Wednesday, December 7, 2016

And a little more -

With regard to this picture:

some dunderhead "asked" me the following:

The story and questions that you pose in relation to the street photo in the article. Did you consider all of those in the nanosecond you had when the composition presented itself before you clicked the shutter? No. You created the image first in a snap, then gave it it's meaning after.

I am pleased to report that in fact yes I did think of a great deal of the meaning and subtext of the photo before I shot it. This, because this is a repeated scene. It happens every few minutes in an busy coffee shop. Every time, in fact, a slender woman walks in. Literally every single time. So, yeah, I had thought a lot about it, over days, perhaps weeks, I forget.

Even for "real street" photography, there's a process of feeling the scene, grasping what is essential in it while shooting, groping for that frame that exemplifies that essential quality. I am confident here: street photography is all about trame, and it is largely conscious although sometimes fairly brisk. So, up yours, dbltax, whoever you are.

Without trame there's almost nothing to street photography. In relation to the previous post, there is generally no particular beauty to fall back on to, nothing much within the frame itself that can support the picture. It's a street, with people milling about on it. Occasionally there may be some thin games of geometry or form in play, but these are unlikely to be particularly satisfying by themselves.

Frankly, this is why most so-called street photography sucks. The practitioners rely on following the forms (black and white, street scenes, some sort of Interesting Interaction) without really getting at anything, and they wind up with endless pictures of nothing.


  1. I would argue that good "street" shots are those that are well contemplated in the sense the scene has been anticipated - this may come about through the repetitive perception of elements in a certain setting / scenario.

    In-so-as-much - it is perfectly fine to assign meaning to a shot after-the-fact through volumes of shooting (practice does lead to good practice and subsequent skilled anticipation).

    This shot is clearly a process of the former methodology . . . I like it! Especially because the photo "lacks" any visual to the identification of secondary subject (thus leading to a connotation that it does not necessarily matter . . . ). A great shot!!

  2. I do the volumes-of-shooting in a location/of a subject that I feel is important, and then wade thru all the wasted pixels to find the couple of shots that, to my eye, actually DID catch the thing I was stalking….