Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => User Critiques => Topic started by: Slobodan Blagojevic on November 16, 2012, 10:29:56 PM

Title: How's This for Street?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on November 16, 2012, 10:29:56 PM
Works?
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: degrub on November 16, 2012, 10:41:21 PM
In a Rockwellian, Saturday Evening Post sort of way, yes.

Frank
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: Jeremy Roussak on November 17, 2012, 04:28:20 AM
Well, it's obviously not indoors. I like the way you captured the moment.

Jeremy
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: amolitor on November 17, 2012, 08:41:55 AM
I think it works, in a way. It has elements of street, but it's more documentary.
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: RSL on November 17, 2012, 09:23:17 AM
Wow, Slobodan. You were lucky to get this shot before it got away.
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on November 17, 2012, 10:19:45 AM
Why is it when you guys shoot hobos it is street, albeit cliche (according to Russ), and when I feature them it is not? Is it then documentary or photojournalism?
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: petermfiore on November 17, 2012, 10:24:46 AM
Why is it when you guys shoot hobos it is street, albeit cliche (according to Russ), and when I feature them it is not? Is it then documentary or photojournalism?

That's a feature?  Still a nice shot.
 
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on November 17, 2012, 10:34:36 AM
That's a feature?...

Not sure I understand what you meant.
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: petermfiore on November 17, 2012, 10:36:26 AM
I'm sorry. The featuring of a hobo.
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on November 17, 2012, 10:43:01 AM
I'm sorry. The featuring of a hobo.

Since it was a question you asked (that's a feature?), are you questioning the very presence of the hobo or the relatively small space it occupies in the picture? Just trying to understand, not argumentative.
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on November 17, 2012, 12:18:57 PM
Wow, Slobodan. You were lucky to get this shot before it got away.

I do not know, Russ, maybe. The guy could have awoken any minute and walked away.
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: Bryan Conner on November 17, 2012, 01:10:21 PM
I think two of the subjects look a bit stiff, and the third is a bit too relaxed.   ;D



I like it.
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on November 17, 2012, 01:14:34 PM
I do not know, Russ, maybe. The guy could have awoken any minute and walked away.
But you could have cudgeled him into submission with your Speed Graphic, couldn't you?

Being not entirely antihobo myself, I like the shot.
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: seamus finn on November 17, 2012, 03:21:08 PM

I like it too - the huge suitcase is great beside the prostrate figure; the load is too big for any human. No wonders he's weary and has resorted to hoboism!
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: kencameron on November 17, 2012, 03:38:17 PM
Why is it when you guys shoot hobos it is street, albeit cliche (according to Russ), and when I feature them it is not? Is it then documentary or photojournalism?
I don't get these classificatory niceties. Who cares which pigeonhole? Nice shot - a bit dark lower down, but having to look a bit to see what is going on gets the attention in gear to notice the ironies.
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on November 17, 2012, 04:38:17 PM
... notice the ironies.

Yes, indeed!

The sculpture is the work of J. Seward Johnson, titled "God Bless America" (irony #1), made after one of the most famous American paintings "American Gothic" by Grant Wood (and on display just a few blocks down the street, in the Art Institute of Chicago).

In my picture, there is an ad for Fidelity Investments, which is supposed to provide for one's future (irony #2).

There is a further irony to be found somewhere in the juxtaposition of the giant statue, representing modern art, and a lowly common guy, minuscule in comparison, at its feet, oblivious to its meaning. But I digress in psychobabble, I suppose.




Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: RSL on November 17, 2012, 04:39:30 PM
If you want to see some good street look at Seoonmie's "Open Beaver," or Seamus's "Waiting." There's a story in each of them, but a story that's left unfinished on the basis of what's presented. That's the kind of ambiguity that makes the difference between documentation and street photography. Documentation explains things, as Slobodan's picture does in this thread. Street doesn't explain. It leaves you guessing.

How many on this forum have read Bystander: A History of Street Photography by Colin Westerbrook and Joel Meyerowitz? If you haven't, you might find it enlightening. The book wanders far beyond street photography, but as a result of that wandering it defines street photography in relation to other genres. It's a matter of degree. There's an element of street in Slobodan's picture because of the giant suitcase next to the hobo, but the ambiguity is missing.

The nomenclature doesn't really matter. But a good street photograph grabs your attention and hangs on to it. Simple documentation may grab you, but it usually turns you loose right away.

Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on November 17, 2012, 05:57:45 PM
I like it too - the huge suitcase is great beside the prostrate figure; the load is too big for any human. No wonders he's weary and has resorted to hoboism!

Ah, yes, the suitcase.

The story about it, though not visible in the photograph: on the other side, it has the ubiquitous stickers from places visited. Guess what? All the stickers are from the countries where outsourcing is and American jobs went to. Contrast that with the sculpture's title: "God Bless America." The suitcase was not a part of the original painting, but a deliberate intervention by the sculptor's author.

None of that is readily understandable from the photograph, though. One just needs to know the background, the whole story, to get al the ironies involved (and I am not saying that in defense of my photograph, on the contrary).
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: amolitor on November 18, 2012, 04:01:37 PM
I have to say, I felt like there was probably a *little* ambiguity and story here, but it was so unclear that I couldn't really give the photo credit for it. The fact that the suitcase is part of the sculpture is a new piece of information, for me.
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: walter.sk on November 18, 2012, 04:30:56 PM
One just needs to know the background, the whole story, to get al the ironies involved (and I am not saying that in defense of my photograph, on the contrary).
I find the ironies quite poignant.  The building in the background appears to be of the 1930's vintage, during the depression.  The statue is, of course, a 3D implementation of Grant Wood's "American Gothic" plus the suitcase, and the little figure with the holes in his soles, almost under the foot of the giant vision of American Gothic, are the visual reminder, even in the 21st Century, of our economic reality for many people.  And, as if to comment on the veracity of that is the sign saying "Fidelity."

Quite a good capture for street photography!
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: kencameron on November 18, 2012, 07:37:35 PM
I have to say, I felt like there was probably a *little* ambiguity and story here, but it was so unclear that I couldn't really give the photo credit for it.
I felt there is lots of ambiguity and lots of story. My own reading is very close to Slobodan's but someone coming from a different place could well see the photo as being a simple moral tale about pioneer uprightness versus the wages of 21st century fecklessness. The  point of ambiguity is that things aren't immediately clear and that you have to so some work to get it, so the "credit" is always to some degree divided between the viewer and the image. In this case the image was full of potential elements of meaning but for the potential to be realised the viewer had to know a couple of specifics about the history of american culture and the economy. Nothing wrong with that, and nothing wrong with not getting it, in this case. In the house of photography there are many mansions.
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: kencameron on November 18, 2012, 07:49:38 PM
If you want to see some good street look at Seoonmie's "Open Beaver," or Seamus's "Waiting." There's a story in each of them, but a story that's left unfinished on the basis of what's presented....
The nomenclature doesn't really matter. But a good street photograph grabs your attention and hangs on to it. Simple documentation may grab you, but it usually turns you loose right away.
Interesting distinction, in relation to your identifying street photography as characterised by ambiguity. "Waiting" (which I loved) seemed to me resistant to a narrative reading - no immediately obvious story emerged, and that was the point, at least for me. Ambiguity in the conventional sense, based on the etymology of the term, is more about more than one possible and intelligible story with the mind suspended between them. It seems to me that both can grab the mind and both can hang on to it.
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: stamper on November 19, 2012, 04:01:46 AM
Bystander: A History of Street Photography by Colin Westerbrook and Joel Meyerowitz?

Russ you must be rich? Amazon price. £889.24. If it was £8.89 I might have been tempted. ;D
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: RSL on November 19, 2012, 06:14:04 AM
Hi Stamper, It was closer to $25 when I bought it. Actually I have two copies: the original one in Colorado that I bought new for about $25 from Amazon, and a used copy I bought in a bookstore in Florida for about $15. I've been buying books on photography since the mid sixties.
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on November 19, 2012, 12:45:16 PM
Bystander: A History of Street Photography by Colin Westerbrook and Joel Meyerowitz?

Russ you must be rich? Amazon price. £889.24. If it was £8.89 I might have been tempted. ;D

One here (http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_odkw=A+History+of+Street+Photography+by+Colin+Westerbrook+and+Joel+Meyerowitz&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313&_nkw=A+History+of+Street+Photography+&_sacat=0) for less than a 20th of that price and available in the UK - Also lots more here (http://www.abebooks.co.uk/book-search/isbn/9780500541906/) also for sale in the UK  :)

Alternatively there is always the free option if you are interested in Joel Meyerowitz's work from Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UspoolSnZtg) and here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NVk7nuYPI4) and also here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu2tS0-75as).

Joel Meyerowitz also featured heavily in the BBC series called 'The Genius of Photography' which you can pick up on e-bay for less than a tenner.

Dave
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: RSL on November 19, 2012, 12:55:55 PM
Alternatively there is always the free option if you are interested in Joel Meyerowitz's work from Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UspoolSnZtg) and here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NVk7nuYPI4) and also here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu2tS0-75as).

Joel Meyerowitz also featured heavily in the BBC series called 'The Genius of Photography' which you can pick up on e-bay for less than a tenner.

All true, Dave, but I'd guess Westerbrook did the bulk of the writing and Joel probably was central to the photo picks for the book. In any case, for anyone interested in street photography it's required reading.
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on November 19, 2012, 03:00:07 PM
All true, Dave, but I'd guess Westerbrook did the bulk of the writing and Joel probably was central to the photo picks for the book. In any case, for anyone interested in street photography it's required reading.

Hi Russ, I am sure it is a good read, but 'street' is really not my thing, so I don't suppose I will be trying to buy a copy any day soon, although in saying that, I am sure I would very much enjoy reading it if ever I did get my hands on a copy.

I have tried street in the past and enjoyed it very much, even though I now realise it is not my thing, but what I do find a problem with street photography currently, is the same as can be said of all photo genres that become fashionable (as surely street now is), is that the good stuff is still as rare to find as hens teeth, but the dross produced (because it must be street if I shot it on the street - right?) goes up exponentially.

And I am afraid I have to say that Joel's work goes into that category for me, because just shoving your old Leica into someone’s face and half way up their nose, does not make art as far as I am concerned - he also has to spend a lot of time explaining his work, which again gets a thumbs down from me.

But hey, whatever floats your boat as the saying goes..  :)

However your girl in the chalk circle you posted here some time ago, is still as good a street shot as I have ever seen and right up there with the best in my opinion.

Dave  :)
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: RSL on November 19, 2012, 03:26:51 PM
. . .the good stuff is still as rare to find as hens teeth, but the dross produced . . . goes up exponentially.

I'm with you on that one, Dave, but it seems to me it applies across the board. As you imply, the moniker "street" has become fashionable, but as is the case with a whole lot of fashionable things, many, maybe most of the people who rush to be fashionable haven't taken the time to learn anything about the fashion they pursue.

Quote
And I am afraid I have to say that Joel's work goes into that category for me, because just shoving your old Leica into someone’s face and half way up their nose, does not make art as far as I am concerned - he also has to spend a lot of time explaining his work, which again gets a thumbs down from me.

Again, we agree. I've never been a fan of Joel's work. A lot of it seems forced to me.

Quote
However your girl in the chalk circle you posted here some time ago, is still as good a street shot as I have ever seen and right up there with the best in my opinion.

Thanks, my friend. That's an ego booster, and I always can use an ego booster. I've always loved that picture. A copy of it hangs in my studio.

Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on November 19, 2012, 03:49:48 PM
... However your girl in the chalk circle you posted here some time ago, is still as good a street shot as I have ever seen and right up there with the best in my opinion...

+1
Title: Re: How's This for Street?
Post by: RSL on November 19, 2012, 04:34:43 PM
Thanks to you too Slobodan. I'd buy a round for all three of us if we were in a bar.