Time to move on … 14


 

(English Version at the bottom of the page)

J’ai rédigé ce Blog aujourd’hui, car j’avais besoin d’écrire sur quelque chose qui me chagrinait depuis quelques jours…L’autre jour, je suis allé un peu voir les photos sur le site World-Street.Photography. Ça fait plusieurs semaines que je n’ y allais plus. Je recevais de temps en temps, des emails me signalant qu’une de mes photos était publiée sur leur Galerie ou encore pour une Mention Spéciale pour une de mes photo que j’avais uploadé pour une des compétitions mensuelles (je vous rassure, il n’y rien à gagner…).

J’aime beaucoup ce site de partage de photos. Je trouve qu’on y trouve une forme très pure et brute de Street Photos. Ça reste un site de partage de photos avec des ♥ , mais la communauté est assez restreinte avec un contenu de qualité.

 

 

Comme ça faisait un moment que je n’étais pas venu sur le site, je suis allé directement sur la page « Popular Photos », histoire d’avoir un aperçu rapide de ce qui avait été posté récemment. C’est là où je suis un peu tombé sur le cul… Pour la plupart des photos, ce n’était pas à mes yeux de la Street Photography ! Beaucoup de photos scénarisées, de portraits posés… Et ça ce sont les photos les plus populaires ??!! Je me suis demandé si j’étais bien sur le bon site. Les photos en question sont esthétiquement jolies, mais elles ne constituent en aucun cas pour moi de la Street Photography ! Les personnes qui sont inscrites sur ce site sont celles qui votent. Je comprends tout à fait que les gens aient pu trouver ces photos belles, mais arrêtons la mascarade ce n’est pas de la Street Photography, c’est hors sujet ! Vous pouvez voir de quoi je parle ici

 

 

Ma vision de la Street Photography a évolué depuis mes débuts. J’ai commencé avec aucune connaissance de la chose. D’ailleurs j’ai encore beaucoup à apprendre. J’ai fait pas mal de portraits de rue avec l’accord des personnes photographiées. Depuis j’ai arrêté car j’y trouve moins d’intérêt et j’ai évolué vers une forme de Street Photography plus « candid ». Je suis allé à la recherche sur internet d’une définition de la Street Photography. Je suis tombé sur quelques Manifestos. Peu de de personnes se sont attelés à écrire une définition de la Street Photography. C’est trop compliqué et personne ne veut réellement le faire. Le problème c’est que le terme « Street Photography » est devenu un fourre-tout ! On y met tout dedans et surtout n’importe quoi. Ce n’est parce qu’une photo a été prise dans la rue que c’est une photo de rue ! Certaines voix se sont élevés pour essayer de définir la Street Photography. Je pense notamment à Nick Turpin ou encore Alex Coghe. Ces gens ont une légitimité et pourtant malgré ça, rien de bien concret n’a vu le jour. Il serait nécessaire d’y apporter une définition. Ne serait ce que pour ceux qui débutent. 

 

 

Je ne me reconnais plus dans ce qui est posté sur World-Street.Photography. Ça me fait un peu mal, car j’aimais vraiment beaucoup ce site de partage. J’ai fait de belles rencontres là bas et surtout j’ai vu des photos formidables ! Il faut croire que j’ai fait mon temps sur cette plateforme. Il est peut être temps de passer à autre chose… Je pense que ce break que je me suis imposé avec les réseaux sociaux, m’a fait le plus grand bien et m’a permis d’ouvrir les yeux sur certaines choses que je n’arrivais plus à discerner. Je me rends compte qu’il y a toujours eu des gens qui postaient n’importe quoi sous le label « Street », mais je n’y prêtais pas attention. Pendant 2 mois, j’étais focalisé que sur mon travail. J’avais peu ou pas de contact avec les photos des autres. J’étais dans ma bulle. Ça fait un bien fou ! Ne pas avoir la tentation de comparer son travail à ceux des autres, suivre sa propre vision, aucune distraction… Depuis quelques jours je repars voir sur Facebook, Instagram et donc aussi W-S.P les photos qui y sont partagées. Un peu comme une personne qui a vécu loin de la civilisation pendant un moment, le retour est rude ! Je ne suis assurément plus la même personne qu’il y a 2 mois. D’ailleurs, je ne vais pas installer l’application Facebook sur mon téléphone portable. Une utilisation sur mon PC à la maison sera amplement suffisante. Je me suis aussi désinscrit de tous les groupes « Street Photo » sur Facebook. Je n’y vois plus d’intérêt.

 

 

Alors que me reste t’il au final ? Facebook, Instagram et mon Blog. J’ai largement de quoi faire avec ça. Surtout avec mon Blog qui reste l’endroit où je peux montrer ce que je veux. Ce sera largement suffisant. Pas besoin de plus et c’est largement assez chronophage. Je me recentre sur ce que je fais de mieux, à savoir faire des photos dans la rue.

 

 

 

~ o ~

Time to move on …

 

 

 

I wrote this blog today because I needed to write about something that had been saddening me for a few days … The other day I went to see the pictures on the World-Street.Photography site. It has been several weeks since I went there. I received from time to time emails informing me that one of my photos made it to the Gallery or for a Special Mention for one of my photos that I had uploaded for one of the monthly competitions (I assure you, there is nothing to win …). I love this sharing platform. I find that there is a very pure and raw form of Street Photos. It’s still a sharing pictures site with ♥, but the community is quite small with quality content.

 

 

As it was a while since I did not come to the site, I went directly to the « Popular Photos » page, just to have a quick overview of what had been posted recently. I’m stunned … For most pictures, to me it wasn’t Street Photography ! Many staged photos, posed portraits … And these are the most popular photos ?? !! I wondered if I was on the same site I used to post. The photos in question are aesthetically pleasing, but they do not constitute in any case for me Street Photography ! The people who are registered on this site are those who vote. I totally understand that people have been able to find these  photos beautiful , but stop the masquerade it’s not Street Photography, it’s off topic ! You can see what I’m talking about here.

 

 

My vision of Street Photography has evolved since I started. I started with little to no knowledge of the thing. Besides, I still have a lot to learn. I did a few street portraits with the agreement of the people photographed. Since I stopped because I find less interest and I moved to a form of Street Photography more candid. I looked for on the internet a definition of Street Photography. I came across some Manifestos. Few people have written a definition of Street Photography. It’s too complicated and nobody really wants to do it. The problem is that the term « Street Photography » has become a catch-all term ! We put everything in it and especially anything. It’s not because a photo was taken on the street that it’s a street photo ! Some voices have risen to try to define Street Photography. I am thinking in particular of Nick Turpin or Alex Coghe. These people have a legitimacy and yet, despite that, nothing very concrete has emerged. It would be necessary to provide a definition. If only for beginners.

 

 

I do not recognize myself in what is posted on World-Street.Photography. It hurts a bit, because I really liked this site. I met great photographers there and especially I saw great pictures ! I must believe that I have done my time on this platform. It may be time to move on … I think this break that I imposed myself with social networks, did me the greatest benefits and allowed me to open my eyes to some things that I could not discern. I realize there have always been people posting anything under the « Street » label, but I was not paying attention. For 2 months, I was focused only on my work. I had little or no contact with the pictures of others. I was in my bubble. It’s a good thing ! Do not have the temptation to compare his work with those of others, follow his own vision, no distraction … For the last few days I went to see on Facebook, Instagram and thus also W-S.P the photos that are shared. A bit like a person who has lived away from civilization for a while, the return is tough ! I am definitely not the same person as 2 months ago. Besides, I will not install the Facebook application on my mobile phone. A use on my home PC will be enough. I also unsubscribed from all Street Photo groups on Facebook. I do not see any more interest.

 

 

So what’s up with me ? Facebook, Instagram and my Blog. I have plenty of things to do with it. Especially with my Blog which remains the place where I can show what I want. This will be more than enough. No need for more and it is largely quite time consuming. I refocus on what I do best, to take pictures in the street.

 

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14 commentaires sur “Time to move on …

  • John Harper

    W-S-P has some genuinely talented photographers and contributors, let’s get that fact out of the way first of all. The sister site Kujaja is similar, great people too and where there is a much broader range of photography covered. That photo you used as an example isn’t at the furthest stretch of the imagination Street Photography, it belonged in Kujaja not W-S-P. Both sites lack one thing – Moderators; They would be able to advise members on which Site or Category their particular photo belonged. I left there almost two years ago, so have no idea what the « Popular » pages look like. We do know that any « Vote » based site will have some awful photos displayed at the Top Page because some of the photographers will have schmoozed their way there, one look at 500px would provide all the evidence anyone would possibly need. They only fool themselves as their egos are massaged.

    Anyway, who needs it? A photographers images aren’t going to improve by being on one of these sites, we see the occasional piece of inspiration in what is otherwise a sea of mediocrity, at best people copying each others styles and concepts. It will only improve by being out there shooting.

    Once you get into all this Social Media it can become overly involving, worrying for instance about things like the W-S-P « Popular » page – really, who cares? It’s why I dropped out from everything apart from my Website, Facebook (for family and friends) and occasional posts to LFI Magazine which is curated with no voting system. Do your own thing Jeff, which incidentally you do exceptionally well. Your brand of « Street » or « Life » Photography, is in part the definition of this genre. ok there are some other elements, but essentially it needs to either tell a story or perhaps have some kind of geometric appeal.

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Auteur de l’article

      That’s definitely what is lacking on W-S.P. Moderators. Ok it’s a hard work to moderate all these pictures shared, but even if no establised rules have been writen on SP, there are implicite rules. We can’t keep on going and say that we make our own rules because that leads to what we are seeing. This kind of behaviour has always existed. Why am I reacting like that now and not before ? May be that I was not paying attention or I didn’t care that much before. Something might have changed. I’m more concerned now about my work. I’ve found my way. These 2 months helped me to have a clear vision of what I want to do. I’m pissed off to see some great street pictures getting lost in favor of some fake Street Captures. I thought that leaving 500px and coming to W-S.P would change anything, but as you said may be it’s the system of Sharing Platfom. I guess that I’m not ok with it anymore. I feel better sharing with happy few on my Blog and FB page.

      • John Harper

        The last two months off have essentially reinforced what you’d already realised. Writing a blog on any subject you wish, posting photos you like, it really is therapeutic. I read through Alex’s comment below, wise words, particularly the last sentence – “the unique challenge should be with ourselves” – it’s exactly what we’ve been discussing for the last year!

        • Jeff Chane-Mouye Auteur de l’article

          That’s it, all is summed up in one sentence. The one to please and impress is yourself. Once you have understood that, you don’t care much about popularity. But not looking for popularity don’t prevent me from being critical towards the system and people’s behaviours

  • Jan Jespersen

    Oh, I just replied to your comment on W-S.P. Now I see you have a complete blog post on it Jeff 😉

    I agree with you. I am going through the same thing. Considering to leave all social medias when it comes to photography. My motivation has gone I am afraid. All in this world is about the amount of likes. I can’t even open my phone with the gps turned on, before I have to like or dislike the last restaurant I was near by…

    The same on Instagram. I get some new followers and likes occasionally. But most of them are just liking and following, to get their own likes and followers. Then they leave. It has no purpose, and seems so shallow… One image in one split of a second, among 1 billion other images. Who cares anyway.

    I have to renew my street photographing and find some motivation somehow. But really can’t find it right now. Well good that photography isn’t the only thing in our lives 😉 Its Christmas, so it is time to spend some time with family and the ones we love!

    Take care Jeff!

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Auteur de l’article

      Hey Jan, I agree with you. That’s why I choose not to install facebook on my smartphone. I don’t want to be slave anymore. I will consult FB on my home pc now. We « like » to fast without even looking closely to a picture. I bought Yiannis Yiasaris Photobook because I wanted to have a real book with real pictures to look at. And it makes a difference ! All the pictures in the book, I’ve already seen them… on a computer. But these images printed are awesome. They are details I didn’t paid attention.
      This break was a real refreshing for the mind. Just shooting for myself, without any pressure. I’ve made thousands of pictures during this period. I didn’t care much about having keepers. It was just pleasure. And you’re right when you say that Street Photography or Photography is not the only thing. We sometimes forget to live the moment. Sometimes it’s good to drop the camera and just enjoy the moment !
      Take care mate, I wish you to find aagain your muse !

  • Paul Hull

    Hi Jeff,

    We have already corresponded about this subject on kujaja but I feel compelled to write here a well.

    I for one (and I’m sure there will be others too) will sorely miss your contributions on WSP if you decide to no longer post there. I understand your frustration at some of the shots on the popular page but please do not let that be the determining factor as to whether or not to remain on WSP. The popular page is just that, it doesn’t necessarily reflect quality.

    For me, part of the joy of WSP/kujaja is looking for the diamond in the rough by trawling through the new postings and spotting something good to recommend to the people that follow me. That is how I first discovered your work!! I rarely look at the popular pages because they are usually populated by the same people all the time.

    I also believe that inspiration can be found by posting on photographic community websites and that WSP is one of the better examples out there. I have certainly evolved and, hopefully, improved as a photographer since joining kujaja and part of that is down to the influence of other contributors on the site, yourself included.

    I wish you nothing but good fortune with this blog but please do not let it turn into a place to shoot down other sites or Social Media, there is nothing to be gained from it and it has all been said before…many times. It also seems to be a common theme for bloggers to openly criticise sites that they previously posted on and it just stinks of double standards to me. We all know the pros and cons of posting on photographic websites, the trick is not to take it and yourself too seriously.

    I have been fortunate enough to encounter some great people/photographers through WSP and other sites and for that reason alone I am thankful for their existence.

    It is also where I first encountered the work of a great street photographer called Jeff Chane-Mouye.

    All the very best,

    Paul

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Auteur de l’article

      Hey Paul,

      I stopped answering on the topic on W-S.P because I was hopping more reactions (bad or good) to this important thing, but I guess that most of people don’t care. And that is saddening me because that means that people don’t think that’s a big issue. I love Street Photography, more and more. I can say that it’s part of me now. That’s why I’m reacting like that. As I said, I feel bad to see some great street pictures lost in favor of some fake street pictures. We already discussed that in the past, I feel that W-S.P is slowly dying. The Staff is doing a great job and this year efforts have been made with a lot of different competitions with some great curators, but I don’t feel the same excitement I had when I first came here in June 2016. That’s why I prefer to back up. I’m not spitting on W-S.P, I respect the site, but the thing is that I don’t recognize myself in what is presented and I don’t feel like sharing anymore. It’s not a big deal, people leave, people come. As easy as that. Most of people (except Helmut…) I met on W-S.P (Vasco Trancose, Vanessa Cass, Graham Oneil, Saman Ali, you and some others) I’m already in contact with them on FB and I follow their work. So I don’t feel like loosing anything. I’m not asking people to quit W-S.P. If people are happy with it, that’s good. Unfortunately that’s not the case for me. Don’t think that it’s only because what I saw recently, but I was already slowing things down since some time.
      I’ll meet you on FB mate !

  • Alex Coghe

    As an educator i always felt this topic very important. I given lectures and conferences to the universities, explaining what is street photography. I still believe is more a mindset, an approach and a way of living photography more than a genre. Then it happens to google the term, making the same on instagram. Today the term is anything and nothing. Today Humans of New York is defined Street Photography. People is staging photos, forgetting completely the straight approach because they need to win awards and festivals and in fact they win festival and contests with staged photos or people backs…the motivations in the 60’s for the pioneers was to make art through the everyday life. This was for Meyerowitz, Winogrand, Friedlander and all the masters. Today is something to become popular, when fame is relative. Street Photography is not to be rich, commercial photography does, and yet people is living this kind of photography as an utopia. In order to get likes the repeat the same formulas. We see roosters, pdgeons, umbrellas. And we see the Gilden formula, the Parr formula, the Moriyama formula. To make street photography today means to dedicate your saturday or sunday to take photos in downtown. To make street photography today means to make photos for 6 months, to be selected by another like you and starting to propose workshops. It is sad. I am one of the curators of world street photography and I do my job. I agree with you, but this is not a problem of the platform. It is a situation created by the approach today most of people is doing and thinks about street photography. It is something created by festivals and awards, rewarding always the same people, people with money to spend in fees because today for the most street photography is always a competition, a race. When the unique challenge should be with ourselves.

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Auteur de l’article

      You have a point here Alex. The problem is not the sites but WE are to blame for that. We praise this kind of photographs and give legitimacy to them. Why are we acting like that ? Because people don’t really know what SP is. It is said that the entry ticket in SP is affordable. Grab a simple point & shoot camera or your smartphone and make pictures on the streets. That’s what people are telling. But there’s much more of that. To do SP, you need commitment, you need to know what the Masters have done before you, there’s a philosophy of the street. It’s not just taking pictures in the streets… As you said, we see a lot of copycat in SP now. How many people have a distinctive Style ? They are some… but most of us are only repeating the same winning recipee. I believe like you that Street Photography is a mindset. When I’m with my kids or friends, I photograph them as if I was in the street. I call it Life Photography.

      • Alex Coghe

        I don’t pray that kind of photos. In fact I am seen as the enemy most of the times, just because I don’t belong to cliques and because I say the truth. The response is always the same with invitations to be silent in order to receive favours. I still think the photos of the pioneers are the model to follow, without for this being copycats. There is a way to tell stories around us, by being personal. If you ask me, in any case, street is straight, unposed.

        • Jeff Chane-Mouye Auteur de l’article

          I believe that if you stay true to yourself, that’s the most important. When you start to try to please people it’s the start of the end. I know that this is a delicate topic. A lot of cronyism on the web. That’s how things work if you want to be popular. Keep a low profile and don’t stand up to point out what’s is going wrong. Personally I will keep denouncing the failings on my Blog.

  • Vasco Trancoso

    Congrats Jeff! Once more in search of Truth! Great!

    1 – In the first place we must recognize that our senses are insufficient to perceive reality as it is and, as a result, lie to us. A bee, a bat or a shark will have different ideas about the same reality depending on the information provided by the sensory organs of each.
    So when we photograph the world around us, we are only making a personal interpretation of a non-reality. There is therefore a first, unalterable, level of changing reality.

    2 – A photograph selects with the frame part of the reality that we see. In this way, we can relate people to people and objects and tell a story from a decontextualized fragment of the whole of the urban puzzle. So it may suggest that certain people are related through their respective gaze, gestures or even with advertisements suggesting soul states through juxtapositions – with greater or lesser irony or humor. When, after all, none of these things happened. In other words, a photo « Candid » can also not tell the truth about the meaning or history of the moment portrayed.

    3 – Of course, a « staged » photograph in which there is a « direction » and « choreography » of actors will lie much more about reality. In fact all Visual Arts are a way of interpreting reality and therefore all « beautiful lies ». This does not mean that they are not valid. On the contrary. So a project with choreographed photography can be extraordinary as Art but it is not Street Photography that should have the highest degree of spontaneity possible. There are well-known authors (eg Diane Arbus) who have made documentary photography and « staged » with so much quality that now integrate the history of photography itself and yet their images can not be considered as street photography. The quality of the photograph is not dependent on the genre practiced.

    4 – It is said that a photograph is « staged » when there is any kind of interaction between photographer and photographed.
    I agree and in my evolution as a photographer, after a beginning in which I did many street portraits in B & W, I read the first book of David Gibson and I start (2016) making only candid color photographs – where people in general are not identifiable (they are often silhouettes or another graphic element of the composition). Some rare 2017 candid street portraits were allways made operating camera in silent mode and shooting it at chest level. So people did not realize they were being photographed.
    There is, however, a situation which seems to me to be more debatable. This is the « eye contact ». Of course I mean situations in which (in the moment we press the shutter) there is an unscheduled contact with the gaze of someone passing by and not programmed previously. If we consider that the all eye contact is not candid and therefore it is not street photography, then we would have to reclassify photographs of the great street photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson (starting with 21 photos with « eye contact » in his famous 1952 « Decisive Moment ») as Garry Winogrand (there are several photos with « eye contact » but I remember one (New York, 1969) in which a couple kisses next to a door and there is the « smiling » look for the photographer of the kissing girl and there is still the reproachful look of a friend next on the sidewalk – both are essential for the impact of the image), Willian Klein (remember the photo of the boy with the revolver?), Richard Sandler (several pics with eye contact « in » The Eyes of the City « ) etc.
    Or were they « street photographers » who sometimes did not take street photography? I think that while they photographed, they only thought of the pleasure that shooting the scene brought them.
    Incidentally, when someone walks on the street, with camera in hand – or not – is not exempt from « eye contact » with the people who´s passing by. So it is a common situation that does not alter the normal flow of events and may even emphasize an interesting situation in photographic terms. I think that is an exception and could therefore be accepted (each case is a case) as street photography.

    PS: If you´ll take a look at Juxtaposition contest at WSP you´ll realize that a great number of people uploading there don´t know the meaning of the the word. I´ve suggested to WSP to write some information on terms of that contest….

    Cheers

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Auteur de l’article

      Hey Vasco, there’s a lot to discuss about what you said. I won’t go through all the points you have raised, because I’m presently writing a Blog about most of them 😉 A Blog about trying to define Street Photography from my point of view. Some kind of personal manifesto… The eye contact is part of it. Should we consider « eye contact » as interaction ? Some purists will say yes and don’t want any kind of interaction with the people they are photographying. It seems a bit extreme to me. I’m not against interaction with people in the streets. We should make the difference between interaction and directing people. You can have interaction with people and still capture un-posed pictures. I often catch (or steal whatever you call it…) moments like that when people dropp off their guards and they are unaware that I’m taking a snapshot. Is it still Street Photography ? It is to me. My red line not to cross is simple. I don’t want to ask people to pose for me. I want the moment captured to be real, not a studio session in the streets.
      The photo of William Klein, you’re reffering , he provoked the boy asking him to have this mean face pointing his gun at him. Is it Street Photography ? It is difficult to answer. My first impression would be : « No it’s not Street Photography ». But there was an interaction, he provoked the boy, he didn’t asked him to pose, he was just expecting a reaction he would captured. So Street or not ? Hard to say… I would say he went beyond the red line I’m imposing to myself.
      The Eye contact itself is not really a problem for me. Sometimes you get an unexpected eye contact and sometimes you wait for it to give more strenght to your photograph. It’s still for me a candid moment captured.
      Thanks again for your precious comment Vasco. See you in 2018 ! 😉