Where Have All The Dark Poets Gone ?

16th November 2010
Robert Frank - the master poet.
Perving toward the powerbase of contemporary street photography - you know, stuff being published or presented out of London ... it would appear that of late the genre has become just a wee bit flippant.
 
David Solomons (iN-PUBLiC)
Whilst there is no denying the output is slick, I must admit to discerning a profusion of cinematically pretty and kind of smart ass clever pic's that spill out and beyond the mid wicket boundary rope like an old school cow corner slogger in search of the mid afternoon declaration. Street photography today has lost much of it's unique rawness; that down and dirty gut instinct. Where for example is Frank's "sad poem" on the iN-PUBLiC site - it's all, knock knock, who's there - OMG it's a shard of light and an amusing juxta. Entertaining, Oh Hale and Pace yeah ... and just as Tony Ray-Jones was inspired by Charlie Chaplin then perhaps the London School of Now could count the odd Carry On film as important in their Union Jacked, knotted hanky up top evolution ... hell, I don't ever resile from the influence that Picnic At Hanging Rock had on my own street musing (Norman Gunston - now there was an actor !). 
Carry On Street Photography

Nick Turpin, the Simon Cowell of modern street photography, has previously stressed the importance of editing, and it is true that with the advent of the digital age the internet is overflowing with rapid fire JPEG accumulation - shipping containers before lunch time full of witty and fine definition grabs have in many instances replaced a more soulful, perhaps even measured personal vision. Photography has always been a concertinaed editing process; never more so than now. Cartier-Bresson's decisive moment it would seem has travelled from the cobblestoned laneway to the late night laptop as meaty street photography decision making shifts toward cosy sit down accoutrement's like cocoa, fluffy slippers and a purring moggy brushing yer lower limbs in hope of tuna flakes, salmon jelly and room temperature moo juice.

A modern day dark poet - amazingly Gary Stochl didn't feature in
Street Photography Now's top 49

Contemporary street photography is slick, and in many instances extracts a wry guffaw or even the occasional - "holly molly willya have a look at that" (thanks Trent)  yet beneath this rich and colourful frosting I'm struggling to grasp a soulful core? I mean what's the sub text ?  Or does it maybe not need an undercurrent ? Is it all perhaps so clever that the Nowhere Man has played and missed - it's frivolity serving as the perfect metaphor for this present day society of ours...  what with our damned pre frab flat packed generic burbs blending from coast to coast, filled by droningly impatient tabloid ingestors, surface swooshers who live spiritually hidden, face down in electronic gizmodum, thumbs flailing, all so craving the next side serving of cheap buzz - that we queue expectantly, nostrils flaring to the http://www.delusion/ that Derulo doing Dylan is somehow culturally profound. ???

... maybe not

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant

Anonymous said...

I very much agree with your ideas, but are you using Solomons' picture to illustrate an example of ??

Of all the photographers with work there, I find his the most 'poetic', and the least 'knock knock'.

Andrew Stark said...

No No I'm not meaning to single anybody out. The image was just a very straight forward example of an ironic juxtaposition.

zs said...

i agree in principle but i guess my advice would be to look harder.
like, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here.

Andrew Stark said...

Hey I'm not saying the stuff isn't out there - but do any of these pic's (which I really liked by the way) feature in "Street Photography Now", or are any of these being collected by the Major Galleries, or are any of these being written about in major newspaper reviews ???
My point was that the more "flippant" stuff is getting all of the above.