Last July was just 3 months ago, but it feels like an eternity ago. I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve done anything in Street Photography. There was a time when I complained that I came home with nothing but crap. I complained that my eyes couldn’t see anything. I used to complain that my city was boring so I could make excuses. None of that today. I can’t even complain about anything. I hardly do any photography. Well, street photography… We just spent a few days at the hotel and I took a lot of pictures. I will share some of them with you in this Blog.
What troubles me most is that I don’t miss street photography. On the rare occasions when I found myself in the city, I happily took out my camera, but when I stayed at home, I had no desire to go out and take pictures. No desire to go wandering around tirelessly doing what I thought was such an important duty of documentation. I am now wondering if I was wrong all along. Had I not thrown myself wholeheartedly into Street Photography for the wrong reasons? If I thought it was so important, like breathing, how come I’ve become so detached from it?
There is one thing I must confess. For a long time I tried to convince myself that it was because I loved people, that I empathised with them and their situations, that I did Street Photography. This is a lie. I never argue in the street. I never interact with anyone. I started that way because it was a way to give myself some legitimacy and to overcome my fear of photographing people. By interacting with them, I sort of got their consent. But for several years now. I only consider people as compositional elements in my photographs. Of course I am on the lookout because I know people’s reactions. I can anticipate what is going to happen and that is essential to capture gestures. This is what makes me doubt my real motivation in the street. I realise that what I do is very selfish. Everything I do is because I think it’s beautiful and it’s because I enjoy it that I do Street Photography.
The last time I was in the car, I was listening to a programme about old age. And there were some interesting things. For example, “At what age are we considered old”? In the world of high-level sport, it’s 25 years old. In the professional world, it’s 45… And in Street Photography? When are we old? I feel like I’m already old personally… Well, I’m 49 and I’ve already got 6 years of Street Photography behind me. I wonder if I haven’t grown up too fast in Street Photography. So much so that I’m getting tired of it today. I sincerely hope that this is just a temporary condition…
I’m even old in the way I approach the practice. Who nowadays still shoots in RAW? Who has absolutely no presence on social networks? I’m even thinking that it was better before with the Photo Clubs where we exchanged and discussed photos face to face without the filter of social networks, hidden behind our screen. With that, I said everything. It’s an old man’s reflex to say: “it was better before…”. I feel like I’m not living in the right era. Even the way I see Street Photography takes me back years. I hate all these new fashions in Street Photography that make all these insipid photo festivals happy. I like the banality of the street, I just like to capture insignificant moments in the street.
I don’t know what I mean by writing this Blog. What I do know is that there are lots of different reasons to do street photography. And also a lot of reasons not to do it or not to want to do it anymore. I wonder a lot about what would make me keep walking the same streets with my Ricoh on my wrist. I’ll leave you with a slideshow of the photos I haven’t shown in the last few months. Very uneven work. Hard to be consistent when you spend so little time in the street…
You’ve still got it though Jeff. Some absolute gems in the video and in this post. I think you’ll come back to it at some stage. I will too, I’m going to try and write a blog this weekend, first I need to sort out all the last two months of photos. I honestly believed that there were hardly any taken, seems I took quite a few even when I wasn’t interested in photography.
One thing is certain John, is that I miss your blogs, your writing. I know that sometimes it’s complicated to find meanings in those trivial things as photography or writing. I really hope to read something from you soon.
I just start to make some kind of reset of my mindset. And one of the thing is to keep all kind of books off me when I go downtown. I know if I have the choice, I will go for the book. I have plenty of time to read. I want to make some space for photography again. It’s not some new-year’s to do list but I need to find some motivation to go and shoot street. And one of them would be to get inspired and challenged by you.! So come on being me this blog and show me your work!
I think you’re being too hard on yourself! These intimate family shots are wonderful … and reading is maybe what feels right for you at this moment. Our visual language is informed by all sorts of input.