Years ago I used to paint Cubism. I loved it but basically sucked at it when compared to the work of Picasso. Eventually, I accepted this and took pride in the fact that my works were original creations entirely my own and if Picasso were alive then, he would not be able to paint like me (nor would he want to lol!)
I bring this up because I see a lot of photographers compare their work to the work of others. I think this is a colossal waste of time. Everyone is different therefore everyone produces work that is different. It's OK to admire the work of others and be inspired by it, but more important is to trust ones own instincts and sensibilities when creating their own work. Having ones work accepted or validated by outside influences may be nice, but it's really not something the creators have any control over. What we do have control over is how we go about creating our own work and making it meaningful to us and making it our own. Everything else should just be left to unfold the way it will. To be concerned about it would be to mis-direct ones efforts into a non-creative direction.
Very well spoken Marcmarc!
One thing that always comes back to me is: Of every truth the opposite is equally true. There are rules in photography, but there are also no rules. I understand the people who frown at using a tele. But to categoricly dismiss using one in a street context is beyond me. You might not be "engaged" when using a tele, so no, it is not "that" particular street style. But there are other flavours in life too. This is shot with tele is the street:
So call me a spy with a surveillance camera, I don´t care. To me it is poetry. To me, if it feels good it is good.
But to be really high on my horse, I think that the Struelli photos are very boring at best.
The prostate's even harder to find than the balls.
Originally Posted by Jarter
Lars Daniel. I like that photo and your other street photos.
I checked out the Struelli photos too and wasn't that impressed. It' basically like he was people watching with tunnel vision. He's welcome to do whatever he wants, but here's my beef with them:
There seems to be no consideration of the background. It's like he uses shallow DOF to not have to deal with the background. To me, shooting with a camera is like shooting a real gun with regard to the rule that you should consciously understand what is behind what you are shooting at. It is possible to have some meaningful use of the blur space around the subjects by controlling DOF and thinking about what you want behind them in the photo as Lars has done and that adds a great deal. It's part of the composition. You can't ignore it or bluff it as intended "negative space" afterwards.
Some of the photos were hastily adjusted in terms of levels. Some had sooty whites and others had non-black blacks, such as when shooting into the sun.
I agree, you have to get em where they live.
Originally Posted by JohnRB
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The main "Rule" of street photography is it isn't for the timid or shy, and not everyone is temperamentally suited to it and if it makes you uncomfortable go and do some other type of photography . P.S Beat Struelli's pictures IMO are very ordinary indeed.
Last edited by benjiboy; 05-18-2010 at 09:31 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I agree with you. Usually I'm not so good with street photography, but one day I got lucky. It was a St. Patrick Festival and the people there 'feeling pretty good' so I got a few good shots.
Originally Posted by benjiboy
Rules? Ironically, "street photography" was born with many people doing work that broke what seemed to be rules. Now it seems to be a self-limiting pigeonhole for a lot of people. I recall an article years back by a former street photog who described a feeling of being a "visual athlete" limited to "making better and better catches" by being stuck in the genre...
Why not use a telephoto if it's what you want to do, so long as you know what you're going for and why you're doing it? Yeah, I had to talk many basic photo students out of buying longer lenses and forcing them to engage with a subject for years. But I'm sure there's very interesting work that could be done on the street by breaking out of the Bill Klein in-your-face treatment, specifically exploiting the aesthetics and characteristics of a long lens. Certainly seems to be a way to do it as a self-conscious exploration of surveillance/anonimity/immersion/identity in an urban environment. Kind of an inverse Friedlander thing, maybe...picking an individual out of the fabric of things rather than integrating him into a complex, layered environment. Dunno; it's not something I'd do, but I can't imagine there's no one out there who could make it work.
Using a long lens as a substitute when you'd really *prefer* to be closer up isn't the way to do it, though. Magnification is no substitute for proximity, if proximity (and intimacy, in the sense of integration/identification with the subject rather than intrusion on it from afar) is what you want.
Edit: And my opinion is that the photos referenced in the original post aren't particularly interesting to me...they do really seem like he wants to be closer, but just isn't.
The issue with street photography these days is that the "genre" is too self-aware. So begins/continues it's decay.
Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.
I browse the site and foung his pictures pretty boring.
IMO, what is interesting with street photogtaphy is to capture a link between a subject and his environment. There, subject are most of the time inexpressive and you can barely see what surround them.
Not (at all) the kind of picture I appreciate...