Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by Sanford, Apr 26, 2018.
Graffiti, Cannery Row
more street artists
Sony a6000 / Sony/Zeiss 16-70mm 4.0. Joel Myerowitz suggested that because everyone is glued to their phones that street photography has lost its 'savour'. JM is entitled to his opinion and he certainly has a long, distinguished career as aa photographer.
posted in another forum
What is the thumb for?
Famous Wall Drug Store
I think Meyerowitz was right to the extent that most photos of people on their cell phones are boring. What he likely is forgetting is that, in the past, most photos of guys on the bench reading a newspaper were boring, too. The ones that piqued our interest or had staying power were the ones that showed something more about human life, that captured the significance of street life or expressed something personal, political, social, or otherwise important about life on the street. I think street photography only loses its "savour" when boring pictures of people on their cell phones become something photographers think is worthy of doing. What the quote doesn't recognize is how much non-cell-phone activity still remains on the street and how many interesting shots of people even on their cell phones there can be. Simply recording the boredom of a person glued to their cell phone, unless done with great insight and aplomb, will make a non-savourous photo, for sure. But no one has to do that. More photos are being taken today so it stands to reason more bad photos of the street will be taken. But there's still plenty out their that ought to get a street photographer's juices flowing and ought to inspire and stimulate viewers. Most often, it won't be found in the gesture of someone sitting and staring at their cell phone.
Would a random street photo of a group of people from the 60's have as many smokers as a current similar photo have people using their cell phones?
Probably. The thing about smokers, though, was that there was more photographic interest to cigarette-smoking than to cell phone usage. The smoke itself often created patterns and captured light in very photogenic ways. The way people gestured when smoking cigarettes had a distinct visual flavor and often made for interesting intentional and non-intentional "poses." Cell phones have some of that potential, but it's often not realized. I've seen people adopt interesting gestures with their cell phones, but that's rarely captured in most street photos with cell phone that I see. The light from a cell phone, especially in a dimmer atmosphere, can be very moody and photogenic, but is also rarely captured by today's photographers. What I see with most cigarette photos is an acceptance of the cigarette back then as an accoutrement of taste, fashion, and part of the texture of life, often visually interesting. What I see with most cell phone photos is a desire to document the obsession with them or their infiltration into every day life or the boredom they seem to elicit from their users. The latter generally make for much less interesting photos than the former.
Both highly addictive behavior but quitting smoking is probably easier.
I'm not sure how the addictive nature of either relates to street photography, but whatever . . .
Although a bit off topic to this forum, I am posting this photo because Fred mentioned about the light from cellphones creating a moody atmosphere and I agree with that. This photo probably depicts some of that atmosphere.
Disclaimer: There was sufficient light in the room that the child's eyes were not harmed. Its the post processing that highlights the hue from the cellphone compared to the ambient light.
My guess is that the quality (and temperature) of light coming from the phone was, indeed, different from the quality (and temperature) of light coming from the ambient surroundings. Here's a place where post processing, rather than manipulating a situation might actually help communicate a situation which was not necessarily picked up by the camera. While some tend to think of post processing as a "false" or "inaccurate" manipulation of original events, very often, in fact, post processing is a way to get more truth and accuracy than the camera may have picked up.
You are absolutely right. Its a vision that I tried to implement in the post processing, not necessarily what the camera or an average person would see in such a lighting condition. Its also a lot of fun to change the lighting condition/color balance in PP to see how different lighting changes the mood and impression of a given composition.
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