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April 25, 2004

Additional Sites, Street Photographers Talk, and Documenting Transitions

First off, a belated thanks to Phototalk for listing this site as "recommended reading" --highly flattering, given everything they have to choose from. Phototalk is a very interesting site in their own right for their focus on developments in stock photography, photoblogging, moblogging, and other topics relating to blogging and the sharing of images on the web. Good stuff.

Second, a couple of additions to the bostonstreet links that I have on my sidebar (representing the galleries of fellow photographers on a yahoo list and occasional dining group): Cathy and Patrick. Cathy has actually started a photoblog, which isn't exactly unique these days, except that she is particularly good at capturing a sense of neighborhood and people in her periodic entries, which most photobloggers have a tough time doing given their inherent shyness.

Need help getting over that shyness? Check out the tips offered by selected street photographers in Popular Photographer's May issue, with web exclusive extended interviews with these photographers. Links to the photographers' galleries, and an interesting accounting of these photographers' approaches to candid photography and their influences makes for entertaining reading. The street photographers' stated influences stretches wider than I would have expected, which is nice to see...they're avid fans of photography first, and not tied to a specific genre or approach that would limit their way of seeing.

As for Pop Photo, it's one of those magazines experienced photographers love to hate, with their catering to hobbyists and their consistently positive lens and equipment tests (leading to accusations of toadying to manufacturers). I find them less useful in terms of photo tutorials than the British magazines geared toward amateurs such as Practical Photography or Photography Monthly. But I like Pop Photo's goofy enthusiasm and their coverage of topics most "serious" photography magazines wouldn't dare to cover, such as distinguishing between the numerous flavors of inexpensive point and shoot cameras out there, or especially Herb Keppler's witty research into arcane equipment such as off-brand 500mm mirror lenses, or various inexpensive Eastern European and Asian cameras. Plus you can always find Pop Photo at a supermarket or an airport newstand if you're hard up for photography related reading far from home...it beats reading People anyway.

Apart from the interesting interviews and the perusal of the street photographers' own galleries, two worthwhile finds: Bee Flowers (courtesy of John Brownlow) is a fine art photographer who can make the statement: "my photography must crack open the everyday, the common and the banal, in order to reveal what lies beneath" and actually produce imaginative work that lives up to his statement. Russia and the West Bank are his main subjects, and the way he documents transitions and states of mind through unsettling photographs (and diptychs) of off-kilter interiors and mundane everyday objects is something that has to be seen to be appreciated.

Bee has a lot of outstanding stuff (a bit overwhelming, really) on his web site...a good start for me was "Soviet Sublime", his latest series, since I'm partial to diptychs and triptychs, and "Sublime" features a much more creative use of diptychs than I'm accustomed to seeing (and there are a lot of them at the school where I take classes).


Diptych from "Soviet Sublime" by Bee Flowers

Tom Wood is an Irish photographer who's documented the streets and youth in a distinctly contemporary manner -- it's more superficially "ordinary" and more disjointed than most decisive moment street photography, but is also more postmodern and layered in its presentation when viewing closely...his sensibility seems closer to someone like Paul Graham than it does to Cartier Bresson or Winogrand (though Winogrand has praised his work highly). I recall seeing numerous images from the "Bus Project" a few years ago in various magazines, and it's nice to see all the work collected here .

(UPDATE: the bus projects link is behaving peculiarly, so if you get taken to another page in the gallery, click on "artists" and "Tom Wood", and try clicking on the bus image again).


LONDON ROAD - CITY CENTRE, 1993 image by Tom Wood

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70's Street photography

Posted by: Robert M Johnson at Nov 10, 2005 9:33:31 PM