Protocol* – A protocol is a rule which guides how an activity should be performed, especially in the field of diplomacy.
I have a friend who is a wizard when it comes to music. He is a conservatory schooled composer and arranger, and also a studio musician as well as a live music instrumentalist on all varieties of saxophone & clarinet and piano other clavichords. Although two of the operas he has created have been performed at Opera houses in Stockholm, he first and foremost is a jazz musician. Or if you were to ask him, ”I am nothing but a jazz musician!” Well he is quite cultivated and knows more than a thing or two about everything that is fine art, and hence so too about photography. His girlfriend is a professional photographer and he verbally outwrestles her most of the time when it comes to discussing the craft of painting with light.
Last weekend I visited him in Stockholm and we went for an afternoon trip in my car. What did we discuss during these two hours? Street photography of course, but instead of sketching the contour of our dialog, I will do my best to convey his thoughts, because they were way more enlightening then mine. He started out by explaining how the term jazz has become hopeless to define. Not in school environs, not when non jazz musicians use it over a cup of coffee or not when people in general use it to describe a general music phenomenon. No, it becomes impossible to apply any definitions of jazz when it is used amongst experienced jazz musicians, because it really isn’t only a noun anymore, it has also become an adjective! An adjective used to describe good music. If something is jazz, it is quality sophisticated music and the term jazz functions more as a seal of quality than anything else. But not if just anyone uses the word, no, only if people associated with the right crowd applies it.
Therefore music, that with great difficulty can be described as jazz, according to most accepted written definitions, quite readily can be labeled as excellent jazz, by a veteran and highly respected jazz player. Something that can be quite confusing for someone, who is just starting out as a consumer of jazz music at a local jazz parlor. At the same time, music that cannot be anything else than jazz from the point of view of a formal definition (of a noun), can be harshly disregarded as crap and not accepted as jazz because ”there is no heart in it at all!”
He then proceeded and said that this has happened with the term street photography too! Once it was a word that encompassed a certain style of shooting pictures, but today an image that cannot be categorized as anything else (a candid picture of people in a public setting and so on, et cetera et cetera) may very well be rejected from being street by an acclaimed street photographer, because he or she did not like it very much. Not because it qualifies as street or not, but because it does or does not qualify as GOOD street photography!
Is it true? Does he have a point? I think so. And my understanding of how some awkward situations (awkward from a logical standpoint of view) have arrived increased anyway! Because quite often we all see images that have little to do with what street photography traditionally is described as, labeled as modern marvels of the genre. And equally often images, that simply have to be considered to be street, whether it is a good or bad example of the genre, axed down and forever categorized as non street.
And still we spend a great deal of trying to define the genre, and even more so, what is a good example of street photography. Maybe it simply cannot be done, because each and every attempt at making a contribution to the realm of street, will be subjectively deemed as deserving or non deserving at the level of each individual frame?! And for sure we cannot generalize this into a definition, can we? – Furthermore, what does this imply on the following? A member of a group submits an image and in gets rejected with the following remark: ”Not street!” Does it mean that the image is not street in the noun sense, or in the adjective sense? Do even the moderators always know? Maybe, maybe not. One thing is for sure, street photography is complicated, at least talking about it is!
They are selected by Moderator’s team and will be found in the featured gallery on dA, but also on our WordPress blog, the Yards Facebook page and our other off site places.
”sicilia4” by Kresimir Zadravec, Gallery [link]
”Fly fly away..” by Scott Alexander, [link]
”McPuppy” by Brian Webb, [link]
”P1267 – Very high speed.” by [link]
Authored by DC [link]
I could define several subgenres within Street photography, which can be graded in difficulty and, as such, in excellence for some, in plain good luck for others. I’ll explain: multylayered photographs can come from a lucky strike or can be a product of extreme hard work, where a photographer realizes the environment and anticipates a situation that would be unique and waits for the right moment to click.
Thus, I would propose
1 – Multilayered photography.
2 – People in candid situations. (probably most of my body of work)
3 – Daily routines. (idem)
In multilayered photography, the relations between subject and environment come together in an almost cosmic way. As if subject and environment are linked by some sort of magic. The harmony is perfect even when a range of contrasts seem to fight each other, in a game of linked meanings. Disharmony may take place, striking the viewer with a sense of awe or estrangement.
Eyal Binehaker [a.k.a Eyealbin] is one of those photographers who excels at this genre of photography. [link]
In Eyal Binehaker‘s work, we often see several elements come together as one living organism, sometimes in harmony, sometimes struggling to be kept together, but the liaison is there. If you don’t see the purpose of a certain photo, you have probably failed to decode the moment captured.
Some of his work is opaque, but as you come in intimate contact with his photography, you’ll know there’s something there that needs attention.
This is a perfect example of how subject and environment come together in perfect harmony. There are two separate elements which function as one: the woman smoking and the bus stop smoke shaped scribble.
Only a good street photographer can turn a man in a bus stop into a king.
The following photograph is a perfect example on how light contrasts (not social contrasts) play a game:
The man’s neck collar is directly opposing the black neck of the model on the left. This disharmony makes this photo not only extremely hard to get as it gives it its purpose. Being in the right place at the right time is a key element for an excellent photographer.
Eyal uses a rangefinder [Epson R-D1s, CV 15mm/f4.5 & CV 25mm/f4] for his street photography, which allows him to get very close to his subjects.
Sometimes he just shoots people waving at someone.
Is it? Wrong. This is another example of two layers creating one single exquisite bond.
Eyal works have a strong social intent, where society is documented in a strong way, blatant and raw. As in Felix Lupa’s work [link] (upcoming post) people appear stripped from the shallowness of the viewer’s prejudice. So we, the viewers, are confronted (slapped) with a social reality that’s so much easier to look away from. As I was informed by a reader, the bus sign says “Because we care”.
But once again there’s more to it, something that comes joining in, harmonizing the several layers that compose Eyal’s photography.
Geometry plays a very important part in Eyal’s work on understanding a subject’s placement in the environment and its correlations.
Circles of similarity provide context metamorphosis.
Circular patterns in composition:
Shapes and context:
If you aren’t familiar with Eyal’s work, I hope this brief text spikes your curiosity into seeing more and following him. There’s so much more to see and it’s never boring. That’s why his photography hooks me in.
His book is available here:
I am absolutely sure he will enter history as a fantastic reference of the new generation of Street photographers.
Thanks for reading.
Gallery Moderator Ola, , for the second time this year, was runner up in a contest arranged by the renowned Swedish photographic magazine ”FOTO” [link] Below you can find the awarded image
Member Scott Alexander. from Canada, was recently put up for best photographer in Vancouver, with the Urban Culture Conference Awards, and we would love for him to win and share his work with many more people. There is no annoying sign-up required to vote, nor do you need to submit any personal information, just a few seconds and a few clicks [link] Scroll to the bottom, click ARTS > PHOTOGRAPHERS > Scott Alexander. Hurry up and support him, and Good luck Scott! His web [link]
An image from the riots after Boston won over Vancouver in the NFL hockey final