Explore Street Photography Now – with Lloyd Spencer

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Street photography explored through the 52 'perspectives' offered by the Street Photography Now project

Street photography explored through the 52 ‘perspectives’ offered by the Street Photography Now project

 

 

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Street Photography NOW – and then

Taking inspiration from the 52 photographers featured in this book.

The 52 photographers featured in this book have each offered an idea or instruction from which we can take inspiration.

Street Photography Now was an outstanding book published in 2011. It contained the work of 52 wonderful photographers who serve to define the genre at that point in time.

The current interest in street photography owes something to the success of  Flickr.com, as a photo-sharing website and community (or collection of communities). In order to promote the publication of SPN as a book and to further engage the enthusiasm of street photographers around the world, the publishers offered the chance to participate in a “Street Photography Now Project” on Flickr.

Each week one of the photographers featured in the book offered a short, sometimes crytic, instruction or idea. Photographers were encouraged to respond by taking photos and submitting them to a group on Flickr.com

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On this website I have made a rather different use of these 52 instructions or ideas. I have tried to illustrate each one with one or two photos taken from my own archives, built up taking digital photographs over the past decade.

So here I offer you one photographer’s “take” on the ideas and inspirations offered as part of this project. I hope this offers a distinctive and personal perspective on the diverse impulses involved in street photography.

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WATCH THIS SPACE

Instruction # 45 “See the characters but create your own plot.” – Martin Kollar

Corner Window

“…he takes a seat by the window in a big … coffeehouse. He gazes around at the other customers and pores over advertisements in the paper, but mainly he is interested in the throng of people he sees through the window, surging past in the street.”
Walter Benjamin, On Some Motifs in Baudelaire.

Benjamin is commenting on the story “The Man of the Crowd” by E. A. Poe which, a few pages later, he contrasts with an earlier story, “My Cousin’s Corner Window” by E. T. A. Hoffmann.

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Walter Benjamin’s studies of the poet, Charles Baudelaire as the first “city poet” was the subject of my dissertation. It is there that Benjamin develops the idea of “flaneur”, the stroller, who explores the psychogeography of the city, receiving inspiration in flashes as he jostles the crowds. Benjamin’s essays — and indeed, Baudelaire’s poetry — provide wonderful starting points for a “theory” of street photography.

On return from my two years of study in Germany, I bought my first serious (SLR) camera and began to really work at “documentary” photography and improving my darkroom skills. Some of the B&W photographs I took in those early days are displayed on this site (under the “Early Work” category).

Subject

. by Briggate.com
., a photo by Briggate.com on Flickr.
On reflection(s) by Briggate.com
On reflection(s), a photo by Briggate.com on Flickr.

Instruction # 47 “The real subject is yourself facing the world.” – Thierry Girard

Stocking

Stocking by Briggate.com
Stocking, a photo by Briggate.com on Flickr.

Instruction # 46 – “Make a picture that is funny and sad at the same time. A photograph that simultaneously evokes pathos, irony and humour.” – Jeff Mermelstein

Dancing in the street

Instruction # 44 “Be joyful! Dance in the street.” – Munem Wasif

Having a go at pole dancing, Boar Lane 2

Would you care to dance?

"The Very Marvellous Armley Tea Dance" #2

Dance has always been an important part of my life. And at present dance is as important to me as photography. I was dancing at the two events depicted in the 2nd and 3rd photographs above. With only an old and inferior digital camera to hand for the bottom photograph I had placed the camera on the floor in order to avoid camera shake. But I loved the result and copied that intriguing perspective later at another great dance (in the red photo above). It was important that people could see what I was doing. If I did it at all surreptitiously, I am sure some of the onlookers would have thought my behaviour highly dubious.

The first photo above was taken from the pavement, through the big windows of a bar which has a pole for pole dancing in the window. The pole is used mainly for messing about.

Photography can have a profound affinity with dance… especially when it is candid photography, and caught up in the rhythm of events. But photographing dance is really tricky. I have developed my own techniques for dance photography and have so far published one book of my dance photos.

Nothing doing / doing nothing

Instruction # 43 “Make something from nothing.” – Amani Willett

At two birds