sexta-feira, 13 de julho de 2018

About Street Photography

1 ) Concept:
One of the most popular and practiced forms in today's world. It is worth remembering that about 70% of the world's population currently lives in cities and that within the so-called "Photo Books" those showing "Street Photography" are nowadays the best-sellers.
It is a variant of Photographic Art (perhaps the oldest, most "liberating" and most difficult) performed only in public places (Streets, Museums, Parks, Beaches, etc.) made spontaneously (without pose) and not " commissioned " by media (photojournalism). That is why there is an increasing consensus that should it should be called Public Candid Photography. Its documentary value is reduced when there is pose, staging or excessive manipulation (over editing).
Nowadays we are witnessing an increasing number of staged photographs that are presented by the authors as "Street Photography".

Street photography is like a third strip of a freeway - separate, but parallel to the banners of photojournalism and documentary photography (with that is often mistaken). Although there are photographers who are dedicated exclusively to street photography, there are others who, in addition to street photography, can also do documentary or news photography - temporarily moving to the next strip. Henri Cartier-Bresson himself did street photography as well as reporting. However the genres should not be confused even though the photographer is the same.

It is clear that a "staged" photograph, in which there is a "direction" and a "choreography" of the "actors" that pass in the street, can also be extraordinary as Art, but it is not Street Photography - which should have the highest degree of spontaneity possible. There are well-known authors (eg Diane Arbus) who did documentary photography and "staged" with such quality that they now integrate the history of photography itself - but their images are only documentary and are not classified as street photography.

The quality of the photograph does not depend on the genre practiced.

While a documentary image only photograph can transmit habits and customs (eg what people wear at a given time), street photography has its own philosophy that privileges the possibility of, through framing find some history between the lines of expressions and or situations of the various characters that intersect inside frame.

Street Photography can simultaneously be a document but does not need to be a document. On contrary Documentary photography should always be a document.

Usually and during occasional street encounters the framing attempts to relate what was apparently unrelated. People and People, People and Objects, Objects and Objects. By framing and relating people and objects, suddenly, an image can be created - where the vulgar becomes extraordinary.
Street photographs can pose questions and privilege the possibility of finding some narrative between the lines of the expressions and or situations of the various characters. The humor, irony, subtlety, nonsense, social contradictions, puzzle, mystery, magic and surreal in Street Photography are a very important asset.
I must confess that I do not sympathize with a genre of street pictures depicting the daily flow of people in the streets of cities who are an increasingly frequent cliché: just people passing by without any kind of relationship. Unless the main purpose is to explore only geometries, abstractions, "shades and light" compos, etc..There is much more than simply pointing your camera to people in the streets. This may be photojournalism and good to document clothes and habits for someone in the future (if it will be one) to know how we used to live in the beggining of XXI century. But it is boring.

However, there are also renowned street photographers who explore only colors, light / shadow contrasts, abstraction, geometries or graphics - and dispense an eventual "story" associated with the image. They are therefore all valid the various sub-categories of Street Photography.
We don´t have to follow the traditional or politically correct current of the works based only on the idea of of telling a story.

Street Photography can simultaneously be fine-art photography. I agree with Koudelka when he says that there is no good photography without good composition. Aesthetics is also a way of giving life to Life. 

Photography on the streets, as an art form, can be contemplated only for its aesthetic and compositional characteristics. And as an art form, nothing obliges that there is always a narrative. In fact storytelling may already be a hallucination of reality.
The cameras are ways of selecting reality itself. The machine already distorts reality, because it will only get a little bit.
If Reality is a lie of our senses - Photography is a lie about a lie. All photographs mediate content. Faithful recording is a false standard.

Even though it is always preferable to include people in the frames Street Photography may not show people - as was the case of Atget that many authors consider the "father" of street photography. Provided that in the images of urban landscapes the human presence is presaged.

Finally we must not forget that the new EU legislation (EU) through the new General Regulation on Personal Data Protection, which came into force in May 2018, wil have the greatest consequences for the future of Candid Photography.

2) My Street Photography:
Fascinated by the unpredictability I follow an almost daily routine where I photograph for my own pleasure. A healthy and salvific obsession that leads me to discovers daily miracles that appear as fragments of a parallel dimension. In 2014-2015, 95% of my photos were in B & W and it was mostly about documentary Street Portraits rather than Candid Shots because I first asked permission to photograph people.
But during 2016, my photographic "voice" has changed and since then my work has been in a Candid way and exclusively "in colors" - always using a compact camera.
Now I make Candid shots and usually I do not need to ask for authorization to photograph because the light shade game I use makes people unidentifiable. I only ask permission after the shot in the very rare street portraits I shoot with the camera in silent mode picking up people without them noticing or even "on your face".
I love more color work because allows me to highlight certain elements and color patterns in an image and grab more attention. I feel color brings out an extra meaning and better depth / layers / tridimensionality – improving object recognition and associations inside frame.
I am interested how abstractions can also lead to an interesting method of storytelling. And at same time to approach the same problems that painters have been dealing with for centuries: light, colour, composition, the three-dimensional in the two-dimensional.

Because I´m living in a sunny country with great contrasts of light I explore lights and shades game and I am fascinated to discover the magic of light in the urban kaleidoscope when fragments of colors emerge between dark silhouettes and deep shadows. A way of seeing through the primacy of aesthetic choices, geometries and the elaboration of contrasts. The plastic approach, the chromatic composition, the emotions and the graphic impact are decisive.
Essentially I photograph for visual pleasure and for the happiness I feel when I make a good image.

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