The subject of today’s blog has been nagging me for a while, I noticed this unhealthy trend earlier in the year and said nothing . Today I must speak out !
A few months ago I was lucky enough to see a huge collection of top quality street photography , these images were all created by different photographers from all corners of the world . The skill and vision required to make these individual images was beyond dispute but one thing concerned me greatly !
This curated collection looked as if they all emanated from the same strand of photographic DNA , the lack of variation shocked me !
I was left wondering if Elliot Erwitt , Saul Leiter or any other “Big Name” would have made the cut in this very tight predictable aesthetic , I’m not saying this stuff is bad , in fact its great but viewed as a group, I noticed that they possessed a uniformity, The surprises had left the building !
This lack of variation would be more understandable if the work came from the same geographical area or socioeconomic group , but it does not , the creators & curators of this work come from a broad representation of the global community in every sense , few managed to break out from this predictable street photography generic style .
The truth is that this evolving street photography style has been silently adopted by many and its popularity is growing, many of the “Big Name” members of this cabal are probably not even aware of their subconscious creative obedience ?
The age of Street Photography muzak has arrived and it thrives on Instagram .The common people are curating modern Street Photography , through the power of the “Like” , the cultural equivalent of Birdie Song consumers ruling the roost ! Joking aside, global street photography is looking more like a product of Artificial Intelligence everyday, these incestuously inspired pictures are starting to look more like the products of algorithms than creations of the soul !
I only recently discovered Streetrepeat.org by Julie Hrudova , its excellent and scary in equal measure ? A visual warning to us all that the SP direction of travel should be influenced by a variety of the best creative practitioners who think outside the box, not the passive endorsements of the masses !
One of my own images is on there with thousands of “likes” , the problem is I don’t post on Instagram and never have ?
Save yourself first , set up your own independent website now and make it the hub of your independant Street photography practice, care not one jot for the endorsement and acknowledgement of others , discover who you are as a photographer quietly , build and develop your own online space , avoid this dangerous Instagram place.
Social media does have a role to play in Street Photography practice but it is not a useful yard stick to measure personal progress , what we do is very simple , the gear & workflow we use is more or less the same, surely its not beyond us to share our own unique personal interpretations of life ! Resist the pressures and temptation to fit in, you do not have to join the herd and paint yourself grey !
Street Photographs should not look like creations from a well intended committee !
In times now gone, a small pool of analogue street photographers created more or less in isolation and followed independent visual explorations of their neighborhoods, towns or cities. These photographers came up with very different visual solutions ,these conditions gave way to original work and the global foundations of Street , they did it in a unique way, embracing creative isolation and a curious mentality., the adoption of a universal style is a creative cul de sac !
Mass production and consumption of Street Photography is corrupting the ethos of Street Photography , this is happening now on our watch and we are all to blame , the “Street” genie is definitely out of the bottle, we need to collectively and carefully decide how to proceed and make best use of our three wishes !
Don’t let the masses of “Masterpieces” corrupt your unique creative vision, declare a state of creative independence today and pursue your own vision !.
We are all individuals ?
Until next time , keep it real …..
PS The project below shows a great independent vision and how much can be achieved with very little .
Check out the work of Tristan Bejawn, Juror’s Pick, LensCulture Street Photography Awards 2019, Bus Stop Q ,