Despite the title I must reassure my readers that I have not changed my Street Photography blog into a religious soapbox, This post is about one of my most recent pictures and the concerns it gives me, despite its on-line popularity.
The first concern I have with this image is that it could easily be viewed as a picture from the 60's or 70's as I have published it in Black & White and the subject is timeless. This picture was captured only a few days ago and for me fails to meet one of my basic "rules", that a picture should aspire to be "of its time" . What do i mean by "of its time" ?
I do not believe that as a current street photographer I should be relying on sentimental nostalgic subjects or techniques to attract the attention of viewers.. I will be the first to admit that some images work well when the colour is removed but my approach is to shoot straight with minimal post capture work flow, retaining the integrity of the moment as far as I can. I think it is reasonable to use today's technique (Digital) as this also contributes to an image being "of its time" !
Let me state for the record that I love looking at Black & White photography, but i see it now being used as a pictorial device rather than a documentary necessity, as it once was. I feel that it is my responsibility as a Tog in the twenty first century to try and represent the here and now and not to seek refuge in the visual comfort zone of the past !
I see Black & White "Street" imagery in much the same way as I once viewed sepia toned prints, I'm often left wondering what some of these great captures would look like with less post capture intervention.
In the end its all comes down to how you see the function of your photography, if you value pictorial values above all else then the decision is made however if you feel that you want to move forward and separate yourself from the work of the last century a more documentary / critical approach might be necessary.
I see no problem with being influenced by the great photographers of the past but these guys got off the bus a long time ago and its now up to us to move things on before it is our stop. The route might be the same but it should take on a different appearance with the passage of time.
Keep it real !