Posted on November 17, 2017
I learned a lot about photography while living in China and it is unsurprising that many of the photographers I have studied spent significant time in the country. Shanghai does not do things by half, there were many exhibitions there, showcasing work from some of the greatest artists that have lived. If you are in Shanghai, be sure to visit the Shanghai Center of Photography (SCoP), it often has small, but significant exhibitions. One such showcase featured the work of Bruno Barbey.
Posted on November 16, 2017
Martin Parr takes satirical photos of everyday life. On the surface, his work can be humorous, scratch a little deeper and you will start to discover messages relating to life and society. Parr is much more than a Street Photographer, yet his work will usually fall tightly within this category. Magnum Photography accepted Parr as a member in 1988, and he made it by just one vote. He is now the group’s director. He has published too many books to mention, and I don’t yet own any. I feel another Amazon shop coming on!
Posted on November 15, 2017
Yesterday’s article caused a lot of self-searching. The day ended with a shopping spree on Amazon, where I purchased a book by Nan Golding, a photographer who also took photos on the fringes of society. Today, I am playing it a little safe and telling the tale of Dorothea Lange and the Migrant Woman. It is a tale often told with a happy(ish) ending and stands as a lesson for Street and Journalistic photographers. Spoiler – by the time I finished the article I found out more than I wanted to.
Lange worked as a photojournalist for the American government’s Farm Security Administration. Her photos would help shape policy and create working documents; these documents soon stood as pieces of art. Lange gained her position with the FSA through her photography of the homeless and unemployed, visiting soup kitchens during the American Great Depression. As a child, Lange contracted polio and walked with a limp, citing the disease as something that, “instructed me, helped me and humiliated me.” Perhaps it was her non-threatening stance, caused by the disease, which led to the migrant worker dropping her defences and allowing her photo to be taken. Maybe the migrant women could read that Lange was there to help. Alternatively, the lady was just too tired as she had been feeding her family on frozen vegetables plucked from the soil, and wild birds caught by her hungry children.
Posted on November 14, 2017
“My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.” – Diane Arbus
For a series of articles on Street Photographers, I appear to be working hard to avoid anybody who would have described themselves using this term. However, what is Street Photography if not a tool to look at the world? Diane Arbus focused on those living on the edges of society; dwarfs, those with intellectual disabilities, the LGBT community, nudist and circus performers. Arbus suffered severe bouts of depression throughout her career. She ended her life in 1971, slashing her wrists after taking barbiturates.
Posted on November 13, 2017
“Taking pictures is savouring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” – Marc Riboud
I am a little daunted writing this piece. I first came upon the work of Riboud at a small exhibition in Shanghai. The exhibition left me speechless, in particular, the photo below which was the headline of the show. Riboud did not subscribe to the model of ‘Street Photographer’ and his Times obituary described him as a humanist. Studying his photographs, you can see strong connections with his subjects, whom he often revisited after their photographs were published. Riboud also had the Magnum ‘magic’, enabling him to blend in and create powerful candid images. He was a core member of Magnum and died aged 93. His work in China was groundbreaking, and he gained access to many locations previously out of bounds. A photo of a nude at a Chinese art school led to controversy, with the Chinese government claiming no such place existed.
Posted on November 11, 2017
“Most of my projects seem to start as exploratory journeys with no visible end in sight.”
— Alex Webb
Recently I have had one of my photos compared to the work of Alex Webb. This compliment was praise indeed and came from an accomplished photographer, who has spent a significant amount of time as my mentor and teacher. It is amazing how a kind word can help push us all to create further images.
Posted on November 8, 2017
My Grii has broken. The Ricoh has long been one of my favourite cameras for Street Photography. And rightly so. It packs a large CMOS sensor into a package that will slot into your pocket. It has a sharp fixed 28mm lens, and it is cool. My Ricoh was probably the only cool thing about my Street Photography setup as I often spend far too long editing photos, am not afraid to crop and will venture into using lenses of different focal lengths. Also, I shoot colour and not black and white. While out taking pics, I have even worn Crocks and socks at the same time.