Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Where are all the street photographers?

The local art museum is hosting an exhibition called "Andre Kertesz: On Reading". Andre Kertesz was a photographer who started in the early 1900's, and photographed into the 1980's. A well known local photographer gave a talk about the exhibit this past Friday as part of an ongoing series. After listening to the talk and walking through the exhibit, I noticed that while confined to a single topic of people reading, the photos could be thought of as street photography. They were all candid photos, taken in public places. While they didn't fit a strict definition of what is being called street photography, I considered them to be part of that genre.

This is the second exhibit I've seen at the museum from photographers in the late 1900's, who photographed a slice of life. People going about their business, doing mostly mundane things. They show how people, in the whole, haven't changed much. But there are surprising changes over the years. Maybe today, they would be called photo-journalists rather than street photographers.

I look at a lot of magazines. Bookstores are great places nowadays, you can go in, grab a magazine or two and read them while you have a cup of coffee. I tend to take advantage of that fact and keep up on the photography magazines. When the year end comes by, they all tend to show their picks of the best photography of the year. I've noticed that very little of it, if any, is slice of life stuff. They tend to be, especially nowadays, heavily saturated, stylized, works which usually have very little connection with real life. I know people are still out there, photographing the daily routines of people, but where are they? Why aren't they getting any recognition?

Or am I just missing them?

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