Two random links from my Diigo bookmarks

by Yule Heibel on April 6, 2008

EDIT: I just noticed now that something in the Diigo Daily blog post functionality must have changed (or I inadvertently changed it?) — everything I highlighted is appearing in the body of my blog post as though it were my text when in fact it’s quotes from the article referenced. I just edited this blog entry to make that clear, blockquoting the bits that are from the Times article. (April 7/08) Further edit, same date: It’s actually too much that all the highlighted bits should get included anyway. I changed the functionality just now to show only the links. Not sure if this will mean that my description of the link (why I bookmarked it) will also disappear, but we’ll see what happens with the next one, which should appear sometime today).

Street photographers fear for their art amid climate of suspicion – Times Online Annotatedtags: freedom, paranoia, photography, public_space, street_photography, terrorism

Here’s a sobering article on the general hysteria over “terrorism,” which has resulted in getting street photographers arrested or detained or questioned. Anyone seen taking photographs, especially covertly or seemingly so, is likely to get in trouble these days. But how can you be a good street photographer if you don’t conceal just a little bit the fact that you’re taking photos in the first place? You want that candid moment, right?

Matt Stuart photographs the unscripted drama of the London streets. Entirely spontaneous, his pictures are made possible by a combination of instinct, cunning and happy coincidence, revealing the beauty and significance of the everyday – what the rest of us see but don’t notice, moments that vanish faster than the blink of an eye.

For his efforts, Stuart has picked up a little collection of pink stop-and-search slips, souvenirs of practising a century-old art form in a city increasingly paranoid and authoritarian.

After 11 years, Stuart is something of an old hand. Using the street photographer’s traditional tool of choice – the discreet and near silent Leica camera – he knows how to make himself invisible, make an image and move on. He rarely runs into trouble; when he does, he knows his rights. (…)

To some, the very idea of covertly photographing strangers might seem “odd”, even distasteful. And yet a proportion of those same people will own a print of Robert Doisneau’s Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville, or have sent greetings cards showing 1930s Paris, as recorded by Brassai. Street photography has given us a lot. More, perhaps, than we know. (…)

Street photography doesn’t just document what our environment used to look like; it shows us how it really looks now, freezing the moment to reveal the weirdness and magic of the split second … Stuart’s photograph of a young dancer, in mid-air, upside-down, in Trafalgar Square … Mermelstein’s of a woman out walking her pet iguana. These images reveal the surreal in the real, force us to appreciate that our city spaces are collages of constantly shifting, surprising juxtaposition.

I ask Mermelstein whether he’s ever hesitated before recording a complete stranger. He says he has … “but I believe firmly that if something’s in the public domain then one has the right to render them photographically. That if you’re out on the street, you’re in public.

  • – interesting, how that compares to France… – post by lampertina

(…) But aren’t there times when he’d rather not be photographed? “Living in London I’m filmed 300 times a day by CCTV, so I’ve got over that quickly.”

(…) “In France, traditionally one of the great centres of street photography, the law now says you own the rights to your own image, so street photography’s become a dead art. In London there’s a growing community of photographers, using digital technology, not just cameras, but blogs, too, to document the city and give each other instant feedback.” (…)

“I’m not going to belittle the issue of terrorism, but this is paranoia. And unfortunately, since Lady Di and now this link with terrorists, photography’s seen by many people as something that’s a little … cheap.”

Street photography on the net
A showcase of contemporary street photographers, including work by Matt Stuart, plus a “masters” section, featuring the brilliant and influential Joel Meyerowitz.
An international street photography collective, with a newsletter, and links to interviews by and films of masters of the art.
A German-based collective, including galleries, news and book reviews.
Work by Jeff Mermelstein, chronicler of New York.
The world’s most famous photographic agency includes work by some of the pioneers and masters of street photography, including Henri Cartier-Bresson and Elliott Erwitt.

Videos (and slides) of keynotes available – The Mobile City » Blog Archive »

tags: mobile_city, reference, locative_media, video, cities, architecture

Michiel de Lange posted keynotes and slides online from the recent Mobile City conference.

(Edit: sorry, this last link is a duplicate — I got mixed up over what was getting sent to my blog automatically, etc. )

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