First of all I will give some context to this set of images. There is not intended to be any narrative within this project, but having reviewed them, I feel there may be is a story developing of a local area and its’ lack of people.
I live in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, which has become infamous for its’ lack of ability to deal with child abuse, which has led to hundreds, if not thousands of young people being subject to sexual abuse and much police inaction. As a result of this, the town’s people are somewhat suspicious of anyone waving a camera about, (even acting as a flaneur) and I have been asked on numerous occasions by the police, residents and other people not to photograph in the street. I therefore wanted to challenge myself and do exactly the opposite of what I have been asked as there is nothing wrong in street photography.
The day was cold, grey, overcast with no visible cloud. Simply a grey mask formed the basis of the sky. I armed myself with my Fuji Pro 100x, as a opposed to a DSLR and decided to photograph Bawtry Road, my chosen street. It was apparent within the first 15 minutes I had not only made a mistake with the street, but also the day would not be good for photographing people. The street was wrong as it felt empty and was too open. I could not melt into the background, in spite of my chosen time and camera. There were too few people around and in one image the shop’s dummies outnumber the people in the shot.
Anyway I decided to pass on and to see what would happen as this would add to my challenge. I have shot 30 images and then have decided to desaturate them as I feel this will give me a true comparison between colour and black and white. Reflecting on some of the images, I also feel that they do not have a purpose, maybe they are even a snapshot! I have added my contact sheet below the individual images which includes basic EXIF data.
I have chosen not to title my images due to the number of them. If there were ten images I would have captioned/titled them.
What is the difference between the colour images and the black and white images. Black and white was seen as the way to go for street photography, even when colour film had been invented and is still seen as the format for many street photographers. I also enjoy images in black and white, when the tonal variations are good, but does converting/desaturating not detract from what street photography should be and that is unmanipulated. Colour can maintain the reality of the image and remain true. This “truth”was assocaited with black and white images in the past as that was the only way images could be recorded but times have changed and there have been so many advances in technology.
In my set below, I actually prefer the colour images. They have more of a realistic feel to them and are unchanged from as shot in camera. colour also shows what I saw and in some images, the colour contrast was what drew me to the image, as in the open drive way with the beautiful orange foliage, set against the mundane backdrop of the fence. This contrast has disappeared in the desaturated image. If I were to shoot in black and white, I would have to go out with the intention of doings so, giving more thought to the tonality of the image and specifically what this would look like in black and white. I have thought and seen in colur and that’s how this set should remain.
Black and white is not wrong, for me. but in this example as refelcted upon above, my choice is colour.
Contact Sheets with Exif data
Elements that can be present in street photography
- Street photography should be free from social and political motivation
- It is an in the moment art that relies upon timing
- Generally speaking any subjects in it should be unaware
- The Flaneur style
- They should be free from a narrative
- Should be subjective
- The subject and the location define street photography
- Non interventional i.e. the photographer does not interact with its’ subjects (people)
- Its’ photographs should be unedited and in a public place
- Does not have to contain people
- Should be a true mirror image of the scene
- It is about the phototaphers’s reaction and observations
Street photography started to change from surrealism, in my opinion, just after the second world war, but this sub-genre can still be found today, albeit not en-masse. Maybe the emergence of organisations such as Magnum also had an impact upon this. However defifnitove evidence is hard to find as surrealism is still being used today. This sub-genre can be demonstrated well by Giacomo Vesprini. Vesprini, G (2016) Giacomo Vesprini’s Beautifully Surreal Street Photography, Available at: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/giacomo-vesprini-surreal-street-photography (Accessed: 27/03/2017).
Irony in photography
Irony is used to comment on values in different ways and there can be many examples found. It is not hard to find such examples as hoghlighted below. Images taken from Lee, G (2014) 19 Delicious Examples of Irony In Photography, Available at: http://www.sickchirpse.com/irony-photographic-form/ (Accessed: 27/03/2017).