This week saw the launch of a new Street Photography Collective, ‘Burn My Eye’. There is some really nice work on the site and the group feels like it has the energy and enthusiasm that the founding members of in-public had 11 years ago. There are a number of Street Photography groups online now but this one really stands out for me in it’s relatively tight choice of photographers and images.
I’m sure many of you are aware of the forthcoming FORMAT 11 International Photo Festival taking place in Derby between the 4th March and the 3rd April 2011. The theme of this years festival is Street Photography with the title ‘Right Here, Right Now: Exposures from the Public Realm’. The Street Photographers group in-public will be exhibiting over 60 prints at the Derby Art Gallery and Museum along with a documentary film I have made over the last few months. The film has taken me to the streets of London and New York whilst my second camera person Marieke De Bra has filmed in Rotterdam and Melbourne.
The aim of the film has been to show the members of in-public making their photographs on the street with no models, no posing, no flash…in fact no intervention of any kind if at all possible. In a festival with such an all encompassing view of Street Photography as FORMAT, I was very keen to use in-public’s gallery space to demonstrate the continued importance of creating a candid record of modern life and the importance of the moment at a time when literally un momentous photography is the fashion. In filming ‘in-sight’ I have used miniature HD cameras to ride along on the hotshoe of the Street Photographers camera giving an intimate view of the picture making process.
The film will be shown first at FORMAT and then perhaps online in some fashion but that has still to be discussed and agreed with all concerned, in the meantime, here is a trailer to wet your appetite and give you a sense of what’s in store.
On the 4th March I will be speaking about the ‘Inspiration of Street Photography’ at the Format Photography Conference, along with Bruce Gilden, Amy Stein, John Maloof, Michael Wolf, Yumi Goto, Sophie Howarth and others.
On the 5th March I will be doing Portfolio reviews and would love to see and discuss your own Street Photography.
Most of you will now be aware of the extraordinary archive of photographs by Vivian Maier acquired at a furniture and antique auction by John Maloof in Chicago. Around 100,000 negatives mostly from the 1960’s and 1970’s are being scanned by John who is working extremely hard to make Vivian Maiers images available online. The work is now to be made available as a book and John is also seeking funding for a documentary film through the Kickstarter platform.
Having met John in London last year I know that he feels the burden of responsibility for sensitively disseminating this wonderful work, he asks himself if it is even something that Vivian, an intensely private person by all accounts, would have wanted. It was also apparent that Vivian’s work could not have fallen into safer hands and that his careful approach to producing a book, exhibition and now film will ensure their success.
Vivian Maier’s work is a joy to see, its a revealing window into another time as well as this eccentric and independent woman herself.
Please support John in his work and help fund this wonderful film project.
"I do a lot of work with the digital camera but it's all for editorial or commercial clients. I have tried to make my own pictures in the street with the digital camera, and continue to try to, but for whatever reason, real or imagined, I end up feeling like a pedophile. Even if I am taking a picture of a tree and a trash can I feel like a creep with a big lens and a mirror flapping away. I am sure that eventually the equipment will move on and there will be some sort of rangefinder camera that will do the job"
trip around the world making pictures with a small Samsung cameraphone will know that I am sincere when I say that. Owning an M9 is not going to open your eyes, give you a new vision or great ideas.
It is amazing how invisible a photographer can be these days if he doesn’t have a web site, especially if he hales from a non english speaking nation. I recently found, by accident, the work of the Japanese photographer Abe Jun, I took a chance and ordered, from Japan, his book Citizens and have been delighted at his quiet understated vision of Japanese daily life filled with subtle visual echos. I don’t believe his work is well known in the west and this is probably due to the lack of any web presence that I have been able to find…he is virtually invisible. Its pretty rare to find a street photographer you didn’t know and even rarer when the work is of this standard.
This reminded me of another virtually Invisible street photographer, Cristobal Hara whose book Vanitas is one of the best books of street imagery ever published but without a web presence his work fails to get the audience and recognition it deserves. Late at night after a few drinks I sat in the back of a yellow cab in NYC with Cristobal and the NYC street photographer Gus Powell trying to persuade Cristobal to let us show his work on in-public. To my delight, he agreed…only to change his mind a few weeks later. Whilst I respect his decisions, it seems a shame that his work is not as available to inspire us as that of so many less qualified street photographers. A google image search reveals little of Cristobal’s wonderfully colorful, surreal and ambiguous imagery.
The Manifesto Club which 'campaigns against the hyperregulation of everyday life' has produced an excellent report titled 'Policing the Public Gaze: The Assault on Citizen Photography'. The report written by Pauline Hadaway, director of the Belfast Exposed photography gallery, addresses the way that fears about security and peadophillia have placed amateur photographers in a position of constant suspicion... [/caption] There may be no overarching ban on photography, but there has been a creeping restriction of everyday photography - by community safety wardens, private security guards, and self-appointed ‘jobsworths’. Although shifting and vague, the rationale for banning photography in our streets, public buildings and shopping malls often revolves around ‘privacy’ or ‘security’ concerns. Behind contemporary anxieties there lies a deep suspicion of the citizen, who is routinely identified as a predatory or threatening figure.........This ranges from children being told that they can only take photos of particular parts of the body, to sports clubs told they should remove all photos of kids from their websites. Hadaway argues that it is important that people are able to take spontaneous photographs of public life, whether of children or any other contemporary touchy subjects: 'We need to stop this self-censorship.'
I think this is of huge relevance to the street photography community and we should all digest this report and engage with the debate....a good start would be to download and read the report and attend the salon run by Pauline in London on the 30th September. ( We can all grab a beer afterwards. ) here