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Author Topic: Love Real Street  (Read 14787 times)
kencameron
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« Reply #80 on: February 07, 2013, 03:28:12 AM »
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As to the competition angle, I am not persuaded yet by your argument, but if Bloom has that persuasive argument, I'll let you know. I did preciously say, "some do compete," so I have acknowledged it is a choice made by some. 
I am not sure if I have an argument, so much as an observation, that the major artists I can think of are all competitive in one way or another - all aware of the quality in each others' work and determined to do as well or better. I would be keenly interested, and not necessarily surprised, if you could point out any who aren't competitive in that sense. What the Bloom article does is expand on one way in which great writers have been competitive. He is talking about major artists, recognized as such by their contemporaries and/or posterity - as am I. I am sure there are lots of people who think of themselves as artists, and may be entitled to think that way, who aren't particularly competitive. I hope you won't take that personally - I don't mean it that way at all.
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stamper
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« Reply #81 on: February 07, 2013, 03:35:48 AM »
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OK, can someone give me a succinct definition of what "street" photography is?  From this thread it seems that I have been misapprehending.  

Unfortunately there seems to be a "bull in the china shop" in the thread to discuss the meaning properly. Personally I am still trying to fathom it out by reading and looking at this thread. Russ's definition imo is too restricting but he has come to his conclusions after many years - decades - of practising street and I can see where he is coming from. The book

http://streetphotographynowproject.wordpress.com/the-book-2/

is less restricting than Russ's definition, perhaps too liberal in the range of images provided. Possibly there isn't a defining meaning?
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kencameron
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« Reply #82 on: February 07, 2013, 03:50:26 AM »
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OK, can someone give me a succinct definition of what "street" photography is?
What it means is what people who use it mean by it - with some bias towards the views of those who have thought about it a lot.  Even there, seems to be some variation. Eric's contributions provided a humorous corrective to too much definitional agonizing. What Russ calls ambiguity (I am not entirely happy with the word, because to me it implies two possible meanings, and that doesn't seem quite right) is certainly a powerful tool for distinguishing photographs that are interesting in a particular way. I am not sure if it is a winnable battle to seek to confine the phrase "street photography" to photographs that are interesting in that way, although I will probably allow it to govern my own usage from now on.
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opgr
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« Reply #83 on: February 07, 2013, 04:15:14 AM »
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A repeated request but:

1. It would be useful if the opening post actually invites people to add submissions. This would also allow some guidelines to be presented as to what "framework/context" is desired, which would solve a lot of the confusion.

2. It doesn't seem very productive to spam this thread full of images from past and present by only one or two people.

3. While it is useful to discuss contributions and definitions as we go, the current "tone" if you will isn't very inviting. Combined with 2 this thread currently doesn't make for an inviting environment for other people to contribute.

I'm therefore inclined to request a new thread be opened, with a proper invitational opening message, and we try to limit the number of submissions per timeframe. ("inclined" being the operative word here).
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seamus finn
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« Reply #84 on: February 07, 2013, 04:28:38 AM »
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Quote
I managed to get this SNAPSHOT of a recycler.

That's a terrific genuine street shot.

Re my 'humour' shots, it's possible my calibration is off.
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kencameron
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« Reply #85 on: February 07, 2013, 04:34:02 AM »
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I'm therefore inclined to request a new thread be opened, with a proper invitational opening message, and we try to limit the number of submissions per timeframe. ("inclined" being the operative word here).
Maybe you would be the right person to open it. Although I am not too optimistic about the chances of controlling where threads go by anything said in the opening post.
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stamper
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« Reply #86 on: February 07, 2013, 05:13:01 AM »
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I don't see how it can be "cleaned up". If Michael were to agree to a new forum it would help but you can't control how people post. Stricter moderation would probably/possibly spoil contributions. I have posted a few of my own in an endeavour to help the thread along and keep it "live" but I am not holding my breadth.
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Rob C
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« Reply #87 on: February 07, 2013, 05:33:55 AM »
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I don't see how it can be "cleaned up". If Michael were to agree to a new forum it would help but you can't control how people post. Stricter moderation would probably/possibly spoil contributions. I have posted a few of my own in an endeavour to help the thread along and keep it "live" but I am not holding my breadth.



But I am holding a mouse; my fingers are frozen and it's time to go to the chemist and pick up some more pills (I rattle when I move) and then shamble off for another cheap lunch. Followed, with luck, by another flippin' hour of walking along the same darned piers with the wind cutting through everything I can find to wear. Fun, winter ain't! It's cold here at the computer because Mallorcan developers don't build walls with proper insulation: they use cheap hollow bricks and your heating bills go up as the heat goes straight out. No wonder the industry's on its knees.

Rob C
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stamper
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« Reply #88 on: February 07, 2013, 07:48:14 AM »
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An hour ago the post man delivered a book to me. I have no connection with the publishers.

http://www.ephotozine.com/book-review/the-new-street-photographer-s-manifesto-505

176 pages and the size of the book is in a 3.2 format comfortability sitting in a coat pocket. Read about half and must say I am impressed. Nice combination of images and detail and most importantly ....inspirational. A nice tip was if you don't want the public to engage with you - though the book recommends doing so - is to wear head phones and they will probably not talk to you.

What didn't impress me was this book.

http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/David_Busch_s_Portrait_Candid_Street_Pho.html?id=oMOnpwAACAAJ&redir_esc=y

David Busch is a very good writer of photography books in general but the book above dwells mostly exclusively on the technical and repeats information on a few pages. A book that tries to be all things to all people.

Still to read Henri Cartier Bresson's

http://www.flixelpix.com/blog/henri-cartier-bressons-minds-eye-review/

On a personal note I recently bought the Canon sx50 camera. It has a swivel screen with a leveling indicator on the screen. It can therefore be used at waist level. Look down at the screen and the indicator will mean if you line it up the image shouldn't be of at an angle. Less likely to be noticed doing this?



« Last Edit: February 07, 2013, 07:49:45 AM by stamper » Logged

RSL
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« Reply #89 on: February 07, 2013, 08:28:13 AM »
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I agree with Ken. "Ambiguity" doesn't come close to adequately describing what makes street photography street photography. And I don't even like the term "street photography." I wish there were a better name for it. If you don't know much about the history of photography the term "street photography" implies that you can grab a camera, go out in the street, start shooting, and have street photography. And that assumption seems sensible even if it's wrong.

Street photography's development goes back at least as far as Andre Kertesz, but it really was defined by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Young Henri was one of André Breton's acolytes. He'd attend Breton's gatherings and sit silently in awe during the discussions of surrealism and readings of André's surrealist poems, and when he started walking the streets of Paris with his Leica the surrealism spilled over into his photography. But those early pictures aren't quite surrealistic, and, I think, "ambiguity" comes as close as any word I can find to describe the merger of surrealism and the kind of realism you can't avoid within a well-composed photograph. When Cartier-Bresson joined with Bob Capa, Chim, George Rodger and Bill Vandivert to start Magnum, Capa had to advise him to avoid the "little surrealist" reputation being hung on him and call himself a photojournalist.

Which brings us to the difference between street photography and journalism, or, to put it in a more general way, documentation. As I'm sure Seamus with his background in journalism can tell you, for the most part photographs to be used in journalism can't afford to be surrealistic or even ambiguous. The whole point of photojournalism is explication, and surrealism most emphatically doesn't explain. But I said "for the most part." I've seen plenty of photojournalistic spreads in magazines like Life or Look where the central photograph was ambiguous enough to grab your attention and get you to read the article. Often the photojournalism was by HCB.

So if someone can come up with a better term than "street photograph" for a photograph that includes people or their artifacts in somewhat surrealistic juxtapositions, let's have it. But, as I've said before, there's no way to come to terms with the definition of whatever you call that kind of photography without studying its early masters. Words can point to it but they can't define it. You need to internalize the art to understand.
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Rob C
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« Reply #90 on: February 07, 2013, 08:28:55 AM »
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Stamp, this 'problem' about being noticed: it seems to me you are doing something that you really feel you ought not to be doing; go with your gut and do something else!

For example: a couple of hours ago I wrote that I was going for lunch and then the medicinal walk. As it happened, I made about the first twenty-five yards of the pier and realised that were I to continue, at the very least I'd lose the bandana and in the worst case, I'd end up in the sea myself. I took the advice of natural instinct and returned home, praying that no roof tiles would come from above and split me in twain. So far, so good. So yes, do follow instinct and leave those people in the street be!

You really can live perfectly happily without them.

;-)

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #91 on: February 07, 2013, 08:37:13 AM »
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I agree with Ken. "Ambiguity" doesn't come close to adequately describing what makes street photography street photography. And I don't even like the term "street photography." I wish there were a better name for it. If you don't know much about the history of photography the term "street photography" implies that you can grab a camera, go out in the street, start shooting, and have street photography. And that assumption seems sensible even if it's wrong.

Street photography's development goes back at least as far as Andre Kertesz, but it really was defined by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Young Henri was one of André Breton's acolytes. He'd attend Breton's gatherings and sit silently in awe during the discussions of surrealism and readings of André's surrealist poems, and when he started walking the streets of Paris with his Leica the surrealism spilled over into his photography. But those early pictures aren't quite surrealistic, and, I think, "ambiguity" comes as close as any word I can find to describe the merger of surrealism and the kind of realism you can't avoid within a well-composed photograph. When Cartier-Bresson joined with Bob Capa, Chim, George Rodger and Bill Vandivert to start Magnum, Capa had to advise him to avoid the "little surrealist" reputation being hung on him and call himself a photojournalist.

Which brings us to the difference between street photography and journalism, or, to put it in a more general way, documentation. As I'm sure Seamus with his background in journalism can tell you, for the most part photographs to be used in journalism can't afford to be surrealistic or even ambiguous. The whole point of photojournalism is explication, and surrealism most emphatically doesn't explain. But I said "for the most part." I've seen plenty of photojournalistic spreads in magazines like Life or Look where the central photograph was ambiguous enough to grab your attention and get you to read the article. Often the photojournalism was by HCB.

So if someone can come up with a better term than "street photograph" for a photograph that includes people or their artifacts in somewhat surrealistic juxtapositions, let's have it. But, as I've said before, there's no way to come to terms with the definition of whatever you call that kind of photography without studying its early masters. Words can point to it but they can't define it. You need to internalize the art to understand.



But Russ, you know perfectly well that there already was a good term for it: candid photography. It's connotations were universally known and understood, and only its slide into obscurity has led to the possibility of new eyes misinterpreting its meaning. Just as with gay: it used to be a perfectly usable word in the appropriate circumstances; now, it's been hijacked and denied its legitimate use altogether; there must be battalions of hussars turning in their graves...

Rob C

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RedwoodGuy
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« Reply #92 on: February 07, 2013, 08:48:43 AM »
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On a personal note I recently bought the Canon sx50 camera. It has a swivel screen with a leveling indicator on the screen. It can therefore be used at waist level. Look down at the screen and the indicator will mean if you line it up the image shouldn't be of at an angle. Less likely to be noticed doing this?


Could be. But it also might mean missing the photo too. I wouldn't consider being noticed a problem. Here's a fun video of Joel Meyerwitz doing street photography. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UspoolSnZtg&list=WL23E038A1FCEB030F
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amolitor
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« Reply #93 on: February 07, 2013, 09:19:22 AM »
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Sontag makes the claim that Photography is the only actual Surrealist art form. She explicitly chucks out pretty much of actual surrealism to make her claim stick, effectively re-defining the word completely until it fits all of photography and none of surrealism.

So, it's pretty much crap, but as with so much of Sontag there's the germ of something in there. I haven't got my arms around it yet, but it's more than just "some photographers did surrealism" and less than "photography is the True Surrealist Art". I think.
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Rob C
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« Reply #94 on: February 07, 2013, 09:43:11 AM »
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Sontag makes the claim that Photography is the only actual Surrealist art form. She explicitly chucks out pretty much of actual surrealism to make her claim stick, effectively re-defining the word completely until it fits all of photography and none of surrealism.

So, it's pretty much crap, but as with so much of Sontag there's the germ of something in there. I haven't got my arms around it yet, but it's more than just "some photographers did surrealism" and less than "photography is the True Surrealist Art". I think.



I read the famous essay on our 'thing' and can't claim to have been impressed. As with all pundits who simply observe and then write, the reality often has little to do with what's written.

Her relationship with Annie may or may not have had an effect on Annie's snaps, but I do believe the early stuff for Rolling Stone was better/more interesting(?) than the later glossy work I've managed to catch here and there. Perhaps too much external input kiills an 'artist's' personality, leaving them not really knowing any longer exactly who they are. I believe that starting to introspect about your work is the worst thing you can do. You should always retain your personal virginity and just do what you do. If it brings you success, it's because people like what you actually do, not that which someone else may later con you into thinking you should do; there's a lot of 'control' and powerplay that comes into some relationships - if you let it...

It's why I dislike the idea of critique. I think it both futile and insidiously destructive

Rob C
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James Clark
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« Reply #95 on: February 07, 2013, 09:59:04 AM »
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I agree with Ken. "Ambiguity" doesn't come close to adequately describing what makes street photography street photography. And I don't even like the term "street photography." I wish there were a better name for it. If you don't know much about the history of photography the term "street photography" implies that you can grab a camera, go out in the street, start shooting, and have street photography. And that assumption seems sensible even if it's wrong.

Street photography's development goes back at least as far as Andre Kertesz, but it really was defined by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Young Henri was one of André Breton's acolytes. He'd attend Breton's gatherings and sit silently in awe during the discussions of surrealism and readings of André's surrealist poems, and when he started walking the streets of Paris with his Leica the surrealism spilled over into his photography. But those early pictures aren't quite surrealistic, and, I think, "ambiguity" comes as close as any word I can find to describe the merger of surrealism and the kind of realism you can't avoid within a well-composed photograph. When Cartier-Bresson joined with Bob Capa, Chim, George Rodger and Bill Vandivert to start Magnum, Capa had to advise him to avoid the "little surrealist" reputation being hung on him and call himself a photojournalist.

Which brings us to the difference between street photography and journalism, or, to put it in a more general way, documentation. As I'm sure Seamus with his background in journalism can tell you, for the most part photographs to be used in journalism can't afford to be surrealistic or even ambiguous. The whole point of photojournalism is explication, and surrealism most emphatically doesn't explain. But I said "for the most part." I've seen plenty of photojournalistic spreads in magazines like Life or Look where the central photograph was ambiguous enough to grab your attention and get you to read the article. Often the photojournalism was by HCB.

So if someone can come up with a better term than "street photograph" for a photograph that includes people or their artifacts in somewhat surrealistic juxtapositions, let's have it. But, as I've said before, there's no way to come to terms with the definition of whatever you call that kind of photography without studying its early masters. Words can point to it but they can't define it. You need to internalize the art to understand.


Well, there you have it.  I'm not sure it's necessary to quibble over what make a "proper" "street photograph," but that one sentence is a nice attempt at what makes an *interesting* photograph in the genre.  Combine that with some semblance of generally decent composition and a smidgen of technical competence, and you have yourself a "street photograph."

More pictures and less talk, anyone?   Cool
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #96 on: February 07, 2013, 04:38:19 PM »
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More pictures and less talk, anyone?   Cool
+10.
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stamper
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« Reply #97 on: February 08, 2013, 02:57:59 AM »
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Quote Russ Reply #89

So if someone can come up with a better term than "street photograph" for a photograph that includes people or their artifacts in somewhat surrealistic juxtapositions

Unquote

Urban reality?
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Mjollnir
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« Reply #98 on: February 08, 2013, 09:49:08 AM »
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Well, there you have it.  I'm not sure it's necessary to quibble over what make a "proper" "street photograph," but that one sentence is a nice attempt at what makes an *interesting* photograph in the genre.  Combine that with some semblance of generally decent composition and a smidgen of technical competence, and you have yourself a "street photograph."

More pictures and less talk, anyone?   Cool

Precisely.

All this blather about what properly constitutes an X photograph versus a Y photograph brings to mind the idiocy of those who insist there are 'landscape lenses' and 'portrait lenses'.
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nemo295
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« Reply #99 on: February 08, 2013, 11:09:07 AM »
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Precisely.

All this blather about what properly constitutes an X photograph versus a Y photograph brings to mind the idiocy of those who insist there are 'landscape lenses' and 'portrait lenses'.

I agree. Only the image matters. I don't care about labels; I only want to produce images that work on a visceral level for me. If the public likes them, all the better. If others want to bicker over how to categorize them, let them. It's no concern of mine. I just want to take photographs. And I only think about the lens and all my other gear in terms of whether it will enable me to capture the scene in the way I want and whether it happens to be in my camera bag when I need it.
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