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Author Topic: Street photographs...Joburg...  (Read 3766 times)
ivan muller
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« on: July 04, 2012, 04:03:24 AM »
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..as seen at the 'fete de la musique' in Melville, Johannesburg last Saturday...many more images of this fantastic street party here at...http://www.ivanmuller.co.za/blog-item/street-photographs-fete-de-la-musique-melville-johannesburg

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Tony Jay
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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2012, 05:10:22 AM »
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Well Ivan, you sure do get around!

Your photographic diet is somewhat omniverous but this image is definately of your staple - a typically gritty street image.
Melville has likely changed out of all recognition since I was last there but the commercial strip did have a lot of character.

I really think you enjoy this genre of photography and it shows.

Look forward to seeing more.

Regards

Tony Jay
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RSL
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« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2012, 10:20:40 AM »
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Sorry, Ivan, afraid I'm going to be the nasty in this thread. I've run through the series you posted on your blog, and I see two that have enough story mixed with ambiguity to make them street photographs. The others are pictures of people on a street. Which is not to say that the series isn't an interesting documentary on the Fete de la Musique.

To try to illustrate what I mean, I'm going to refer you to Seamus's "Galway Street" post. Keep in mind that my evaluation is based strictly on my not-at-all-humble opinion, and, as usual, other opinions may vary.

Seamus included four pictures in his post. Technically, all four are superb. The range of tones fills the expanse available on a well-calibrated LCD monitor, and nothing's left out among the mid tones.

#1 is a fine shot. Here's an interesting looking guy carrying his bike. But that's all I see. It's a great picture, but in my estimation it doesn't make it as a street shot. I don't see a story, and there's no ambiguity. The guy's just carrying a bike. If more of his surroundings were included there might be a story, depending on what's there, but he stands alone -- a guy in the street. This is documentation, but not street photography.

#2 is different. Why is the kid touching the statue's leg? Is he (she?) just checking to see what the material feels like, or is there something on the leg that he's examining. the arrangement of the statues with the kid located a third of the way in from the left and his face a third of the way up from the bottom is classic composition (oh those damned rules again). In my estimation the picture just makes it over the edge into street photography country.

#3 essentially is two guys sitting on a street bench, shooting the breeze. Actually, there are three scenes in this picture. The two kids stage left, the two guys in the middle, and the woman stage right and high. It almost makes it as street photography because of the posture and expression on the guy in the exact middle. It's a very fine shot, but weak as a street photograph.

#4. Bingo! Wow. What's that guy doing? Did he draw the mural? Is he vandalizing the mural? What's the relationship between the guy and the mural? The scene shades into oblivion in the dark left, but the darkness makes the subdued part of the mural seem ominous. This is street photography in spades. As HCB pointed out, it's all luck, but you have to prepare yourself for the luck and be ready.

Hope I haven't insulted anyone, but that's my take. I've loved good street photography since at least the mid fifties, and for anyone really interested in the subject I've posted an annotated bibliography at http://www.russ-lewis.com/Bib/Bib.html. The bibliography isn't confined to street, but street is heavily represented. There also are two articles I wrote last year on street photography. I couldn't find a taker, and finally posted them for links like this: http://www.externalconnections.info/Articles/OnStreetPhotography.html, and http://www.externalconnections.info/Articles/WhyDoStreetPhotography.html.
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amolitor
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« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2012, 11:20:16 AM »
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I will briefly hijack the thread: That's some fine writing there, Russ.
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ivan muller
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« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2012, 12:21:40 PM »
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hi Russ,

I briefly looked at Seamus's images and yes I have to agree number #4 is great! I like my 35mm people images to be a bit more gritty and grainy and contrasty...I don't really aim for technical perfection....I will probably get over it at some stage! Semantics aside I don't really know what to call these images but generally I prefer to photograph or rather do portraits of people in and off the street...these were almost cheating a bit because it was a street party and obviously made it a bit easier to stick your camera in someones face, well at least it was the case with me...

I am off to the KNP tomorrow so really haven't had time to really study your reply, which I appreciate greatly, and will do soon, and no I don't think its nasty at all, how can such an honest, elegant well thought out reply be...?

so Tony, thanks, and expect some animal pics next week when I come back from my trip to the KNP!
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popnfresh
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« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2012, 01:47:06 PM »
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Sorry, Ivan, afraid I'm going to be the nasty in this thread. I've run through the series you posted on your blog, and I see two that have enough story mixed with ambiguity to make them street photographs. The others are pictures of people on a street. Which is not to say that the series isn't an interesting documentary on the Fete de la Musique.


Everyone has their opinions and I have a very different take on both Seamus's and Ivan's photographs. Both are street photographers, but with very different approaches. Seamus's compositions are simple, Ivan's are complex. You can get what's going on right away in Seamus's photographs. A little girl touches a stature. A guy is doing something to a mural. A guy carries his bicycle. All very nice in their way, but I have ask myself "so what?". There's really nothing all that interesting going on in any of them. In one aspect, they are closer to the spirit of a classic street shot, a la Cartier-Bresson, in their directness. But what they lack is interest and composition. By contrast, Ivan's photographs draw you in. I'll take the liberty of posting one of his shots here to use as an example. At first glance it's a mundane photo of a street vendor standing by a column, selling green melons on a table. Looking closer, it becomes evident there's more going on. Behind him to the left is a reflection in a window. It's a green plant in a pot next to a column, framed in the window, inside the frame of the photograph. A frame within a frame containing a similar scene. Suddenly the image becomes interesting. I found much to appreciate in all of Ivan's images. He displayed a sensitivity to composition and light that held my interest. Seamus's, I'm afraid, did not.
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RSL
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« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2012, 02:24:31 PM »
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As I said, Pop, opinions will vary. The shot of Ivan's you picked out happens to be one of the two I'd have called a street photograph. Yes, the surroundings make it work, especially they guy who looks like a hobo, stage right, who's being ignored by the vendor. The fact that Ivan and his camera are in the picture sort of detracts, but not much, and I'm sure Lee Friedlander wouldn't agree with me on that point.

But I have to confess the fact that Seamus's sensitivity to composition and light didn't hold your interest astonished me, and sent me searching back through earlier threads to find a few of your own pictures that might give me a clue to the source of such a bizarre view. I went back as far as early March and couldn't find any, so I really have no idea what kind of photography you do.

What I see in Ivan's series is some pretty good photojournalism, but photojournalism isn't street photography, though individual street photographs sometimes can be photojournalism.

Bottom line is, everybody has a right to his own opinion.
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« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2012, 02:28:36 PM »
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I will briefly hijack the thread: That's some fine writing there, Russ.


Thanks, Andrew. I do enjoy writing, but I hate marketing. If you're interested, here are four short stories I wrote back in 1975 and never sent out: http://www.russ-lewis.com/asia/Shorts/preface.html.
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popnfresh
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« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2012, 03:29:08 PM »
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As I said, Pop, opinions will vary. The shot of Ivan's you picked out happens to be one of the two I'd have called a street photograph. Yes, the surroundings make it work, especially they guy who looks like a hobo, stage right, who's being ignored by the vendor. The fact that Ivan and his camera are in the picture sort of detracts, but not much, and I'm sure Lee Friedlander wouldn't agree with me on that point.

But I have to confess the fact that Seamus's sensitivity to composition and light didn't hold your interest astonished me, and sent me searching back through earlier threads to find a few of your own pictures that might give me a clue to the source of such a bizarre view. I went back as far as early March and couldn't find any, so I really have no idea what kind of photography you do.

What I see in Ivan's series is some pretty good photojournalism, but photojournalism isn't street photography, though individual street photographs sometimes can be photojournalism.

Bottom line is, everybody has a right to his own opinion.


Technically, Seamus's photographs cannot be faulted, in my opinion, but they failed to rise above the level of ordinary snapshots in every other way. I should add that I've seen much better work from Seamus than those particular examples.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 03:39:17 PM by popnfresh » Logged
RSL
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« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2012, 05:08:02 PM »
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Well, as you can see, Pop, we don't agree. But your critique? of Seamus's four doesn't turn Ivan's series into street photography.

If you have a web, or if you've posted some of your own photographs somewhere I'd like to be able to take a look at them. Seems to me you've posted here on LuLa, but I can't seem to find an instance. My faith in the value of any photographic criticism depends a lot on what I see in the critic's own work.
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popnfresh
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« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2012, 05:35:00 PM »
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Well, as you can see, Pop, we don't agree. But your critique? of Seamus's four doesn't turn Ivan's series into street photography.

If you have a web, or if you've posted some of your own photographs somewhere I'd like to be able to take a look at them. Seems to me you've posted here on LuLa, but I can't seem to find an instance. My faith in the value of any photographic criticism depends a lot on what I see in the critic's own work.


Just as your critique means that it isn't. As far as my photographs are concerned, I've posted plenty here. Not that it's in any way relevant. I don't need you to have faith in me, nor do I need to have any faith in you.  My photography doesn't give my opinions any special authority just as your photographs give none to yours.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2012, 05:41:40 PM by popnfresh » Logged
RSL
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« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2012, 08:10:48 PM »
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But you didn't answer my question.
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amolitor
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2012, 05:29:10 AM »
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I recommend against arguing over definitions. This isn't the only point of disagreement here, but it's one of them.

Russ, try sorting the forum by the name of the person who started the thread. Clicking any of the headings should resort the whole thing by the clicked column. Then you can dig through pages for everything started by sound so, which will probably hav ephotograohs, in youthis forum. Getting to those people in the middle of the alphabet is a pain, but do use the Last link to get to the end so you can work backwards, as appropriate.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2012, 09:05:39 AM »
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But you didn't answer my question.
I got curious, too, so I clicked on Pop's "profile" button and then the "show recent posts" button, which let me hastily skim through his (at this point) 874 posts looking for photos of his own that he posted. I found about thirteen such posts, some with several images (also a few where he suggested modifications to someone else's image). Here are links to most of the threads that have images by Popinfresh:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=36598.msg300513#msg300513
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=38846.msg321139#msg321139]
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=38857.msg321246#msg321246
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=46296.msg387643#msg387643
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=51570.msg424365#msg424365
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=36142.msg296574#msg296574
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=40516.msg336951#msg336951
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=67401.msg533164#msg533164
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=46403.msg388520#msg388520
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=44363.msg416354#msg416354
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=49820.msg410730#msg410730

Pop's critiques of other's work vastly outnumber his own image posts (that's true for me, too, I'm afraid). His critiques have incuded many incisive comments, IMHO.

Eric
« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 09:08:45 AM by Eric Myrvaagnes » Logged

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RSL
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« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2012, 09:57:57 AM »
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You're right, Andrew. Arguing about definitions doesn't make sense, and usually I steer away from that kind of argument. I guess what made me jump the track is that Pop and I agree far, far more often than we disagree, and his take on #4 in Seamus's post just blew my mind. It's one of the finest examples of street photography I've seen on LuLa.

Thanks, Eric. Andrew's suggestion made sense, but searching by name is an exercise in futility. Once you get to what you're after and finish with one post you're back at the beginning. It's pretty hard to look at a series of posts that way. Eric's list really helps, and I see, and now remember, some excellent work by Pop. I wish he'd put them together on a personal web.

Pop, please accept my apology for getting carried away. But. . .  we just found one more thing we disagree about. In my estimation, one's ability or lack of ability actually to do a particular thing stands very much behind the validity of the person's comments on that thing. What gave HCB's statements on photography in The Decisive Moment so much importance for photographers was the quality of his photographs. The man wrote very well, but his incisive comments on photography would have fallen flat had Henri's photographs not been what they were.

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popnfresh
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« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2012, 03:10:38 PM »
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Pop, please accept my apology for getting carried away. But. . .  we just found one more thing we disagree about. In my estimation, one's ability or lack of ability actually to do a particular thing stands very much behind the validity of the person's comments on that thing. What gave HCB's statements on photography in The Decisive Moment so much importance for photographers was the quality of his photographs. The man wrote very well, but his incisive comments on photography would have fallen flat had Henri's photographs not been what they were.

Thank you, Russ, but really, no apology was necessary.

But just to get back to the disagreement for a moment....

One does not need to engage in an art form as a prerequisite for being able to offer insightful critiques of that art form. Just as one doesn't need to make movies in order to be a good movie critic or write novels to be a book critic. And certainly one does not need to have a government job before one can thoughtfully criticize government. All anyone really needs in order to critique art is a good aesthetic sensibility and the ability to talk about it intelligently. Some knowledge of the history of the medium usually helps too.
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RSL
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« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2012, 08:20:46 PM »
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Okay Pop, that's one more thing we can agree on: we agree to disagree.
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ivan muller
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« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2012, 02:03:09 AM »
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hi Pop, thanks for the kind words! Sorry for the delay in my reply but I have just come back from a weekend in the Kruger park and my smartphone wasn't smart enough to get any reception there...

Of course we all have our own opinions and none are right or wrong...One way I have taught myself 'photographic vision' is just to look at the photographs of the masters over and over...I suppose in a way those visuals 'sink in' somehow and then when I see something those images that I admired 'kick' in and if the scene I am looking at 'fits in' with whats been stored in my mind then I have a positive reaction to it or I perhaps 'recognize it' and that's how I 'see'..sure I must have some original input but looking at great images must also have some sort of a visual impact on how I see...perhaps that's why Pop and I see the same and Russ doesn't....as soon as we step out of a create mode into a record mode (which is how I see myself) then nothing is original anyway...we just happen to see and record things (that others don't)
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Rob C
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« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2012, 02:48:04 AM »
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I think Ivan's right. In the end, nothing can be totally original anymore because it has all  been done before, for better or for worse.

I agree that we do store up mental pictures of something (images) seen and liked, and that trace memory settles our own future as photographers. This is no bad thing, because at the very least, it allows us to determine what appeals to us, right from the start, and to follow suit along lines that are going to please us. Why do anything else?

There was never any ambiguity in my own choice of subjects - just difficulty in bringing the thing together, i.e. finding a market to support it. Though able to appreciate other genres, obviously enough, that doesn't imply that I feel any internal pressure to play those games myself. In the end, I think we just gravitate towards things that naturally attract us and hope we find the means to do them. Doesn't always happen: I love yachts, but go figure out a way for me to afford one of my own and I'll be grateful for the rest of my days... even if I know better now than to buy one.

Rob C
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ivan muller
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« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2012, 06:31:35 AM »
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Rob, as usual very well said...!
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