I've looked at the You Tube pictures referred to, and unless I'm missing something, I fail to see anything in these "street pictures". Certainly if you look at the Henri Cartier-Bresson pictures on the same site, they are a world away in terms of style and quality.
Perhaps the problem is there just is not that much "street life" anymore. In our consumer orientated society, the streets have become "sanitised"...the "characters" long since departed. People exist in their "telly dominated" world of soap operas and stupid quiz shows. When they do venture out, it's straight into the BMW parked on the driveway.....
I believe it's called progress.....
Sorry you don't like Winogrand, Rolleiman. A lot of people do. Personally, I find his work interesting, but I'm not crazy about it. Then again, I'm a landscape junkie.
As for the characters having departed, I don't buy it. On my way to work this morning I saw a fight break out between a lady with three purses and a beverage delivery man on his route. Each was quite a character and the two together made quite a scene. A few minutes later, I saw a fellow swaggering down the street with an "eightball" trenchcoat right out of Shaft. The characters are still there, we just have to see them.
Your comments on the plight of progress resonate with me, but I think it's the artists' challenge to rise above that plight. While much great art highlights the out-of-the-ordinary, the greatest art often simply casts a unique light on the decidely mundane.
Originally Posted by 36cm2
I take your point. however, re. the fight that broke out.....is this not an oddball "incident" rather than part of the flow of everyday life?........I'm thinking of a couple of Cartier-Bresson's pics. here.....for instance, the well known picture of the young lad wistfully walking along the street; a bottle of wine clutched under each arm...would you see this scene today?.......more likely he'd be in parent's car as it backed into the car park of his local Majestic Wine Warehouse...........
Take another example of Cartier-Bresson's work...the family group having a picnic along the backs of the River Arne. .....the senior male of the group, somewhat overweight, his trousers held up by braces...knotted handkerchiefs around heads.....a slight air of comedy about the whole scene........Imagine a similar group today......the male would be wearing designer wear T-shirt and shorts....the females would probably be clad in bikinis, with designer wear sunglasses........would you even bother to take a picture??!!!
I do agree with your comment re. the artist rising above the ordinary to make something extra-ordinary out of things....and in cities like London, in market places and pedestrianised streets, perhaps it's still possible to grab some images of interesting street life.......but i'm inclined to think there was a lot more of it about in Cartier-Bresson's day!
1. I love the Majestic Wine Warehouse.
2. I'm with you that HCB had the benefit of more wistful times, but I still think the genre is what you make of it.
3. Bearing #2 in mind, I feel compelled to sing:
"Boy the way Glen Miller played
Songs that made the hit parade.
Guys like us we had it made,
Those were the days.
And you knew who you were then,
Girls were girls and men were men,
Mister we could use a man
Like Herbert Hoover again.
Didn't need no welfare state,
Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee our old LaSalle ran great.
Those were the days."
Well yes, I guess nostalga influences our opinions on many things.....and I also love Majestic Wine Warehouse!
Perhaps there comes a point in time, when we all start to feel a bit "out of tune" with the times we live in, to the point where images from yesteryear seem to have more meaning.
I believe even the great Henri Cartier-Bresson gave up taking pictures around 1961 and turned to painting....perhaps he felt his world was disappearing and he had nothing more to say with the camera?
I hear you completely, Rolleiman. It's probably a very natural result.
To the OP, don't let the nostalgia discourage you. Just get out there and tackle your street photography, whether head on or more discreetly, in a way that resonates with you and, ultimately, your audience. Good luck.