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Author Topic: Roadside memorials  (Read 3848 times)

Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2018, 05:45:33 am »

If you would post the images that would be very interesting. Thank you. Who puts the memorials up and for what? Is it road dearthís? Is so I will down to shoot them shortly. I grew up in KZN. Went to school in Pinetown, Dundee and Maritzburg. Born in Newcastle. I am often down that way and donít need much of an excuse to visit.

I am going to try and find a sponsor for the book. I agree that a book makes no financial sense in South Africa. Unless you want to reduce your tax burden and I donít have that problem. I am prepared to self publish if I must.

Strange that you donít see the memorials much in KZN. What I can tell you is most of the names on the memorials are Afrikaans. A few black names and a very few English. The Afrikaans names could of course be colored but the colored community up here is very small. Perhaps this is more of an Afrikaans cultural phenomena in South Africa. I wonder if I would find more in upcountry KZN where the Afrikaans community is larger than in Durban for example.

There are also more of these things than people realize. I have found about 25 in fairly close proximity, two hour drive, to where I live. When I tell people they are always surprised. People donít notice them. I spotted two on a road I have driven several times in the past month so yesterday went out to shoot them. Drove slowly and found six on that road in total. I didnít notice them on a general drive and I am always on the lookout.

If you spot any please let me know. Next time I head to the coast I will look them up. Perhaps we could meet for a coffee if you are up for that.
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RSL

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2018, 08:17:00 am »

Hi Martin, Here's one from New Mexico in 2003. New Mexico is loaded with these. Their approach to keeping down drunk driving is to post signs along the highways saying "Don't drink and drive." The number of roadside shrines attests to the fact that many drivers are too drunk to be able to read the signs. I like your roadside shrine shots, but would somebody please explain to me what this has to do with street photography?

Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2018, 09:14:10 am »

It has nothing to do with street photography now. I posted the first image which I felt did fit as a street photograph then I posted more images from the series that kind of drifted from the theme as street. In my defense I would say that this is not the most a thread has ever drifted from its intended theme.

Feel free to ignore anything I post here. You were in the military were you not Russ? So was I, almost 5 years. It wasnít a good fit. Iím not great at rules. Iím conscientious, hard working, tidy, honest and totally sober. Just never did get my head around rules that seemed pointless to me. Now Iím too old to care or really try.
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RSL

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2018, 09:35:48 am »

Thanks, Martin, Thatís a fair explanation, and I agree the thread has ďdriftedĒ away from that initial picture. ďJumpedĒ probably would be a better word for what happened. But I still donít understand what connects that first image to street photography. Are you familiar with Cartier-Bresson or Robert Frank or Elliott Erwitt or Garry Winogrand or Helen Levitt? Iím sorry if I come across as a pest, but street photography has been my favorite thing since 1953, when the Korean war ended and I was in Taegu. Yes, I spent 27 years in the Air Force and went to war three times. In many ways I didnít fit the mold any better than you did, but I fought a lot of the BS successfully, and I loved to fly.

And Iím kicking myself for pushing for a Street Showcase here in LuLa. I wish we could get rid of it. The problem is that itís confusing people. Many seem to think that if they have a photo with a street in it, thatís street photography. Instead of launching into an extended explanation, let me point you to an article I did that was published on LuLa a couple years ago: https://luminous-landscape.com/on-street-photography/.

Iíll drop it at this point. Keep shooting.

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #24 on: August 19, 2018, 09:38:28 am »

Hi Martin, Here's one from New Mexico in 2003. New Mexico is loaded with these. Their approach to keeping down drunk driving is to post signs along the highways saying "Don't drink and drive." The number of roadside shrines attests to the fact that many drivers are too drunk to be able to read the signs. I like your roadside shrine shots, but would somebody please explain to me what this has to do with street photography?

I find it obvious.  They're by or near to the street.

RSL

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #25 on: August 19, 2018, 09:43:57 am »

Thanks, Brian. You just illustrated my point vividly.

Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #26 on: August 19, 2018, 09:49:39 am »

Russ of course I am familiar with Robert Frank. In fact I have his book the Americans. Fair number of images in it that you wouldnít call street I think. I am also very familiar with Bresson. He also shot many images that are not street. Using them as a definition of street is not useful as so much that they did isnít street. So that leaves us once again lacking a real definition.

Let me tell you why I think of this as street. Years ago I saw a great food photograph. In a recipe book. It was a white plate with some brown smears on it and a dirty fork. Recipe was for a chocolate mous. Point is it was so great it was eaten before it could be photographed. My images show death, loss and the attempt by people to immortalize a dead person. All futile and no one to be seen. Itís all about loss. Empty gestures by missing people to dead person. The people are not present, just like the chocolate mous.

Rules are fine Russ, just like the rules of composition. They give you a point of entry and allow a sense of useful rule breaking or rule following. A balance.
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32BT

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2018, 10:18:22 am »

Russ of course I am familiar with Robert Frank. In fact I have his book the Americans. Fair number of images in it that you wouldnít call street I think. I am also very familiar with Bresson. He also shot many images that are not street. Using them as a definition of street is not useful as so much that they did isnít street. So that leaves us once again lacking a real definition.

Let me tell you why I think of this as street. Years ago I saw a great food photograph. In a recipe book. It was a white plate with some brown smears on it and a dirty fork. Recipe was for a chocolate mous. Point is it was so great it was eaten before it could be photographed. My images show death, loss and the attempt by people to immortalize a dead person. All futile and no one to be seen. Itís all about loss. Empty gestures by missing people to dead person. The people are not present, just like the chocolate mous.

Rules are fine Russ, just like the rules of composition. They give you a point of entry and allow a sense of useful rule breaking or rule following. A balance.

The difference though between the chocolate mousse and the shrine is that the former contains a (relatable) story, whereas the shrine tells us prescious little, like an unsolvable puzzle: you can still claim it is a puzzle, but it isn't helping one to consciously or subconsciously fill in the blanks and get a jolt or a higher learning.

In that sense the chocolate mousse picture could be considered "better" street than a shrine. In addition it helps if there are actual humans in the picture that somehow relate to the shrine in a way that makes one think about that relation. Or they obviously caring or careless toward the shrine? (The latter could help to relate the story for example that these shrines have become so ubiquitous that people be become imune toward their meaning).

I vividly remember a picture by a former contributor showing a veteran at the wall of remembrance probably looking for a name, and there is a shadow of a swordlike shape pointing at his head. That makes for great symbolism, that triggers thought. It triggers thoughts in a way that just a shrine, or just the wall with names does not.
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2018, 10:53:17 am »

The difference though between the chocolate mousse and the shrine is that the former contains a (relatable) story, whereas the shrine tells us prescious little, like an unsolvable puzzle: you can still claim it is a puzzle, but it isn't helping one to consciously or subconsciously fill in the blanks and get a jolt or a higher learning.

In that sense the chocolate mousse picture could be considered "better" street than a shrine. In addition it helps if there are actual humans in the picture that somehow relate to the shrine in a way that makes one think about that relation. Or they obviously caring or careless toward the shrine? (The latter could help to relate the story for example that these shrines have become so ubiquitous that people be become imune toward their meaning).

I vividly remember a picture by a former contributor showing a veteran at the wall of remembrance probably looking for a name, and there is a shadow of a swordlike shape pointing at his head. That makes for great symbolism, that triggers thought. It triggers thoughts in a way that just a shrine, or just the wall with names does not.

Yes well it was always a made up story to give Russ something to chew over. I realize itís not really street. Although I think the first image may have just about crept into that genre. By the way they arenít actually shrines. No deity present and not sacred as such. Memorials is what they are. Perhaps they look like shrines as known in other countries but the function and meaning is different in this context.
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Two23

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2018, 11:36:40 am »

I take photos of these roadside shrines every now & then as they can be compelling subjects.  I've seen them from Hawaii to Pennsylvania so I know they must be pretty common in our culture.  Some can get a bit elaborate!  I usually photo them on a gray day, in b&w, with an ancient camera.  For me that captures the mood.  Is it "street" photography?  No.  That is an already defined genre, like portrait photography etc.  I do like seeing how different photographers approach the subject though.  I don't have a lot of authentic "street" photography as I mostly roam the more isolated areas of the Northern Plains, but when I do get to larger cities I am eager to load up a roll of FP4 and hit the downtown!  I am very much in favor of keeping Street Showcase as there aren't any other outlets for it and discussions that I'm aware of.  For me it's interesting and a valuable resource.  Perhaps we need another forum for these offbeat topics that don't really fit what we have?  I propose something like "Catch of the Day" or "Soup du Jour?"  "Catch of the Day" sounds, well, catchy! ;D


Kent in SD
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #30 on: August 19, 2018, 12:19:36 pm »

Well I started shooting these things while driving around looking for landscapes. I tend to place them in a landscape so perhaps I should have posted them there.

I wonít be posting anymore here as it seems to annoy so many people and Iím tired of the debate. Strange that I have always equated creativity with if not breaking rules then at least exploring ways to look at and interpret the rules. Seems that here we are a bit too conservative for that approach.

Very busy period coming up commercially and with personal projects. Need to focus on that a bit more.
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RSL

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #31 on: August 19, 2018, 12:22:54 pm »

Rules are fine Russ, just like the rules of composition. They give you a point of entry and allow a sense of useful rule breaking or rule following. A balance.

Which is exactly why I'd like to get rid of the LuLa Street Showcase. The name "street" in this instance gives a false idea of what street photography is all about unless you've learned what street photography IS all about. Of course HCB shot pictures that weren't street. His pictures of Ghandi's funeral were a long way from street. Capa advised him to call himself a photojournalist and to downplay the street photography. Frank shot pictures that weren't street, but damn few of them were in The Americans. The problem with LuLa's Street Showcase is that it simply intensifies the already existing confusion about street photography.

Two23

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #32 on: August 19, 2018, 12:52:04 pm »

Which is exactly why I'd like to get rid of the LuLa Street Showcase. The name "street" in this instance gives a false idea of what street photography is all about unless you've learned what street photography IS all about.


Get rid of it?  That seems a bit extreme.  It's been popular with members here, and I think it's a valuable outlet for these kinds of photos.  Sure, there are Flickr groups, but the main thing I get from LuLa is discussion/debate.  You just don't see much of that on Flickr etc.  All in all I believe it's been a plus for LuLa.  It has certainly perked up my own semi-dormant interest in the genre, and has helped give LuLa a more rounded offering in general.  While I completely understand your passion, perhaps being a little less.......strident, might in the end bring about the forum "purity" you seek?  A "My way or no way!" approach really doesn't advance your cause in the long run.  I personally am a bit dismayed that a talented & thoughtful photographer has been discouraged from posting photos.


Kent in SD
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Riaan van Wyk

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #33 on: August 19, 2018, 01:14:26 pm »

If you would post the images that would be very interesting. Thank you. Who puts the memorials up and for what? Is it road dearthís? Is so I will down to shoot them shortly. I grew up in KZN. Went to school in Pinetown, Dundee and Maritzburg. Born in Newcastle. I am often down that way and donít need much of an excuse to visit.

I am going to try and find a sponsor for the book. I agree that a book makes no financial sense in South Africa. Unless you want to reduce your tax burden and I donít have that problem. I am prepared to self publish if I must.

Strange that you donít see the memorials much in KZN. What I can tell you is most of the names on the memorials are Afrikaans. A few black names and a very few English. The Afrikaans names could of course be colored but the colored community up here is very small. Perhaps this is more of an Afrikaans cultural phenomena in South Africa. I wonder if I would find more in upcountry KZN where the Afrikaans community is larger than in Durban for example.

There are also more of these things than people realize. I have found about 25 in fairly close proximity, two hour drive, to where I live. When I tell people they are always surprised. People donít notice them. I spotted two on a road I have driven several times in the past month so yesterday went out to shoot them. Drove slowly and found six on that road in total. I didnít notice them on a general drive and I am always on the lookout.

If you spot any please let me know. Next time I head to the coast I will look them up. Perhaps we could meet for a coffee if you are up for that.

Small world.  Born in Empangeni, schooled, married and divorced there and took flight to the northernmost part of KZN soon after, lived in the most rural area you could think of for five years. And then, to quote Uncle Kris, " met a good woman who showed me how to beat the devil"

Have been back in civilization a few years now and live in Richards Bay.

The plaques are more "reminders" it seems of someones passing it would seem. I don't see any trend with regard to who puts these up but in addition to the people you mention I saw an Indian name on one of them, we have a huge Indian community here so it would make sense.

It would be great to meet you Martin, I could also take you for an outing in the harbour here so you can see the treestumps that I have been irritating this forum with for years. Also to show you the plaques, as attached. If you need a place to stay over I'm also happy to oblige, The Blonde will be pleased to meet a real photographer/ artist for a change.

As an aside, I have a popular thread on a local 4x4 forum with various pics from my travels in Zululand, you might find some of it interesting.

https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/showthread.php/263776-Zululand-Travels-and-Pictures


Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #34 on: August 19, 2018, 02:24:01 pm »

Unless a gatekeeper is appointed, this subforum will contain street photography the most people, bar a few initiated, understand as having something to do with street.

Besides, who are those HCBs, Franks, Winogrands, Levitts, etc. Who cares about dead photographers? Do they have Instagram accounts even?

We here, on LuLa, see preciously few good photographs posted. Discouraging a few that still manage to post some, like Martin, just because it doesnít fit the straitjacket definition, is a disservice to LuLa readers.

Martin Kristiansen

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #35 on: August 19, 2018, 02:34:34 pm »

Small world.  Born in Empangeni, schooled, married and divorced there and took flight to the northernmost part of KZN soon after, lived in the most rural area you could think of for five years. And then, to quote Uncle Kris, " met a good woman who showed me how to beat the devil"

Have been back in civilization a few years now and live in Richards Bay.

The plaques are more "reminders" it seems of someones passing it would seem. I don't see any trend with regard to who puts these up but in addition to the people you mention I saw an Indian name on one of them, we have a huge Indian community here so it would make sense.

It would be great to meet you Martin, I could also take you for an outing in the harbour here so you can see the treestumps that I have been irritating this forum with for years. Also to show you the plaques, as attached. If you need a place to stay over I'm also happy to oblige, The Blonde will be pleased to meet a real photographer/ artist for a change.

As an aside, I have a popular thread on a local 4x4 forum with various pics from my travels in Zululand, you might find some of it interesting.

https://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/showthread.php/263776-Zululand-Travels-and-Pictures

I have photos taken of myself by my father while I floated around on Richards bay on a little boat. Not a building there. A clean Pretty lagoon. I will post.

I drive a Toyota 76 Landcruiser myself. Will definately check out your link and plan a visit.
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Ivophoto

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #36 on: August 19, 2018, 03:05:59 pm »



We here, on LuLa, see preciously few good photographs posted. Discouraging a few that still manage to post some, like Martin, just because it doesnít fit the straitjacket definition, is a disservice to LuLa readers.

Hear, hear.
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RSL

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #37 on: August 19, 2018, 03:14:52 pm »

Proves once again that ignorance is bliss. Street is a genre, just as landscape is a genre and informal portraiture is a genre. If you don't understand what belongs in the genre you're a lot better off posting in User Critiques.

But, sorry guys, I understand it's hopeless. You actually have to study a genre to understand what belongs in it. Fat chance of that happening on LuLa.

Two23

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #38 on: August 19, 2018, 04:32:28 pm »

Proves once again that ignorance is bliss. Street is a genre, just as landscape is a genre and informal portraiture is a genre. If you don't understand what belongs in the genre you're a lot better off posting in User Critiques.

But, sorry guys, I understand it's hopeless. You actually have to study a genre to understand what belongs in it. Fat chance of that happening on LuLa.


Maybe street photography is sort of like pornography?  There's no hard & fast objective way to define, but you know it when you see it? ;)

If it gives you any comfort, a month ago I bought a copy of Meyerowitz's book, "Bystander."  I'm slowly plowing through it.


Kent in SD
« Last Edit: August 19, 2018, 04:36:03 pm by Two23 »
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RSL

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Re: Roadside memorials
« Reply #39 on: August 19, 2018, 06:54:59 pm »

Right, Kent. There's no fixed definition for it. How about a fixed definition for landscape? Can you give me one? Can anyone give me one?
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