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Author Topic: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?  (Read 2638 times)

Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2018, 06:55:37 am »

Lots of badly written emails and even badly written books around. Doesnít mean the death of literature does it. I read a lot and some good books out there. I see photography as the same.

On the candid thing I respectfully disagree. I still regard it as street if someone is asked to stand still for a moment and they pose themselves and an image is made. I also regard it as street if a person notices thay are being photographed and react is some way. Also not a candid. Anyway we all see it different. As long as the images are interesting and say something. Lots of pictures donít meet that criteria.
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petermfiore

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2018, 07:04:01 am »

Anyway we all see it different. As long as the images are interesting and say something. Lots of pictures donít meet that criteria.

I agree with you conclusion, and that's what I took from the article in my OP.

Peter

Rob C

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2018, 07:10:34 am »

Lots of badly written emails and even badly written books around. Doesnít mean the death of literature does it. I read a lot and some good books out there. I see photography as the same.

On the candid thing I respectfully disagree. I still regard it as street if someone is asked to stand still for a moment and they pose themselves and an image is made. I also regard it as street if a person notices thay are being photographed and react is some way. Also not a candid. Anyway we all see it different. As long as the images are interesting and say something. Lots of pictures donít meet that criteria.

On that basis, of being interesting, I have no option but to agree with you.

However, I think that where a subject spots you and reacts, then that doesn't betray any ethic of street; if anything, it's another aspect of the grand theatre. However, if you end up directing, then you are doing something quite else, and have stepped over the line into another role than snapper of the observed.

petermfiore

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2018, 07:24:49 am »

[quote author=Rob C link=topic=124853.msg1045309#msg1045309 date=1526901034.

However, I think that where a subject spots you and reacts, then that doesn't betray any ethic of street; if anything, it's another aspect of the grand theatre. However, if you end up directing, then you are doing something quite else, and have stepped over the line into another role than snapper of the observed.
[/quote]

Very true, directing is indeed something else...

Peter

RSL

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2018, 08:16:24 am »

However, I think that where a subject spots you and reacts, then that doesn't betray any ethic of street; if anything, it's another aspect of the grand theatre. However, if you end up directing, then you are doing something quite else, and have stepped over the line into another role than snapper of the observed.

And I'd agree, as long as the reaction of the person who's spotted you is instantaneous. Check the dog inside the boat in HCB's "Locks at Bougival." But if you're shooting a group and someone -- even worse, several people -- see what you're doing, they'll start acting for the camera and the game's over.

OmerV

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Don't quite accept the totality of that!

Yes, the Internet has become a massive enabler of rapid transmission of thought, but there are many problems associated with that. As has been touched upon already, much of it is the little matter of editing (as distinct from censorship) or, rather, lack of it. The world of paper largely took care of that, and the filters were pretty efficient, which is perhaps why we of longer memory have based our view of good and evil (at midnight or otherwise, in gardens as in studios) on the culled work, not the entirety of the dross from which the jems were shaken out.

Now a hard heart could argue that it boiled down to editiorial opinion which, of course, is entirely true. But don't forget: there were enough of us out there who agreed, to the extent of buying the publications, often when we could ill afford them. That meant we cared, that we felt a common, visceral connection; today, looking at websites costs nothing but the electricity, just like making a cellphone snap. And our three-minute minds save us from sleepless nights. In other words, in contrast, the viewer numbers are not reliable value indicators as were the buyer numbers of old.

I've looked at many of the so-called expert camera tester guys out there on the web, some self-appointed gurus of street; what an amazing bunch of con artists amongst them! Every new product is the best since the last, and not a shred of visual evidence backs them up. Some go walkies down the streets of wherever, sip coffee in coffee shops and make insider jokes. So coooool, so pointless and bland. Yet, of them all, poor old Ken R. appears to have been arbitrarily appointed principal cross-bearer.

As for finding the Internet as rewarding to language/writing as the printing press... you have to be joking! You were, weren't you?

;-)

Rob, you, me and most of LuLa are from a generation that was conditioned by the dependence on others to learn. Recently, Twitter and Facebook have, with the use of artificial intelligence, implemented a ďrelevanceĒ way of offering information to their users which bypasses a userís own decision making.  But a howl of protest has forced social media to back off on trying to be the beloved editors of our times.

The kids are doing alright.

Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2018, 09:31:51 am »

On that basis, of being interesting, I have no option but to agree with you.

However, I think that where a subject spots you and reacts, then that doesn't betray any ethic of street; if anything, it's another aspect of the grand theatre. However, if you end up directing, then you are doing something quite else, and have stepped over the line into another role than snapper of the observed.

Thatís fine. I am certainly not the person that decides what is and isnít street. Not that I really care for definitions but I donít want to post something inappropriate here. Well I will now. The picture below is something I enjoy doing. People ask for money, I ask for their story as that always fascinates me then I will give them enough for a meal if they allow me to take a photo.

But itís not street. Social documentary perhaps?
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RSL

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2018, 10:28:09 am »

Informal portraiture. HCB did a ton of it.

Rob C

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2018, 02:33:02 pm »

Thatís fine. I am certainly not the person that decides what is and isnít street. Not that I really care for definitions but I donít want to post something inappropriate here. Well I will now. The picture below is something I enjoy doing. People ask for money, I ask for their story as that always fascinates me then I will give them enough for a meal if they allow me to take a photo.

But itís not street. Social documentary perhaps?


No, I don't think it's any kind of documentary at all, because without your explanation it could just as well be a snap of a friend doing nothing much in particular. It's an example, I think! of what Russ is explaining to folks new to the concept, about what street is not. That has absolutely no bearing on either the artistic or technical values within a given photograph, just of its relevance to a school, a genre.

Rob
« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 02:46:15 pm by Rob C »
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RSL

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #29 on: May 21, 2018, 02:36:23 pm »

Thanks, Rob. That's as clear an explanation as I've ever seen.

Ivophoto

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #30 on: May 22, 2018, 12:51:51 am »

Thatís fine. I am certainly not the person that decides what is and isnít street. Not that I really care for definitions but I donít want to post something inappropriate here. Well I will now. The picture below is something I enjoy doing. People ask for money, I ask for their story as that always fascinates me then I will give them enough for a meal if they allow me to take a photo.

But itís not street. Social documentary perhaps?

If you would exhibit a serie, add pictures of the contex and add textuel story, it could be social photography.

Put six of your portraits in a row and it gets stronger.
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #31 on: May 22, 2018, 01:15:45 am »

If you would exhibit a serie, add pictures of the contex and add textuel story, it could be social photography.

Put six of your portraits in a row and it gets stronger.

Yes I would agree with that. I much prefer a series of images actually. I think growing up with copies of Life magazine around the house was a big influence.
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Ivophoto

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #32 on: May 22, 2018, 01:25:45 am »

Yes I would agree with that. I much prefer a series of images actually. I think growing up with copies of Life magazine around the house was a big influence.

Yep, there is a difference in approach. Tell a story in one picture, street style, or telling a story over multiple pictures, adding other media, etc. I prefer the second, it is less Ďcrampedí to consume.
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Rob C

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #33 on: May 22, 2018, 04:36:35 am »

Yep, there is a difference in approach. Tell a story in one picture, street style, or telling a story over multiple pictures, adding other media, etc. I prefer the second, it is less Ďcrampedí to consume.


Do you understand what you are really indicating here?

The thing you have just described is not street, not is it documentary. And here is why: HC-B, Ronis, Doisneau, Klein, Winogrand - all of those people shot what has become the de facto visual definition of street and/or documentary; on top of that, the first three people also made their pennies by working for the magazines, doing documentary or reportage - much of it so-called social, with the focus on the living conditions of the city poor and country bumpkin. In addition, HC-B also had access to the opposite end of Parisian society and covered events in that world, too.

Klein made a massive part of his reputation from his street books on New York and Rome; he did others, too. He made an enviable reputation for himself in the world of fashion photography and also produced films, both documentary and entertainment. He was not stuck in any mould. And when you look at the work in the city books, you also learn that every image stands tall as a unique, great still. It is said that you can take any frame from his movies and the visual content in it, too, makes a wonderful still shot.

As ever, the magic is in the eye, the imagination of the man with the camera.

And the thing about the above work, and why it differs in every respect from what you are describing is this: today, we do not see those left-wing magazines that provided the serial publishing space for the documentary photography of those guys, but, we do get to see the work in book form, in gallery collections or on the web; and guess what: whether as single, isolated image within the covers of a book, on a wall in a bar, those pictures have the power to grab you, tell you something and all without supporting bumff or additional images. The images are strong enough to stand alone.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 04:45:39 am by Rob C »
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Ivophoto

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #34 on: May 22, 2018, 06:37:55 am »


Do you understand what you are really indicating here?

The thing you have just described is not street, not is it documentary. And here is why: HC-B, Ronis, Doisneau, Klein, Winogrand - all of those people shot what has become the de facto visual definition of street and/or documentary; on top of that, the first three people also made their pennies by working for the magazines, doing documentary or reportage - much of it so-called social, with the focus on the living conditions of the city poor and country bumpkin. In addition, HC-B also had access to the opposite end of Parisian society and covered events in that world, too.

Klein made a massive part of his reputation from his street books on New York and Rome; he did others, too. He made an enviable reputation for himself in the world of fashion photography and also produced films, both documentary and entertainment. He was not stuck in any mould. And when you look at the work in the city books, you also learn that every image stands tall as a unique, great still. It is said that you can take any frame from his movies and the visual content in it, too, makes a wonderful still shot.

As ever, the magic is in the eye, the imagination of the man with the camera.

And the thing about the above work, and why it differs in every respect from what you are describing is this: today, we do not see those left-wing magazines that provided the serial publishing space for the documentary photography of those guys, but, we do get to see the work in book form, in gallery collections or on the web; and guess what: whether as single, isolated image within the covers of a book, on a wall in a bar, those pictures have the power to grab you, tell you something and all without supporting bumff or additional images. The images are strong enough to stand alone.

Yes, I do realize, Rob

I hope my crappy English donít create to much confusion.

I said: street Ďorí the other approach.

I donít disagree on most what you say, only, evolution of photography didnít stop late 70ís.

What about the work of Nan Golding. It was not defined in the HCB era, it was a new approach, completely new. I suppose you agree it doesnít comply with the 1960 definitions of photographic styles.


I think the statement : ĎA picture should stand on is owní is correct, but it should not necessarily tell the story on its own. A series of standing on its own picture can tell a story, document a situation, etc.

Where exactly am I wrong?

Cheers Ivo
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Rob C

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #35 on: May 22, 2018, 07:24:42 am »

Yes, I do realize, Rob

I hope my crappy English donít create to much confusion.

I said: street Ďorí the other approach.

I donít disagree on most what you say, only, evolution of photography didnít stop late 70ís.

What about the work of Nan Golding. It was not defined in the HCB era, it was a new approach, completely new. I suppose you agree it doesnít comply with the 1960 definitions of photographic styles.


I think the statement : ĎA picture should stand on is owní is correct, but it should not necessarily tell the story on its own. A series of standing on its own picture can tell a story, document a situation, etc.

Where exactly am I wrong?

Cheers Ivo


Don't worry about your English - it is perfectly fine as it is.

You ask for a view on Nan Goldin: I find her hard to take seriously despite her success. In my view, she is the epitome of navel-gazing obsession. Her photographs may be filled with meaning to her, but I don't want to share her preoccupation with Nan G in any way or form. Exactly the same feeling informs my relationship with Larry Clark as per Tulsa. To me, the best thing out of Tulsa is the song, Tulsa Time.

In a way, Sally Mann does self-centred work, but it has the massive plus of beauty. Even a saint could not crown Nan with that quality.

But the thing is, neither Sally nor Nan claim to be street photographers, though.

Pictures standing on their own. Well, rereading my post, I don't find where I suggested single pictures are obliged to tell tales. What I do suggest, however, is that if successful, they have power, even alone, and that is sufficient to validate their existence. Very often there is no story, only emotional content which it's up to a viewer to get or not. In fact, single pictures telling a story is a bit of a contradiction in thought: a story demands continuity, as in a movie. All a good still offers is an emotional kick, not a defined one in any prescribed way, by any means, though there are exceptions to that.

In the snapshot of the person on the beach, there is none of this.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 08:29:19 am by Rob C »
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RSL

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #36 on: May 22, 2018, 08:44:33 am »


Do you understand what you are really indicating here?

The thing you have just described is not street, not is it documentary. And here is why: HC-B, Ronis, Doisneau, Klein, Winogrand - all of those people shot what has become the de facto visual definition of street and/or documentary; on top of that, the first three people also made their pennies by working for the magazines, doing documentary or reportage - much of it so-called social, with the focus on the living conditions of the city poor and country bumpkin. In addition, HC-B also had access to the opposite end of Parisian society and covered events in that world, too.

Klein made a massive part of his reputation from his street books on New York and Rome; he did others, too. He made an enviable reputation for himself in the world of fashion photography and also produced films, both documentary and entertainment. He was not stuck in any mould. And when you look at the work in the city books, you also learn that every image stands tall as a unique, great still. It is said that you can take any frame from his movies and the visual content in it, too, makes a wonderful still shot.

As ever, the magic is in the eye, the imagination of the man with the camera.

And the thing about the above work, and why it differs in every respect from what you are describing is this: today, we do not see those left-wing magazines that provided the serial publishing space for the documentary photography of those guys, but, we do get to see the work in book form, in gallery collections or on the web; and guess what: whether as single, isolated image within the covers of a book, on a wall in a bar, those pictures have the power to grab you, tell you something and all without supporting bumff or additional images. The images are strong enough to stand alone.

Rob's put his finger on the thing that defines street photography as a genre. And I'm guilty of misusing the word "story" when I say that a street shot needs to tell a story. A good street shot has the power to grab you, and is strong enough to stand alone. It's not that a good street shot tells a story; it's that a good street shot conveys something important about being human. The very best convey an intense look into human relationships.

This one, Cartier-Bresson's "The Locks at Bougival" is an example. He made this picture in 1955, 63 years ago. The whole thing is outdated -- not the kind of thing "moving forward" snappers are looking for. I don't know whether or not families still haul freight up and down the Seine in their boats. I doubt it. And I doubt most people dress like these people. And yet. . . what's in this picture is timeless. It's not the surroundings. It's not the dress. It's not the boat. It's the people and their relationships, and a bit of ambiguity in the fact that a grandmother is with the group. It grabs you, and it'll always grab people as long as there are people.

One thing I remember from the days of Look and Life and the Saturday Evening Post and their imitators: the front picture in a picture story often was what I'd call a street shot -- one that had the kind of human interest that's in HCB's shot and enough ambiguity to make you look at the rest of the pictures and maybe even read the text to see what's going on.

Really good street is powerful stuff, and really good street is self-contained. It's all in a single image.

Ivo_B

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #37 on: May 22, 2018, 01:01:58 pm »

Ok, we are narrowing the gap in understanding each other. :-)

I agree with you. A picture should have the power to grab the viewer, in that sense, a picture should stand on it's own.
And ok, I understand Russ last message about the misuse of the word 'story'.

Let's narrow the gap further and talk about this:




In a way, Sally Mann does self-centred work, but it has the massive plus of beauty. Even a saint could not crown Nan with that quality.



Lets look at this image of Nan Goldin.
Doesn't this tell a story?
Is this not powerful.
Maybe not the beauty that we like to see...
Is this (social) documentary?
I don't know, I don't care.
This is one of the few pictures engraved on the inside of my scull, I have a not small number of HCB images in memory, but non of them have the impact of this Nan Goldin shot.
(I'm not an absolute fan of Nan, and I do understand the feeling about navel gazing....)




Is it fine to say good, strong, images are not necessarily beautiful or well composed or even not properly exposed?



« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 01:51:39 pm by Ivo_B »
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Ivo_B

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2018, 01:49:16 pm »

In addition to the previous, let's take a look to the work of Mary Ellen Mark, More specific the series of portraits, situational snaps, she made of Tiny, A girl she met and followed for 20 years. The photo's are worth looking on its own, but the real power is in the series, seeing Tiny getting older and grooved by life.

Or the reportage of the family Damm, a handful of shots exposing the drama in several layers, the drama of homeless families living in cars and the underlying drama of abuse of drugs and sexual abuse. Again, the strength is in the series of pictures, because the series is telling the layered story and expose the complexity of the Damm family situation, this would never be the case only by one picture, how strong that one image would be.
I absolutely enjoy and respect the work of p.e. HCB. But HCB never reached to bone out the subjects he was framing, maybe he didn't care because he was to much obsessed by the beauty of his decisive moment and sound composition.

This is why I hardly can agree to say 'street photography' is the highest form of photography.
It sure is an eloquent way of framing human behavior and that's fine, but it tends to be elitist and life is not eloquent, beautiful or simple enough to frame in one image.





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Rob C

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Re: Is Street Photography Killing Itself?
« Reply #39 on: May 22, 2018, 02:27:02 pm »

Ivo, this has wandered all over the spectrum to the point that it appears to have no end.

With the best will in the world, life's too short to obsess over what another person sees as appropriate classification. Within all genres there will be favourites and others that disgust; 'twas ever so and isn't about to change today.

;-)
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