his photographs show a world, real or imagined, that I would otherwise have never seen for myself. I go to the movies (well, I used to go to the movies) expecting not a newsreel but an entertainment or, better yet, an opening of yet another eye onto this world we inhabit. You can never have too many eyes - especially if you are about to be snapped from behind. (Snapped, as in having your picture taken, not one of your straps pulled.)

Unless it's about legality, evidence etc. enjoy a snap for what it is: face value counts most.

It's the same with fashion magazines and pin-ups, too: everybody and his/her maiden aunt - well, perhaps not she - understands that things are seldom what they seem. It's a part of being aware and alive.

Speaking of being alive and aware: if you thought you'd seen everything when comparing the physicality of the young St Obama when he took office, and the elder statesman that eventually retired, today's incumbent of the padded Oval is faring no better. I watched as he signed yet another worthless piece of paper this morning, and would you believe it, he's losing his hair! Soon, he'll be just like yours truly! Except richer, redder and more heavy.

See where envy gets one?

;-)

Rob
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 10:29:16 AM by Rob C »
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RSL

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #28 on: October 13, 2017, 10:55:00 AM »

You've got a point, Rob, as you usually have, but I think the difference is that what Doisneau and Crewdson are doing is either fiction in Doisneau's case or poetry in Crewdson's case. Street, on the other hand, really is a branch of reportage. But you're right: naming something isn't the same thing as being touched by it or enjoying it. Which, by the way, is a significant problem with what we call "education." Education teaches you the names of things, but it can't teach you the poetry of things.

Telecaster

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #29 on: October 13, 2017, 04:45:24 PM »

Rob, I think all photographs are a blend of real and imagined. Thereís no hard line in this context between true and faked, or (as I prefer because the words are both less loaded and IMO more accurate) between observed and constructed. I prefer to know when posing is involved, and especially when compositing is involved, while accepting that knowing isnít always possible. Knowing doesnít spoil photos for me any more than knowing a film is a work of fiction prevents me from getting caught up in it. The Kiss is an engaging, evocative photo even when you know how it was made. Temporary suspension of disbelief is IMO an essential part of engaging with creative works. With emphasis on temporary.

-Dave-
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RSL

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #30 on: October 13, 2017, 07:50:37 PM »

+1

streetphotographer

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #31 on: October 15, 2017, 08:37:09 PM »

I think that a good street photograph has the ability to prompt you into looking at reality in an unexpected way. It allows us to see the world with a different set of eyes, and to perceive the beauty in things that we normally take for granted. Spontaneity may not be that important.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 11:30:39 AM by streetphotographer »
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Eolo Perfido
Street Photography

RSL

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2017, 12:57:27 PM »

Hi Eolo, you might want to check https://luminous-landscape.com/on-street-photography/. Love to see some of your work.

streetphotographer

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #33 on: October 16, 2017, 07:44:56 PM »

Hi Eolo, you might want to check https://luminous-landscape.com/on-street-photography/. Love to see some of your work.

Very nice article. Enjoyed and bookmarked. Will put it in my Street Photography references i give to my students during my Leica Akademie Workshops ;)

In 2011 I assisted Mr.Elliott Erwitt while he was shooting the June month of the 2012 Lavazza Calendar :) I remember that while he was working on it, he was still shooting street photography every day !

Thanks for sharing.

Eolo
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Eolo Perfido
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KLaban

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #34 on: October 17, 2017, 06:32:08 AM »

« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 06:38:19 AM by KLaban »
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Telecaster

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #35 on: October 17, 2017, 04:11:13 PM »

A selection of images made on and of the streets of Essaouira, Morocco.

Street Photography? Who decides?

Lovely photos, great use of color. IMO Mediterranean street is as street as any other kind of street.  :)

-Dave-
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KLaban

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #36 on: October 17, 2017, 04:31:47 PM »

Lovely photos, great use of color. IMO Mediterranean street is as street as any other kind of street.  :)

-Dave-

Thanks Dave.

But at times I have to wonder, is colour street as street as monochrome street?  :)
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Telecaster

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #37 on: October 17, 2017, 04:41:30 PM »

Thanks Dave.

But at times I have to wonder, is colour street as street as monochrome street?  :)

;D  Not touching that one.

The attached is just a snap, not taken by me but by my then girlfriend Juli (using my camera), but it is a Mediterranean color street snap. Kodachrome, 64 by the look of it, late summer 1983.

-Dave-
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KLaban

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #38 on: October 17, 2017, 05:43:12 PM »

;D  Not touching that one.

The attached is just a snap, not taken by me but by my then girlfriend Juli (using my camera), but it is a Mediterranean color street snap. Kodachrome, 64 by the look of it, late summer 1983.

-Dave-


Certainly has the look of Kodachrome and North Africa. Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt?
« Last Edit: October 18, 2017, 03:39:42 AM by KLaban »
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Rob C

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Re: Spontaneity in streetphotography?
« Reply #39 on: October 18, 2017, 05:29:09 AM »

Thanks Dave.

But at times I have to wonder, is colour street as street as monochrome street?  :)

That one is instantly brought into play by looking at Slobodan's linked Russian photographer.

It used to be said that colour made war photography step from chaos and pain into art and beauty. (Well, something to that effect.) I tend to agree with the sentiment, and would add the thought that perhaps only black/white, with its unavoidable, automatic/mechanical move from "reality" into fantasy can really work as street, because if you retain the colours, somehow, you, as viewer, can't quite throw the suspicion that the photograph is, really, just a snap of what is in front of the camera - whatever is happening there. If you show in black/white, it subliminally suggests a sense of intent behind the photographers's finger, that he saw something rare which it is now up to you to try to decipher as well, even if the picture really contains nothing beyond the obvious.

This is a phenomenon that I believe has only come to be since digital, for the simple reason that every shot now offers the possibilty of colour or not. Thus, the snapper is faced with choices he didn't have to face before, which meant that as he almost invariably used b/w film for news, the added layer of artistic intent wasn't strongly there. One could argue whether HC-B's name would have meant much today had he worked in colour all his life.

On the other hand, Leiter's name was made (apart from his fashion work reputation) by using colour to show not so much people, as city scenery and the signs/traces of people: traffic, barber's poles, windows, mirrors, lights and so on. Yes, he also did a lot of black/white work, but to me, that seems to be more a form of snapping away at his friends and immediate circle, even though a lot of the pictures would appear to show strangers within geometric shapes of city structures.

Perhaps one could make a case for claiming that HC-B, Klein represent a sort of street reality, whereas Leiter and Hass are exponents of street as photographic painting. Some of the other "names" associated with the street genre strike me as mere wannabe artists who, yes, carved great reputations, but gave precious little for it in return. I'm not sure where I'd put Robert Frank: he has this immense reputation for street and reportage, but in reality, he seems to have made that seminal book and then switched completely sideways into other projects with little to do with the same genre. I think he really had a greater interest in film, much as did Warhol - but with all that mind-bending stuff floating around, who could ever be certain, and probably least of all, those denizens of the Factory circle.

If there's a growing problem with Internet access, I think it is that it creates so much visibility of pictures that one is driven into being selective or going crazy: the choice is ours to make. With that choice comes the inevitability and hoped-for safety of the personal pigeonhole.

Rob
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