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Author Topic: What is street photography?  (Read 50468 times)

RSL

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #40 on: August 16, 2015, 05:19:57 pm »

Hi Mike, Are you related to Humpty Dumpty? "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."

You probably ought to look up the word before you use it.
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spidermike

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #41 on: August 16, 2015, 06:45:35 pm »

Hi Mike, Are you related to Humpty Dumpty? "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."

You probably ought to look up the word before you use it.

I fully understand what you mean by ambiguity. But to me many of your points (reply #17) are beyond Occam's razor

Quote
But why has the man walked toward the flood on the little ladder? Since it's obvious he's not dressed for wading why is he jumping into the water? [1] There's another man in the picture, slouching behind a fence. What's he doing there? Why is the partially destroyed poster on that desolate fence [2]?"

[1] because he has to in order to get to where he wants to be. The mere fact he is not dressed for wading means we know he is going to get wet which adds a sense of inevitability, and the reflection adds an interesting geometry
[2] Because it is. It was once a full poster but has got weathered and to me is no more meaningful a question as 'why did the rock of Half Dome not become eroded like the rocks so close to it'. The fact it happened has added another pattern and adds to the sense of dereliction also given by the ladder and hoops lying in the water.

I am not for one moment saying you are wrong for having these thoughts because interpretation of an image is a very personal thing. What I am saying is that to take what you do from a picture and use that to include/exclude someone else's work seems like stretching a point.


Now it may be that we both have a fair few thoughts about this (and many other pictures) in common and the issue is one of how we verbalise what it is we see/feel. As I have said before I can see where you are coming from but I just don't think you can say 'I don't see X in an image therefore it is not street photography'.
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RSL

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #42 on: August 16, 2015, 09:54:17 pm »

Okay, so to you the picture is an expression whose meaning can be determined from its context. Amazing. Do you also do seances?
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spidermike

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #43 on: August 17, 2015, 03:06:41 am »

Okay, so to you the picture is an expression whose meaning can be determined from its context. Amazing. Do you also do seances?

That's a straw man argument: I am not making any attempt at presuming the answer to the questions you ask (hence no need for psychic powers). If your comments on 'Gare' are typical, it is just that I don't ask those questions that to you are so important to define the genre. A lot of time the 'meaning' of a photo is obvious from its context but is still a damned good street photograph - unless you are using the word 'meaning' in a different context to how I would use it. But I fear that when discussing 'ambiguity' and 'meaning' we will end up in a circular discussion.
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RSL

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #44 on: August 17, 2015, 11:08:23 am »

Hi Mike,

I'm glad to hear you're not a photographic spiritualist.

Let's get one thing clear from the start. I've never said that ambiguity is essential to a street photograph. I went back through my essays on the subject to make sure I didn't even imply that. What I said, in "Why Do Street Photography" was: "A good street photograph doesn't need to make you understand its story. Ambiguity can add to a street photograph's impact, but a story has to be there even if its meaning is hidden." That's the only place I used the word "ambiguity" in any of my web rants on the subject. In LuLa "discussions" I've also said that ambiguity is one element that helps define a street shot, but I've never implied -- at least I don't think I have -- that ambiguity is essential to a street photograph.

But I stand by the story part, and I disagree with you when you say: "A lot of time the 'meaning' of a photo is obvious from its context but is still a damned good street photograph. . ." READ MY FINGERS: "If a picture doesn't leave you with at least one unanswered question, it's not a street photograph. It's straight reportage." Whether or not unanswered questions always result in ambiguity is a semantic question.
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Isaac

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #45 on: August 17, 2015, 12:33:46 pm »

There's no ambiguity about Half Dome. It just sits there and tourists photograph it.

Half Dome is a granite monolith, not a photograph.

What does a particular photograph of Half Dome mean?

Do you have any argument to put forward or just bluster -- "If you can't see these things then either you're blind or else you choose to ignore what's right before your face in order to try to make a point. You're not making it, my friend."
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stamper

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #46 on: August 17, 2015, 12:40:54 pm »

Half Dome is a granite monolith, not a photograph.

What does a particular photograph of Half Dome mean?

Do you have any argument to put forward or just bluster -- "If you can't see these things then either you're blind or else you choose to ignore what's right before your face in order to try to make a point. You're not making it, my friend."

More denigration Isaac. :o

Isaac

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #47 on: August 17, 2015, 12:45:28 pm »

More denigration Isaac

You've made 2 comments in this discussion thread.

Neither express any interest in the topic; both are personal attacks.
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RSL

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #48 on: August 17, 2015, 01:32:15 pm »

More denigration Isaac. :o

Just Isaac's "style." He's more interested in abstract arguments than in making photographs.
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Isaac

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #49 on: August 17, 2015, 01:41:01 pm »

Just doing you the courtesy of taking your comments seriously.

What does a particular photograph of Half Dome mean?
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RSL

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #50 on: August 17, 2015, 02:01:50 pm »

What does a particular photograph of Half Dome mean?

Means it's a photograph of Half Dome.
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Petrus

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #51 on: August 17, 2015, 04:07:35 pm »

What does a particular photograph of Half Dome mean?

The photographer arrived too late to get a picture of the Full Dome.
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mezzoduomo

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #52 on: August 17, 2015, 05:43:40 pm »

"Personally I don’t feel the need to box everything into some kind of giant art infographic and get precious about definitions." - Olaf Willoughby

http://olafwilloughby.com/uncategorized/exploring-street-photography/

A quick read, and worthy article.
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Isaac

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #53 on: August 17, 2015, 06:45:23 pm »

Means it's a photograph of Half Dome.

You might respond -- "If you can't see these things then either you're blind or else you choose to ignore what's right before your face in order to try to make a point. You're not making it, my friend."

I just say -- special pleading.
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RSL

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #54 on: August 17, 2015, 07:00:29 pm »

You're free to say whatever you want to say, Isaac. Be my guest.
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Isaac

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #55 on: August 17, 2015, 07:14:43 pm »

But why has the man walked toward the flood on the little ladder?
To get to the other side.

Since it's obvious he's not dressed for wading why is he jumping into the water?
It's not even an inch deep.

There's another man in the picture, slouching behind a fence. What's he doing there?
Slouching.

Why is the partially destroyed poster on that desolate fence?
To be seen by the people taking this well-used route - used enough for someone to bother putting down the ladder across the puddle.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2015, 07:19:48 pm by Isaac »
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Isaac

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #56 on: August 17, 2015, 08:06:35 pm »

The photographer arrived too late to get a picture of the Full Dome.

Nah, the photographer waited for the decisive moment.
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Isaac

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #57 on: August 17, 2015, 10:45:11 pm »

And Isaac's right. It was luck, but he made a lot of shots to get to the luck.

The point is not that Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare was luck.

The point is that Cartier-Bresson found the backdrop for his photograph (with the multiple mirrored elements) and then waited, hidden by a fence, for movement to bring it to life.

(Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare is a bad example for what you wish to say about Cartier-Bresson because he really isn't working moment-by-moment on intuition as events unfold - the scene was set in advance.)
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #58 on: August 17, 2015, 11:45:49 pm »

... Cartier-Bresson because he really isn't working moment-by-moment on intuition as events unfold - the scene was set in advance.)

Pardon me for this blasphemy, but isn't photography like a sausage? If you like the end product, do you really want to know how it's made?

Isaac

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Re: What is street photography?
« Reply #59 on: August 18, 2015, 12:21:24 pm »

My guess- especially if they like the end product - is that sausage makers want to know how the sausage is made.
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