Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => Street Showcase => Topic started by: KLaban on May 13, 2018, 10:49:57 am

Title: Street?
Post by: KLaban on May 13, 2018, 10:49:57 am
The subject title says it all. Street or not?

The first image was made on and of the street, IMO tells a story, has a degree of ambiguity although no obvious metaphor. The subjects were unaware of the photograph being taken.

(http://www.keithlaban.co.uk/Hangdog2.jpg)

The second image was made on and of the street, has no obvious story, no ambiguity and no metaphor. The subject was captured on her doorstep as found and was aware of the photograph being taken and gave her permission.

(http://www.keithlaban.co.uk/Bundi_1.jpg)

The third image was made in a building off the street, IMO tells a story, has a degree of ambiguity although no obvious metaphor. The subject was unaware of the photograph being taken.

(http://www.keithlaban.co.uk/Daydream.jpg)

The fourth image was made on and of the street, IMO tells a story, has a degree of ambiguity although no obvious metaphor. The subject was unaware of the photograph being taken. I removed a sweet wrapper from the ground.

(http://www.keithlaban.co.uk/The_Errand.jpg)

I'm not looking for comment on the images but would be interested to hear opinion on their suitability for inclusion in this new sub-forum.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: RSL on May 13, 2018, 11:27:03 am
Hi Keith,

I'd certainly buy #1 and #4 as legitimate street. How good they are as street is a different question and I guess it's something each viewer's going to have to decide for himself. I'd call #2 informal portraiture. I don't know what to call #3, but it's very nice.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: Two23 on May 13, 2018, 11:31:43 am
Hi Keith,

I'd certainly buy #1 and #4 as legitimate street. How good they are as street is a different question and I guess it's something each viewer's going to have to decide for himself. I'd call #2 informal portraiture. I don't know what to call #3, but it's very nice.


That's my own sentiment.


Kent in SD
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: Rob C on May 13, 2018, 11:54:26 am
Hi Keith,

The first one would, for me, qualify as street, but only just: the problem, again for me, is colour: colour turns it into travel photography which is another thing.

In a vague sort of way, it comes under the same umbrella as David's recent Spanish (?) alley shot, which would also classify as travel photography. My difficulty is simple: having been with Tony Stone's agency for some years, I wasted a lot of my otherwise delightful French trips making snaps that fitted within the travel envelope; I did exactly the same thing here in Mallorca, wasting many rolls of Kodachrome, until one day I got a call from the agency asking me to stop: London, apparently, was drowning under Med atmospherics.

Understandably, my interest in the genre, once money was removed, sank without trace.

As bad, the statement from TIB in the BJP that they had 36,000 images of the Eiffel Tower... why make no. 36,001?

As genre, it all appeared/appears redundant. This does not, of course, remove the personal souvenir aspect which is valuable in a different manner.

The girl by the window inside the room, on the other hand, is pure photographic art that would be even better as an oil. IMO!
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on May 13, 2018, 12:28:15 pm
I'm with Russ and Kent on these.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: 32BT on May 13, 2018, 12:29:29 pm
For me:
#1 definitely, i see both metaphore and ambiguity.
#2 street portrait, acceptable especially because it likely is a real scene from a place where life happens on the front porch.
#3 fine art, but not street category.
#4 not street, but documentary. I don't think this represents a story or triggers one to think up a story.

I do feel #1 should remain in color, even if it then disguises itself as travelphotography. It is exactly the layering of meaning that makes or breaks good photography. (For me personally, imo, ymmv, yadayada)
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: KLaban on May 13, 2018, 03:37:22 pm
Folks, thanks for the feedback.

I'm not surprised image 3 didn't make the cut as it literally has nothing to do with a street or the street. ;D

All the others got a least one vote for inclusion. I'm very surprised that the B&W/Colour issue was raised at all.

Rob mentioned the possibility of the alternative category/genre Candid which like Glamour puts me in mind of the 50s. Personally I've no great love of works being pigeonholed in this Fashion, but hey, there's another. Twenty years ago and with much amusement I used to post my "Found Paintings" series to the Landscape categories. Great fun.

;-)   
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: KLaban on May 13, 2018, 03:48:27 pm
Rob, perhaps there's a need for a Without Prejudice thread within the Street Showcase?
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: RSL on May 13, 2018, 03:57:16 pm
One thing to remember about street photography is that before anything else it's an exercise in graphics. Look at the graphic structure in HCB's "The Locks at Bougival" to see what I mean. That's just one example among hundreds. It's always worthwhile to make a B&W conversion of a street shot to see if the graphics hold up without the color. Keith's first shot passes the test with flying colors.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: Rob C on May 13, 2018, 04:57:50 pm
Rob, perhaps there's a need for a Without Prejudice thread within the Street Showcase?

Have thought about that, but as I'm not likely to post many - if any - pics in the street vein, maybe somebody else might feel happier to create a silent zone where tranquility might reign? I enjoy street, but don't really feel I can find either subjects or nerve to do anything about it. I'm content enough with my windows, I think, which whilst facing a street, sometimes reflecting one, are not primarily about it.

Were I to live in a metropolis, I could possibly find myself more committed to trying it out...

On the categories thing: I think it's quite helpful in its way; can save a lot of bother looking at things of no personal interest.

That said, there is a problem when categories get hijacked. You mention glamour: was a time when glamour meant Rita Hayworth, Betty Grable et al. but today it represents the tawdry side of girl photography and, pretty much, soft porn. I never felt that way about my own calendars, but realised people who had never seen any of my work, on hearing that I shot calendars, would smile broadly and give a conspiratorial thumbs-up, as if they thought I was this lucky sod bedding all the best, most immoral girls in the world. For my part, I saw it as pix of pretty girls, period. I don't believe that Page 3 was new glamour either, at least not the work that the late Beverley Goodway produced; he was rather kind to the girls and certainly didn't exploit them at all in the shots; those I knew who'd worked with him all thought him kinda sweet... I wonder what they thought of me.

You're right: candid and glamour are old species of animal, and that's why I thought candid was more embracing as it didn't subdivide too deeply, unlike what has become known today as street.

Colour a problem or not? Maybe because only Helen Levitt, apart from Leiter, are thought to have used colour widely for their work on the streets, so in a way, the genre side-stepped colour. Anyhow, as with war, colour glamorises and removes edge. Later people that climbed aboard the street gallery train, such as perhaps Joel Meyerowitz, use colour, but I don't see it has added anything to the work. Ernst Haas also used colour most of the time, but after buying his book Color Correction, I came to the conclusion that he didn't really do street at all: he made colour pictures on the streets. Unlike Leiter, however, I find his street shots rather clinical; possibly because everything looks just too damned sharp and controlled. But his books were something quite else.

That said, his black/white work on The Misfits locations is beautiful; the star pics, of Marilyn in particular, are mostly candid in approach, and for that, so much more satisfying than the sterile, plastic star shoots of this era we enjoy now. The irony is, her flaws and less-than-perfect poses are what endear her to us: she is human, not a friggin' plastic robot out of the cupboard of sterile plastic robots. Ditto Jean Shrimpton in her day. As ironically as with Marilyn and Haas but for different reasons, it turns out that Leiter made what I think to be the finest shot of her ever, and so it wasn't Bailey got that prize! Wish it had been I!
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: Rob C on May 13, 2018, 05:03:51 pm
One thing to remember about street photography is that before anything else it's an exercise in graphics. Look at the graphic structure in HCB's "The Locks at Bougival" to see what I mean. That's just one example among hundreds. It's always worthwhile to make a B&W conversion of a street shot to see if the graphics hold up without the color. Keith's first shot passes the test with flying colors.

Indeed, and is far more easy on the retina!

It's a shot I would love to have made, and worked up to something quite else.

Rob
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: KLaban on May 13, 2018, 05:29:18 pm
One thing to remember about street photography is that before anything else it's an exercise in graphics. Look at the graphic structure in HCB's "The Locks at Bougival" to see what I mean. That's just one example among hundreds. It's always worthwhile to make a B&W conversion of a street shot to see if the graphics hold up without the color. Keith's first shot passes the test with flying colors.

As a painter I wouldn't have considered capturing the scene in B&W.

Passing that test or not it's simply not what interests me or held my attention in Morocco.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: KLaban on May 13, 2018, 05:34:19 pm
Indeed, and is far more easy on the retina!

It's a shot I would love to have made, and worked up to something quite else.

Rob

But would you have, could you have, made it?
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: RSL on May 14, 2018, 07:16:40 am
As a painter I wouldn't have considered capturing the scene in B&W.

Passing that test or not it's simply not what interests me or held my attention in Morocco.

Hi Keith, Actually I prefer the B&W version. It give us whatever story is there. The color version is too pretty, and the advancing colors press outward too intensely. If you'd painted it I doubt you'd have painted it with these colors. The story is what's important in a street shot.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: KLaban on May 14, 2018, 08:08:07 am
Hi Keith, Actually I prefer the B&W version. It give us whatever story is there. The color version is too pretty, and the advancing colors press outward too intensely. If you'd painted it I doubt you'd have painted it with these colors. The story is what's important in a street shot.

Russ, I see the colour as being far removed from pretty, but rather gives the sense of unease that went with an area that is rife with drug use and prostitution. For me, the photographer, the colour was part of the story.

It's perhaps understandable that you'd prefer the image to be inline with your own feelings about the scene and the genre rather than accepting the photographer's interpretation of where he was and what he shot, but this is the problem with second guessing and why I started the Without Prejudice: Street thread.

I see your B&W version - however arty - as artifice by proxy.

;-)
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: RSL on May 14, 2018, 08:17:34 am
Hey, easy does it.

What, exactly, in that picture tells us about the sense of unease that goes with an area that's rife with drug use and prostitution? How are we to know that it's an area rife with drug use and prostitution?

What I see here is echoes of Steve McCurry. That's good, but as far as I know, Steve didn't think he was shooting street when he did his wonderful informal portraiture. Street needs a story. The story in this picture is that the dog is sniffing the ground and possibly following the woman.

Don't get me wrong. I think these pictures are quite beautiful and very well done. But that's a different subject.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: KLaban on May 14, 2018, 08:23:50 am
Hey, easy does it.

What, exactly, in that picture tells us about the sense of unease that goes with an area that's rife with drug use and prostitution? How are we to know that it's an area rife with drug use and prostitution?

What I see here is echoes of Steve McCurry. That's good, but as far as I know, Steve didn't think he was shooting street when he did his wonderful informal portraiture. Street needs a story. The story in this picture is that the dog is sniffing the ground and possibly following the woman..

Don't get me wrong. I think these pictures are quite beautiful and very well done. But that's a different subject.

Russ, show me the rule book. ;-)

For me the story was less literal, it being about fear. Whether you think it succeeds or not is your call.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: Rob C on May 14, 2018, 09:05:59 am
But would you have, could you have, made it?

The first hurdle would have been in being there: I'm not fond of some travel destinations for many reasons beyond geography.

As for the other factors, they thus become redundant. However, on the assumption that I had made the picture, I would have been thinking in terms of black/white because, having once been a creature of totally commercial convictions, working exclusively in colour trannies ever since I closed the last studio and went away from the UK (the ease of colour processing - Lausanne was effectively no further away than the local post office, and the remaining business outlets held me tightly in the grip of their colorful embrace), only after retirement and entry into digital did black/white become possible again.

Once that happened, I mostly reverted to where my first photographic experience had been: black/white.

I'm afraid that in most non-commercial cases, I tend to see colour as a distraction. This is obvious to me in looking at my own work, where in the past year or two, colour pix are very much in the minority. This is to be clearly seen in my later Parallels galleries, with more and more introspective stuff coming to the fore. It has become an area of exploration that has filled the vast vacuum of commercial life; other vacuums will forever, until the next life, remain vacuums.

That said, I can speak only about my own beliefs and emotional responses.

But a further point: choice of colour or otherwise is also governed to some degree by what is in front of the camera. In some cases, losing colour makes a mockery of the place one has photographed. Why bother at all?

On a tech. aspect: regarding black/white work, I have abandoned all notions of worrying about tonality (as in its weight) ratios betwen main subject and background as found in nature. Digital capture in colour permits so much corrective manipulation with colour filters that almost anything can be altered to suit your desires. It no longer makes sense not to take the shot because you fear the subject may be lost against the background: just do it and work on that aspect later, because you can. Freedom!
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: KLaban on May 14, 2018, 09:12:26 am
But would you have, could you have, made it?

The first hurdle would have been in being there: I'm not fond of some travel destinations for many reasons beyond geography.

As for the other factors, they thus become redundant. However, on the assumption that I had made the picture, I would have been thinking in terms of black/white because, having once been a creature of totally commercial convictions, working exclusively in colour trannies ever since I closed the last studio and went away from the UK (the ease of colour processing - Lausanne was effectively no further away than the local post office, and the remaining business outlets held me tightly in the grip of their colorful embrace), only after retirement and entry into digital did black/white become possible again.

Once that happened, I mostly reverted to where my first photographic experience had been: black/white.

I'm afraid that in most non-commercial cases, I tend to see colour as a distraction. This is obvious to me in looking at my own work, where in the past year or two, colour pix are very much in the minority. This is to be clearly seen in my later Parallels galleries, with more and more introspective stuff coming to the fore. It has become an area of exploration that has filled the vast vacuum of commercial life; other vacuums will forever, until the next life, remain vacuums.

That said, I can speak only about my own beliefs and emotional responses.

But a further point: choice of colour or otherwise is also governed to some degree by what is in front of the camera. In some cases, losing colour makes a mockery of the place one has photographed. Why bother at all?

On a tech. aspect: regarding black/white work, I have abandoned all notions of worrying about tonality (as in its weight) ratios betwen main subject and background as found in nature. Digital capture in colour permits so much corrective manipulation with colour filters that almost anything can be altered to suit your desires. It no longer makes sense not to take the shot because you fear the subject may be lost against the background: just do it and work on that aspect later, because you can. Freedom!

Rob, that's what I was referring to, one needs to be there to make the shot.

I also had in mind second guessing, or how the person who's not there, not doing it would have done it had they been there.

;-)
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: RSL on May 14, 2018, 09:22:46 am
Russ, show me the rule book. ;-)

If there is such a thing, this is it: Bystander: A History of Street Photography, Colin Westerbrook and Joel Meyerowitz, 1994

But if you really want to see the rules, study Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz, David Seymour (Chim), Robert Doisneau (though Doisneau set up too many of his "street" shots), Willy Ronis, Brassai, Walker Evans, Elliott Erwitt, Helen Levitt, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, and Lee Friedlander, to name a few of the genre's founders.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: KLaban on May 14, 2018, 10:30:23 am
If there is such a thing, this is it: Bystander: A History of Street Photography, Colin Westerbrook and Joel Meyerowitz, 1994

But if you really want to see the rules, study Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz, David Seymour (Chim), Robert Doisneau (though Doisneau set up too many of his "street" shots), Willy Ronis, Brassai, Walker Evans, Elliott Erwitt, Helen Levitt, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, and Lee Friedlander, to name a few of the genre's founders.

Russ, I was joshing, I do know the work of most of them and very fine they are.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: RSL on May 14, 2018, 10:42:17 am
Kind of thought that might be the case, Keith, but I couldn't be sure and I didn't want to be insulting.

It strikes me that we get all wrapped around the axle trying to define street, but try to define "landscape." Oh, everybody knows what that means, right? Well, folks, take a look at the landscape section on LuLa and tell me if everything on there fits your definition of landscape.

Bottom line is that there's good landscape and bad landscape, just as there's good street and bad street. If you shoot a person standing on a street there's no reason not to call it a street shot. But unless there's a story there, other than the obvious fact that there's a guy standing on a street, it's not what I'd call good street, any more than I'd call a picture of an empty field good landscape (except for Bob's nostalgia-inducing shot "Field" over on User Critiques.)

So I'm no longer going to try to identify what is and what isn't street. But I am going to talk about good and bad street.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: KLaban on May 14, 2018, 10:47:39 am
Kind of thought that might be the case, Keith, but I couldn't be sure and I didn't want to be insulting.

It strikes me that we get all wrapped around the axle trying to define street, but try to define "landscape." Oh, everybody knows what that means, right? Well, folks, take a look at the landscape section on LuLa and tell me if everything on there fits your definition of landscape.

Bottom line is that there's good landscape and bad landscape, just as there's good street and bad street. If you shoot a person standing on a street there's no reason not to call it a street shot. But unless there's a story there, other than the obvious fact that there's a guy standing on a street, it's not what I'd call good street, any more than I'd call a picture of an empty field good landscape (except for Bob's nostalgia-inducing shot "Field" over on User Critiques.)

So I'm no longer going to try to identify what is and what isn't street. But I am going to talk about good and bad street.

Russ, very wise.

As an aside, I've always thought that rules and creativity make bad bedfellows.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: RSL on May 14, 2018, 11:12:05 am
I'd agree with that -- up to the point where not following any rules leads to unintelligibility. I see way too much of that nowadays in visual art and in poetry.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: Rob C on May 14, 2018, 12:44:06 pm
Rob, that's what I was referring to, one needs to be there to make the shot.

I also had in mind second guessing, or how the person who's not there, not doing it would have done it had they been there.

;-)

Keith, as we both know, there was not a snowball's chance that I was going to take your image and presume to work on it; it's a large part of the reason for the existence of our two WPs which, I hope, continue to prosper, though as Chuck said, you never can tell.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: KLaban on May 14, 2018, 12:52:01 pm
Keith, as we both know, there was not a snowball's chance that I was going to take your image and presume to work on it; it's a large part of the reason for the existence of our two WPs which, I hope, continue to prosper, though as Chuck said, you never can tell.

WPs? Sorry Rob, I've racked my brain but you've lost me there.

Really, I didn't think for a moment that you'd work on my image without an OK and I thank you for that consideration.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: Rob C on May 14, 2018, 12:55:13 pm
WPs? Sorry Rob, I've racked my brain but you've lost me there.

Really, I didn't think for a moment that you'd work on my image without an OK and I thank you for that consideration.


WPs = Without Prejudices.

:-)
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: KLaban on May 14, 2018, 01:09:04 pm

WPs = Without Prejudices.

:-)

Duh!

;-)
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on May 15, 2018, 06:59:42 am
It is all much simpler: all four shots are National Geographic-style documentaries. Of course, one can always try to sniff out some deeper meaning.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: Rob C on May 15, 2018, 07:02:44 am
It is all much simpler: all four shots are National Geographic-style documentaries. Of course, one can always try to sniff out some deeper meaning.


I could live with that! The datum line is high enough to please moi, at the very least.

Rob
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: Martin Kristiansen on May 15, 2018, 07:46:16 am
Interesting chat. I have heard some critics having a go at the whole ‘Street Photography’ catagory saying social documentary was always good enough and remains so. It certainly is easier to adjudicate.

I have some questions myself regarding definitions of street. Is it still street when shot in a public space such as a bar but not on an actual street? A lot of us shoot street when traveling, does that then make it travel photography or is it in both categories, I would think so.

Lastly what if it’s in an area where people don’t have streets as we would normally define them. I post a picture below to illustrate. To me this is still street but perhaps I think that way because of where I live. Any ideas.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: KLaban on May 15, 2018, 08:25:59 am
Let's face it, Street just doesn't describe the contents in the tin.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: Rob C on May 15, 2018, 08:54:30 am
Interesting chat. I have heard some critics having a go at the whole ‘Street Photography’ catagory saying social documentary was always good enough and remains so. It certainly is easier to adjudicate.

I have some questions myself regarding definitions of street. Is it still street when shot in a public space such as a bar but not on an actual street? A lot of us shoot street when traveling, does that then make it travel photography or is it in both categories, I would think so.

Lastly what if it’s in an area where people don’t have streets as we would normally define them. I post a picture below to illustrate. To me this is still street but perhaps I think that way because of where I live. Any ideas.


Some definitions according to my own photographic adventure through life, and the lessons learned:

Street:  William Klein; Daido Moriyama; stamper, Russ, GrahamBy (where the hell are you?).

Street Art:  Saul Leiter; Ernst Haas; Keith Laban; Peter Fiore; Rob C (in my Glimpsed Parallels galleries).

Streetscape (Cityscape): Ernst Haas; Slobodan.

This little list includes definitive world-names as well as some of our own shooters whose work is probably known to us on this forum.

None of the above is to exclude others, or even those who shoot several genres as a matter of routine. What it does - or attempts to do - is provide a subjective explanation of what different terms signify to me.

Regarding shooing off the street, as in hotels and bars, if of people who don't know what's going down, I'd call it candid; if they are aware and tacitly consent, then informal portraiture.

I suppose that, from the above; I take street (in general) to suggest as sense of intrusion/danger/possible violence/risk towards the photographer. Street art, on the other hand, signifies more a sense of interest in beauty, of the random art created quite accidently, mostly by man.
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: KLaban on May 15, 2018, 09:18:05 am
I'm as sure as can be that we'll never come up with an all encompassing name that will satisfy all.

Personally I intend to post images that I feel meet my very loose, sketchy interpretation of the many alternative genre names listed here and elsewhere and worry not if they fail to fit in with other contributor's interpretations.

(http://www.keithlaban.co.uk/The_Moderator.jpg)

So there!
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: stamper on May 15, 2018, 09:41:32 am
On Facebook I see images shot on a beach under the heading of Street. It seems to be acceptable
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: Rob C on May 15, 2018, 09:47:09 am
On Facebook I see images shot on a beach under the heading of Street. It seems to be acceptable

So does, in some circles, calling a fat person bovine. Funny old world.

Rob
Title: Re: Street?
Post by: Two23 on May 15, 2018, 05:43:13 pm
So does, in some circles, calling a fat person bovine. Funny old world.

Rob


I guess that's still a notch better than calling them "porcine."


Kent in SD