Posts Tagged ‘street photography’

Paris 2010 (final)

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

After breakfast on Saturday we went for a walk, first making our way alongside the Metro Aerienne to La Rotonde de la Villette, one of my favourite Paris buildings, and then walking a little beside the canal, first to the north and then turning and going south to where there was a street photography show displayed as single images in each of a number of shop windows in the streets around the Rue de Lancry. It was a nice idea, but not really much of a way to display photographs, though we did enjoy the hunt for them. See more about the exhibition and the wedding here on >Re:PHOTO and more photographs in my diary at  Street Photography in the 10e.

Of course I was taking pictures, and for a short while became an unofficial wedding photographer, though I turned down an opportunity to join the party as we had other things to do.

The largest photographic event taking place in Paris was not the dealer show Paris Photo, nor even the Mois de la Photographie, though that had the most prestigious shows, but the fringe, the Mois de la Photo-Off. This is a well organised event, with a free booklet listing the many events accepted for it (and there is also a fringe of the fringe with many other photography shows), but also a series of organised tours around the shows in different areas of Paris on each Saturday afternoon in November.

Photographer Loïc Trujillo (left) talks with Neil Atherton, Commissaire General of the Mois de la Photo-OFF, who led the tour, in Galerie Impressions

On November 20th we had a choice of two areas, and picked ‘Beabourg’, going to eight shows and meeting the photographer or gallerist at all but one of them. We spent around 15-20 minutes in each gallery before walking the short distance to the next. At times it was rather taxing on my hazily remembered ‘O’ Level French, and I was pleased to have my interpreter with me. You can read more about the shows on the tour in two posts here, Photo-Off – A Guided Tour – 1 and Photo-Off – A Guided Tour – 2, and again there are more pictures in my diary.

We had to hurry away at the end of the tour to change and meet Linda’s brother and his wife for a dinner in one of Paris’s institutions, Chartier. It has become a must for tourists and it’s best to go early to avoid a long queue.

I spent Sunday morning at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie and you can read about what I saw there in Sunday Worship at the MEP, though there are no illustrations as photography is forbidden there. Linda chose instead to attend the culte at the Temple de l’Oratoire du Louvre, and we met afterwards for lunch, buying some delicious slices of quiches and cakes on the rue St Antoine and sitting and eating them on a bench out of the light rain in the Place des Vosges.

Afterwards we wandered aroung the Marais, visiting several shows open on a Sunday afternoon, including ten Swedish photographers of the collective Tio Fotgrafer and A Few Shows in the 4e, before making our way across the Seine to the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), to view France 14, the work of 14 younger photographers selected by Raymond Depardon, and then another Metro ride to FIAP Jean Monnet in the 14e, to view a show celebrating 40 years of women’s liberation. And then it was time for dinner and to return to our hotel and rest. There are more photographs from the afternoon in my diary at The Marais and BnF and FIAP.

We had a day before catching our Eurostar back to London on Monday evening for a final walk, rather more relaxed than in the previous days with hardly a visit to a photographic exhibition. You can see the pictures at  Monday Wandering and read a little more about the walk at Monday in Paris.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Violence or Photography?

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

According to some I should be confessing my sins for the criminal behaviour of taking pictures of people in public places like this without first gaining their permission. Of course I don’t see it that way.

On the streets we have no “reasonable expectation of privacy” and while I think we should all – whether taking photographs or not – generally try not to behave in ways that give others reasonable call for upset, making a photograph does not usually fall into that category. Of course there are some photographers who have adopted a very aggressive approach which I feel is questionable, and there are offences such as stalking and ‘up-skirting’, but in general photographing people in public is not a criminal offence, even if those being photographed may not like it. And of course there is sometimes a strong public interest in photographing people who make it clear that they do not want to be photographed.

Mostly those I’ve photographed, at least in recent years, have been involved in protests, and making a protest implies a clear statement that you wish your actions to be recorded and there is also a clear public interest in doing so. But there is also a public interest in the recording and making statements about everyday life, the ordinary behaviour of people often unaware they are being photographed. So while I may occasionally have upset people by taking their pictures, and I may apologise that they feel upset, I’m not apologising for taking pictures or for my actions, but that I’m sorry that they think that way.

This doesn’t mean that I never ask people if I may take their picture. There are times and places where I do, usually when I need to work closely with them and take more than a single image, but more often to do so would mean missing the moment and failing to express what I saw as important to say.

I had to sort through my own ideas on this back around 1990 when I worked on a transport project taking pictures of people on buses. I don’t think there is a single picture I took for that where I asked for permission, and few that I could have made had I done so. Some were clearly aware that I was taking their picture, but most were not.

Only one person actually objected. He was a man sitting on a seat in a bus dressed in shorts with a snake around his bare upper body. I didn’t get a chance to reply to him, as two elderly women sitting to one side immediately butted in, telling him clearly that if he travelled on buses dressed like that he should expect to be photographed. I think his real objection was that I was not paying him – this was his working outfit, and he was on his way to pose with tourists in Covent Garden for a fee.

These thoughts were aroused by an article on PetaPixel, a response by Kansas City photographer Brandon Ballweg to an opinion piece published in the New York Daily News by writer Jean Son titled “When your photograph harms me: New York should look to curb unconsensual photography of women“. In Street Photography Is Not a Crime. Let’s Keep it That Way Ballweg describes her premise that any photographing of women in public places constitutes “gender-based violence“, as “hyperbolic and irresponsible” and goes on to comment on her behaviour and and arguments, as well as what seems to him (and me) her totally inconsistent later claim that “Garry Winogrand is one of my fave artists btw“. Somehow it was fine to photograph women (and men) on the street without their consent in the 1950s, 1960s, 70s and 80s as he so consistently did but now she considers it an offence.

Ballweg ends his piece – worth reading and illustrated by a number of Winogrand images – with a suggestion of a “rational, mature, adult way of dealing with a situation of you’ve been photographed” and don’t like it and goes on to suggest that if having someone take your picture causes you “such distress that you lobby to convene a task force to ban it” then it may be due to “some underlying personal issues that you need to work through and confront as an individual” rather than a problem with photography.

It’s perhaps a little harsh a statement, but reflects Son’s failure to distinguish between actual gender-based violence and the taking of photographs. It’s a vital line to draw if not always clear exactly where it lies, and one which the US Legal system has clearly failed to do in some cases as Son rightly points out.


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Daido Moriyama’s Desire

Monday, November 18th, 2019

I’ve long been a fan of Daido Moriyama, and also of Photo District News (PDN), which was required reading back when I was paid to write about photography on the web for a US-owned web company, and whose web site remains on my list of sites to visit when I have a spare moment. The magazine is still available in print – and you can also subscribe for a digital edition, but you can sign up for free to read the articles on the web site, which include Daido Moriyama’s Street Photography Advice Sounds Sexy (and It Works) which I found a few days ago thanks to a shorter post on PDNPulse.

One of the thicker blocks on my overloaded bookshelves is Provoke: Between Protest and Performance, published in 2016 and I think my ‘Book of the Year’ (and now selling used on Amazon for four times what I paid for it.)

Eikoh Hosoe takes a picture at Alcatraz in Bielsko-Biala, Poland, 2005

Moriyama in 1961 became assistant to Eikoh Hosoe who I was privileged to meet in Poland in 2005. In 1968 and 1969, together with Takuma Nakahira, Takahiko Okada, Yutaka Takanashi, and Kôji Taki he produced the three issues of the magazine ‘Provoke’ around which the book is based. Since then he has produced so much more – and you can see just a little on his web site.

The article on PDN is an excerpt from his latest book, Daido Moriyama: How I Take Photographs, written by Moriyama and Takeshi Nakamoto. It stresses the need to be open to experiences and to really look at things and react to them. Like him I’m a strong believer in the importance of “desire”.

Streets & people

Monday, May 27th, 2019

Thanks to PetaPixel for bringing to my attention the video 1838-2019: Street Photography – A Photo For Every Year with 182 photos — one photo for every year between 1838 when Daguerre set up his camera overlooking the Boulevard du Temple and 2019 with activists hassling an MP outside Parliament in London.

It’s a curiously hypnotic experience, with each photo appearing for around 6 seconds, with a musical soundtrack that reflects the changing decades, and a rather strange selection of images by Guy Jones, taken on streets around the world, though majoring on the USA. I found it rather annoying but I couldn’t stop watching, though I did turn the volume right down.

Almost all of the pictures certainly are taken on streets and show people, but it rather reflects the lack of any real integrity in the term ‘street photography‘. And while the pictures do reflect the changes in technology over the years, any real historical oversight is entirely prejudiced by every picture from the 20th and 21st century being presented as colour – which for most means a recently colorized version of an original black and white picture. Some colours were rather less than believable. This is faux history in the making.

You’ll probably recognise a few of the pictures, and some of the photographers, but mixed in with these are some rather anonymous postcard views, press images and amateur holiday snaps, which don’t always seem particularly appropriate to represent the year in which they are taken. It’s in a way a very uninformative video; often I found myself wanting to know more about why a particular picture was taken and what it it shows. And for those taken in more recent times I did wonder whether Jones has permission to use the images from the copyright holders. I hope so, though I saw no closing credits to indicate this.