Friday, September 17, 2010
New York City Street Photography: Respecting the Genre
I suppose in order for photos to be categorized as "Street Photography," there are two necessary elements, the city and the people in it.
Street photography without people may fall into the genre of Landscape Photography or something else.
When I'm shooting in the city, in any city, I tend to take pictures of empty chairs, chairs on sidewalks or next to garbage dumpsters, chairs in shop windows, chairs piled on each other in storage rooms, who knows why?
It's just something I do.
An empty chair seems to carry ghosts with it, especially an old chair, because many people—perhaps some of them now dead--have sat in that seat and some of their energy may still reside there.
But can photos of empty seats really be called Street Photography?
Whenever we put a created image into a genre, we limit the anagogical possibilities of the work.
I'm a Chicano writer, and I’m quite assertive in defending that fact, but I can also acknowledge that being a Chicano writer can put me in a form that may be shaped by those who define and view the category through necessary theoretical and/or socio-political frameworks, and my work may not always be judged on the work itself but on its discourse vis-vis the issues and esthetics of the genre.
So even though the images I accessed in New York last weekend may not all fall into the genre of Street Photography, I didn’t really care. I shot what struck me.
However, on the last blog (see below) I took on a challenge specifically to try New York Street Photography without being too cliché as to where I was or as to the genre itself.
Therefore, in today’s blog I am including only a handful of images that seem to honor the conventions of the genre.
So, here they are:
Please click on the images to make them bigger, and to see the details.
"Bruce and Whoppi"
Notice how all the people in the photo are Asian women. Not a man around.
"Eyes in the Back of Her Head"
These young people yelled and cheered my name as they danced around. I kid you not.
Oops. This photo doesn't have any real person in it, so I guess (get it, guess?) that it doesn't count.
Oh, well, at least there's a chair in it.