Monday, December 17, 2012

Composition in Street Photography is Humanist concept: A powerful interview

All street or documentary photographers will have heard of Joel Meyerowitz, and many (including me) admire him and his work. This interview speaks about composition in a way you may not have heard before. It's a very humanistic approach which I share and which goes against the grain of much street photography which seeks, in Joel's words, to "collect objects" or to put it another way, to objectify the world we seek to record with our cameras.
I have one point of disagreement with Joel, which is not a huge deal, well it could be. He says that with a rangefinder the photographer has one eye free to see the rest of what's going on around the scene, but an SLR with its viewfinder in the centre of the camera blinds the photographer to the context. I personally have only ever used SLRs and now a DSLR and I do not feel that I am ever unable to see or be aware of the surrounding context when I am working. It's just a technical thing, but don't let it convince you that you can't follow his marvellous advice with an SLR. It works very well for me.
What he says represents, I believe a landmark statement in the aesthetics of street photography and in my not so humble opinion, should be part of the gospel we follow as we take our cameras on to the street.

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