Everybody Street

If only there were more hours in the day I would spend much more time on American Suburb X, particularly on ASX TV, where every time I visit I find more things to watch ‘later’. One particular series that I have found time for some is ‘Everybody Street‘,  segments of a documentary about photographers who have used New York City street life as a common thread in their work.  Director Cheryl Dunn was commissioned to make it by the Seaport Museum, New York and it was first shown at the museum in September 2010 in conjunction with the exhibit Alfred Stieglitz New York. Although I don’t really buy the link the museum and film-maker try to make between Stieglitz and street photography – although he was one of the first photographers to take an often hand-held camera out onto the city streets, his intentions were so very different – it is still well worth watching.  On the museum site you can view the film trailer and links to clips showing Joel Meyerowitz, Bruce Gilden and Mary Ellen Mark.

ASX has a longer piece on Bruce Gilden, which near the beginning shows him being attacked by a woman who doesn’t appreciate being photographed as well as on Meyerowitz and Bruce Davidson.

Other photographers in the film, some of whom appear briefly in the trailer include Martha Cooper, Rebecca Lepkoff, Jeff Mermelestein, Clayton Patterson, Ricky Powell, Jamel Shabazz, Luc Sante, Tim Barber, and Bonnie Yochelson, and there are links to their work on the Everybody Street page.

Bonnie Yochelson, formerly the curator of prints and photographs at the Museum of the City of New York, is also the author of the book Alfred Stieglitz New York which was brought out to accompany the show, the first collected exhibition of his work on the the city since he organised his own show in 1932.  As someone who owns the heavyweight two volume collection of his best works, and greatly admire a few images such as his Terminal I’ve never thought his pictures of the city of New York were his strongest hand, and certainly not the best images of the city architecture (the link to this picture in the Getty collection gives the photographer’s comments on why he took this image; it is difficult for us to look at it as he did then because of the enormous load of nostalgia; years ago I wrote about it being like going down the local bus garage to take photographs, though now I might even need to revise that term to ‘transport interchange’.)

Yochelson was of course also responsible for the fine ‘Changing New York‘ showcasing the work of Berenice Abbott, another photographer like Stieglitz I’ve written about at some length in the past (no longer on line, but you can read a review of the 1997 edition by Elsa Dorfmann) as well as viewing a fine selection of her work on-line at the New York Public Library. Berenice Abbott: American Photographer, with text by Hank O’Neal has of course been on my bookshelf since soon after it was published in the 1980s.

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