As I write this the rain is falling on the roof of my building in cold jealous sheets. 😉 Damn you, rain! Be gone! We photographic artists must be allowed to co-mingle and congratulate ourselves over wine and cheese that we did not pay for!
Okay. (Let’s hope that works.) No rain can dampen the excitement and warm feelings today holds, not just for me, but for the 28 other street photographers who will be honored at the Los Angeles Center of Photography’s first Annual Street Shooting Exhibition in Hollywood.
I don’t really discuss street photography much here on 50lux.com. As I’ve said in an earlier post from last year, I prefer to let my images do the talking for me. It is a sentiment that has been shared by so many photographers throughout the history of the medium. Let the work speak for itself, the images for themselves.
Not always a workable position to take there, it is increasingly less so in the world of contemporary art photography and galleries and clients etc., which all demand that any visual artist know exactly what the purpose is in their work and that they possess and own the very reasons their art exists. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
In my case, I don’t even have the excuse that I’m not good (enough) with words or that I don’t have anything to say about what I’m doing. I’m good (enough) with words to say what I’m thinking and I have actual thoughts on photography and, maybe especially, the street photography that accounts for the majority of my own creative efforts over the last 15 years.
So I’m going to take this opportunity, on the occasion when what I’ve been doing for so long is being recognized, when the undertaking itself is being recognized, to say a few things about the work of street photography.
First I have to say that upon perusing the fine selections for the LACP showing online I’m reminded that, thankfully, whatever positions or thoughts I hold in regard to street photography aren’t instantly transferable to the work of others. Photography itself and street photography in particular means something different to everyone who picks up the camera.
I think when I started to make street photography a form of creative expression I did it because I wanted to capture and preserve and make permanent my own life in the form of what I was seeing in my world. I saw it my way. I don’t believe there is a higher power simultaneously seeing and recording and preserving my perspective… or any perspective at all.
Moments, like life itself, were fleeting, but even moreso. There is no guarantee of permanence of human life or even the planet we live on. I had a desperation to grab the ordinary because I saw it, and still do, as being so extraordinary. Everything I see and photograph is, to my mind, the most singularly pointed definition of unique.
Selecting scenes and frames from what I see happening in front of me is a far more subconscious process. I am looking for specific things and then something inside of me is also more instinctively looking as well. Sometimes the things that are most integral to my images are not physical image elements. At best, meaning when I think an image of mine is most successful, the things that I have photographed are not physically apparent.
More than anything, I’m trying to photograph humanity and the human interplay between the living beings and this imposing city. The grace, lack of grace, responses to life, its pressures and pleasures, the human reactions to the environment that we have created for ourselves.
In street-photographing Los Angeles, I am attempting to make subtle, psychological images of humanity as I find them and see them against the backdrop of one of the more chaotic and overdeveloped places on Earth.
I hope that touches on the more general aspects of my street photography in a way that people can relate to when looking at my images. I thank everyone who comes to 50lux.com and who has supported me and my photography over the years.
I want to once again thank Julia Dean and the Los Angeles Center of Photography. Thank you for everything that you do, LACP!
The Los Angeles Center of Photography proudly presents our First Annual Street Shooting Exhibition that celebrates street photography in Los Angeles and around the world. The exhibition showcases 29 photographers and 39 photographs. The works were carefully selected among 120 photographers and 767 images. The selection process was juried by Sam Abell, Julia Dean and Stephen McLaren.