It’s been a while since I’ve been on YouTube to see videos about Street Photography. It’s also been a while since Tim Huynh, one of the craziest Vloger, published anything. His latest video is about the last Italian Street Photography Festival. An uncompromising review of the finalists’ photos and also of the winners. You can see the video here. It gave me a chance to see what’s currently going on in Street Photography.
Since I have retired from any photo sharing platform, I no longer look at other people’s work. For over 4 years I looked at countless photos. I was blown away by some of the photos. Even more blown away by others. But a certain weariness also set in because I realised that it was a race for sensationalism. It had become a race to the top. More and more. This is especially true for the photos that are sent in for competitions.
You know what ? Nothing has changed since I left … It’s this overkill that annoys me. I realise that these kinds of photos generate an instant emotion in me [Waouhh!!] but that it quickly fades. Why is that? These photos always have the same style calibrated for competitions. Juxtapositions, superpositions, burlesque photos, photos that play with colour… In short, yes, these photos are pleasing to the eye, but in the end it’s just like social networks. We look at them, we smile and [Next!] we move on to the next one …
I’m not interested in this kind of photography anymore because for several years now, I’ve had a more documentary approach to the street. I realise that I have a very old school vision of Street Photography. I photograph very ordinary and mundane scenes simply because the street is like that 99% of the time. Sometimes something unusual or extraordinary happens. I just try to be a bit creative with my composition, but I don’t try to make pictures that look like surrealist paintings. I’m very keen on the documentary side of things.
All the photos were taken with the Ricoh GR3. For some reason, the quality of the photos in the Blog is quite poor. You can click on the photo to get a better quality in the thumbnail that will open.
Absolutely with you 100% on that! I believe there’s beauty and compositional tension to be found in every day, ‘mundane’ situations. I’m SO BORED of contest ‘trophy shots’ … everything is designed for a split second social media attention span on a tiny screen and this attitude has reached the competitions. Great shots as ever here!!
Competitions are for horses… The guy was right!
Why do we have to prove that we have the biggest one! Sorry about that Deborah…
We live in a me me me world.
We can judge someone by his body of work not a single photo that entered a contest.
The guy who won, Forest Walker has a terrific body of work. Frankly I love his work. But why does he still need to participate to this kind of circus? He should be miles above this…
Tim makes some very valid points in that video, plus as always he’s funny with it. I have to say that as soon as a notification comes through regarding Tim’s YouTube channel then I watch almost immediately.
Those competitions are pointless, I have never fathomed why it is photographers would pay to enter them. Even if they’re free the selections are arbitrary at best. The judges or curators are going to be subjective, there’s very little objectivity. I understand that as I know you do, it’s human nature, we like what we like. However they all seem to like “Glory Shots”. I think that’s why some photographers struggle with Street Photography, they give up on it very quickly because they can’t find those shots. Those type of photos often don’t exist, it’s exactly as you say Jeff, the streets are mundane. We just document and frame in a way to make it interesting aesthetically and hopefully with some kind of narrative. We should both write a blog: Form versus Content…hold it…we did that!
Looking for glory shots… Seems that I’ve already written on that too.
When you have a look to the finalists photos, you can easily conclude that your work is shit. Those guys don’t live on the same planet as we do. But hey, they present their best shots and they also shoot shit. Well for some photographers, even their shit shots are better than our so called keepers…
I don’t understand people craving for approval, accolade, glory… We all know that there’s nothing more subjective than those festivals but people still want to be part of it.
For this Italian street photography festival, I went through all the finalists and of course my selection for the winners would be different. But man, some very lame photos in the finalists…
Just keep on taking photos regardless. I do it because I enjoy doing it not primarily because other people like it or comment on it. I miss seeing your photos in YouTube.
Thanks mate. I don’t look for approval or I don’t look anymore … There was a time when I was looking for. When I started and I needed to hear that what I was doing was good. But I don’t care anymore and the way all those social platforms are built, there is still the pressure of the social media with the likes, the number of people looking at your videos (on YouTube). Even if you sincerly don’t give a shit, theses figures are still here to remind you that YOU’re on a social platform and theses are the rules ! Deal with it ! That’s why I quit YouTube. I didn’t like the ME looking at the number of people who looked at my slideshows. I already quitted Instagram and Facebook for the same reasons. Do I feel better ? Well I don’t miss Social Media. So It was the right move for me.
Today I’m in a phase where I’m not focused on Street. I’ve been dedicated for more than 6 years and somehow I needed a break. I won’t rush things. I know that the flame is still here. Not as bright as it used to be but still here. I will feed this this fire from time to time. Don’t misunderstand me. I still love Street, even if I do less today