The intense photography of Trente Parke, Part I

Trent Parke (born 1971) is an Australian photographer, member of Magnum Photos.

For me he’s the best street photographer ever. You’ll find in his work : energy, composition, mystery, questions, technique (light, long pauses), intensity…

I’ll make a second article with his colors.

1999058JLLON38309LON38311LON38315LON38333LON38337LON38377LON38385LON38402AUSTRALIA. Sydney. Pitt st, city centre. 2002AUSTRALIA. Sydney. Hunter st, city centre. 2002AUSTRALIA. Sydney. Martin Place, city centre. 2002

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What does the photographer do in sterile new neighborhood?

What does the photographer do in sterile new neighborhood?

One question the thinker asks is : “Why do you live here?”. Do you live in a quiet old village, or in a quiet new clean street? Left, or right?

Out of the obvious :

  1. On the left, you’d better like your neighbors – and where do you park your fucking car?
  2. On the right, how do you breathe, where’s beauty, where’s life? What would you add (pot of flowers, old things?) not to die in a few days?

Well, it’s too easy, right?

Therefore the entry for my article is the photographer. What do I do? It’s all concrete, straight lines, everything’s smooth!

Hmmm. I could look for cracks, mistakes and flaws, that’s funny, like a revenge of the world. So there! Places like these are like tanned fashion models : entirely boring. And you’re relieved when you notice a flaw : a bit too thick calf, a little scar…

Well, OK. I could try to find line harmonies, colors and clouds, find the “mood of the place”, but I’m not Stephen Shore, sadly :

Another possibility is to cling onto nature : the sky, grass (1), or find a little demon watching (2), or walk just enough to find an old barrier (sigh of relief) (3), or, well, play with my cam in a minimalist mood (4).

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What would you do?

Thanks for reading!

la photographie not good

Back home today with my Canon G9X, from the train station through a little park I love, I took pictures and I posted a few here.

Here is an exercise. I chose 9 failed pictures. What I noticed is when a photography is not good, you can do what you want : change colors, reframe like this or like that, it will always LACK something :

  1. For picture 1 I was sure to make something interesting, because of the quiet work site : the blocks/pipes layout, the noony harsh light. I didn’t manage to “resolve” it. I should have come in the evening, maybe. Or climb somewhere.
  2. The E.T. block on picture 2 was funny, but it cut the girl’s legs for no reason, and the “sense” of the image is just nonexistant. I reframed it like a fool until I saw there was nothing to do about it.
  3. I love picture 3 because it’s a reflection, you can feel the warm city mood, I managed to underexpose it the good way and the picture has a good structure, framed by shadows. But well well well : it’s blurry, and this is not Alex Webb, right?
  4. The bridges in picture 4 are great, the light is good, the guy is luckily in the sun and the tulips are just perfect on the right. Nevertheless it’s not good. Too far. Too flat.
  5. The guy with the trumpet on picture 5 was funny to watch (and to hear with is ducky wrong notes). I asked him for a picture after this one but I failed to take any good pics. This one is wrong : the trash, the light, the background.
  6. Picture 6 is like “yeah yeah yeah humans and architecture”. Could have been good but it’s not but I don’t know what to do here.
  7. Picture 7 lacks a kid or two, that’s all.
  8. Picture 8 is like too easy, right? Contrasts, underexposition, verticality. To “eighties Rayban ad”, oui? Nope.
  9. Picture 9 is the “OK but so what?” type. I was lucky with the blue (sky, car, shorts), that’s it. Pff.

 

What’d you’ve done, dear?

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Paul Graham, British photographer

Staged or not?

For most photographers, you feel and know that they “just” took the picture, right? Even the most talented. Though hey had to decide many things (the cam adjustments, the frame, the moment), they took the picture. And I love that, from Eggleston who looks like he’s a magic-eyed kid trying to gather shells, to Shore who “resolves” a picture, inventing a perfect moment with the light and how he structures what he catches.

So yes, I admit there’s pleasure, in photography, in the movement of my brain trying “to find what the photographer wants”.

For example, Paul Graham‘s picture (the man with the lawnmower) is a great photography (the light, the rain, the atmosphere, the lucky tee-shirt/road sign correspondances) in itself, I learned that it was also a part of series of photos, showed in a certain order, which brought another dimension.

Working in series is interesting : you again think on what “is showed here”. A juxtaposition? A process? What’s the link : time, drama, correspondances, random?

TOOL :

…questioning what photography can say, be, or look like.

What do you question in your Art? In poetry or marketing, teaching or composing, fashion or decoration, blogging?

Again, again : Is it smart to make your audience think – and be aware of what’s happening (in your work/in your head/in their head), or do you prefer bring them in a dream, as usual?

Is reality simple or complex? Where is inadequation?

Thanks for reading!

“Untriggered by assessments” : What does the photographer want?

I just had a good conversation with F. L. Larkins, an English photographer, after an article I wrote about her work.

Fiona Louise Larkins, English photographer

I subsequently updated my article, and I realized it was a good way to introduce another text about the photographer’s motivations.

It made me think, watched more pictures. There’s something I know : if I see a silhouette walking in the misty woods, or someone watching absently through a window (when it rains -> droplets on the glass), I don’t fall for it. I never fall for it. I just smile and I click away.

I see “the author wants me to notice it is a melancholic moment“. Like Nathalie Sarraute in literature, I disbelieve, I’m in assessment mode, I’m bored.

If I see lovers under an umbrella I smile “it’s cute, they’re in love and luck, right?”. But… No.

(though I love to be with my lover under an umbrella, listening to the subtle sounds of the rain on it)

So what does the photographer want? To testify of something? To fake happiness (like often on Instagram)? To gently mock the craziness of the world (Martin Parr)? To resolve a picture (Stephen Shore)? To have an audience, interest? To “express” oneself? To denounce?

You can make this exercize : watch your own Instagram, then watch the Instagrammers you follow.

Who do I love?

  • triciaetlea : humanism and sense of the frame.
  • jazzy_jeff57 : modestly shows the world.
  • mariakdolores : adorably sarcastic.
  • mariadelsur : shows Paris.
  • studioriquois : haunting landscapes of the North.
  • ninas982 : splendid atmospheres with no people.
  • natela_grigalashvili : people from Georgia.
  • johngiannatos : sparky human lover.

 

And many others. Diversity of motivations! But none of them give me instructions on how I must feel. Openness, subtleties.

I want to raise an eyebrow, to smile, or to have the desire to know the woman or the man behind the cam. Not to be “guided”. The audience triggers what he wants or needs or dream to see. Every single artist/viewer is a free thinker and a great soul. When sparks sparkle : Thank you!!

 

Thanks for reading!

(sorry for my English)

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