A Photo Teacher |

Pavement

Posted in PHOT 167 by Paul Turounet on September 9, 2008

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© Elliott Erwitt, New York City (69th St. at Columbus Ave.), 2000

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The city streets, the chaos of modern life and photography are intimately linked. With the advent of the small hand-held camera, faster film and lenses, photographers became hunters of the moving and evolving life unfolding in front of them with each step on the sidewalk. Among its practitioners, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Helen Levitt, Robert Frank, William Klein, Elliott Erwitt, Garry Winogrand, and Lee Friedlander established themselves on the pavement of everyday life as the visionaries within the genre of street photography. Street photographers have continued to prowl the streets, stepping onto the stage of modernity all the while prowling for visual pleasure and meaning within that split-second fragment of time.

It’s about reacting to what you see, hopefully without preconception. You can find pictures anywhere. It’s simply a matter of noticing things and organizing them. You just have to care about what’s around you and have a concern with humanity and the human comedy. – Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos

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Though many have felt street photography is an exhausted genre, contemporary photographers have re-invigorated it with heightened conceptual and visual sensibilities, including the use of various cameras from digital point and shoots to medium-format, color materials and controlled lighting. Philip-Lorca diCorcia and Bruce Gilden are utilizing techniques from the studio, including the use of off-camera flash, to make photographs on the street while Martin Parr, Miguel Rio Branco and Alex Webb infuse their photographs with vibrant color.

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© Martin Parr, from Common Sense, 1995 – 1999

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I only know how to approach a place by walking. For what does a street photographer do but walk and watch and wait and talk, and then watch and wait some more, trying to remain confident that the unexpected, the unknown, or the secret heart of the known awaits just around the corner. – Alex Webb/Magnum Photos

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Josef Koudelka, Danny Lyon, Larry Clark and Nan Goldin have utilized small camera aesthetics to reveal personal narrative concerns. Michael Spano (Auto Portraits) and Stephen Gill (Trolley Portraits and Lost portfolios) are utilizing multiple-image presentation strategies and indexing/typology considerations to reveal their conceptual concerns and the everyday experience.

Other photographers challenging the conventions of street photography either with their use of large format cameras, including Andrew Bush (Vector Portraits) and Nicholas Nixon, or as Zoe Strauss has done with her I-95 Project, exhibiting the photographs as a site-specific installation. With the prevalence now of digital cameras and technology, photographers such as Pedro Meyer are digitally constructing street photographs or as Doug Rickard, using photographs from digital archives to question and redefine documentary photographic practice.

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© Pedro Meyer, Where Is The Money?, 1985 – 2000

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Assignment

Visually investigate the genre of street photography from traditional and/or contemporary contexts. Explore the possibilities of utilizing various cameras and/or materials (analog and digital, black & white or color), the use of off-camera flash and technology, as well as presentation strategies (multiple-image) to inform your curiosities and ideas. In shooting your images, focus your energies on creating visually engaging compositions as suggested by your use of the photographic frame, point of view, details, moments of exposure, light and handling of materials.

For additional information when working out in the public domain, click on The Photographers Right.pdf

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Requirements

For the critique (see Calendar for Due Date) and evaluation, please complete the following:

Minimum of 2 – digital edited contact sheets (6 images on each contact) that reflect and begin to reveal your interpretation of the genre of street photography from traditional and/or contemporary contexts through your photographic vision and sense of technical execution and craftsmanship.

Minimum of 4 – finished photographic prints made in the Grossmont College Photography Labs.

Turn-in all critique materials in a manila envelope for evaluation and feedback.

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Student Work

© Dewey Keithly, 2008

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© Matt Lingo, 2008

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