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I am a writer and dreamer, currently working on blogs and a book series.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

More Than Camera Shy

I recently heard that the street photographer Éric Soucy has been encountering an angry response to his taking pictures of the city.  People see his camera in hand or the flash of light and because they assume the worst or just don't want their picture taken in the first place, they get upset and threaten him.  I understand why they're angry; they don't know or trust the purpose of the photo not to mention whatever Éric would tell them, the stranger that he is to them.  
Here is Éric's piece: 

Street Photography – A Criminal Intent 

As a street Photographer we are all subjected to susceptible minds and paranoid individuals who think we are out to invade their private life, exploit their beauty, their children or their misery and cash in on the internet... Crime of the Century.
But seriously, where has Street Photography been buried and why has the role of a Street Photographer been confused with that of a spy agent?
The lost culture of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Vivian Maier can be re-discovered and re-understood in our shallow crazy digital era where Street Photography has become a weird and schizoid behaviour worthy of the worst suspicions. 
Enjoy and cherish your local Street Photographer.
Henri's and Vivian's colossal bodies of work most certainly influences each of us every time we click that shutter, but there are far more variables playing in in our actions behind the camera.
The city's cultural, religious, architectural and political histories and actualities, and that of its people, also defines the compositions and subjects, blah, blah, blah... we all know and heard that. Most importantly: what is it that motivates a Street Photographer to risk getting is lights punched out and his expensive gear destroyed for no money during his lifetime to get out and snap the life of the city?

The artistic intent. It is the reason why we do what we do. Street Photographers go out to capture simple incomprehensible stuff to a busy half blind citizen : happiness, misery, loneliness, love, hate, vindication, compassion, dialogue, age, racism, sex, disease, courage, rejection, stardom, responsibility, conflict, collectivity, addiction, pain and all the other realities, taboos and emotions possible to put in a captured image. Street Photographers slow down the world so you can contemplate it.

We are all too preoccupied by our endless responsibilities and our idealist preoccupations of imagining the world as it should be to stop and see what truly lies in front of us. A good street photography will set your mind free to think and see the truth, see the world for what it is, uglier or more beautiful than you had imagined it.

The artistic intent is therefore the artistic result in what we try to achieve in Street Photography, an utmost important role of illustrating facts and events, dreams and nightmares, states and emotions for what they are. Why they are is the question we try to provoke.

A majority of us will often produce this intent unconsciously, with our sens of scene and our painter eye. But make no mistake, sensitive artists will pick up on issues and messages through their emotional intelligence, through their unconscious mind where the bulk of their experience is stored proudly. Some of it surfaces sometimes, and one will consciously produce a statement. Such was perhaps the case with Vivian and Henri and the other great Street Photographers, or perhaps not. Unconscious spontaneity I think can create the proper dynamic to find and shoot the iconic street shot.

Following one's intuition to lead us into the good moment on the right street corner. Perhaps that was also true for the great Street Photographers? After all, to come in touch with the street you must first establish contact. Then comes along the event, the person, the scene, that will produce the Street Photograph. Your camera then becomes the recorder of your experience, of the reality you are exposed to.

When you carry back home the few shots that may have some cultural value you think to yourself : I have accomplished my work. Processing and publishing the good street photo is the procession of the sensitive artist that wants to share the world and trigger a dialogue about it, and hopefully, be recognized and loved in return for producing significant art.

Street Photographers are a dying breed of artists motivated by passion and culture, by love and values and art. They receive very little money for the critical societal role they play if none at all – Vivian Maier remained unknown all of her life – nevertheless they build bodies of work that are inestimable to the evolution of society through collective awareness.

 Open your mind, don't punch out your local Street Photographer.

For the complete version: http://luminancia.eu/content/street-photography-%E2%80%93-criminal-intent-0

More from Eric Soucy:


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