April 2012 Theme: Street Photography / by Craig Roberts

This month's theme, 'Street Photography', is one of the most difficult shooting genres I find to pursue confidently; I am not an in-your-face type of photographer and prefer the styles of Gary Winogrand, Vivian Maier and local photographer Fred Herzog where they documented life without necessarily being obtrusive. I find little satisfaction taking photographs of subjects who are down on their luck, unless it is to tell a story. I think 'street photography', at least to me can be characterized more as documenting a point in time (such as Fred Herzog) or as a means to invite the viewer into the image, to spend some time looking around and find their own story/stories within.

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'Not Their Target Customer' I had spotted this individual at the corner two blocks before this image occurred, and struggled to catch up to him as I saw it emerging;the raw determination to simply live every day on the streets for some of these people is harder than any job most of us will ever know.

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'Inspired by Herzog' Fred Herzog is a Vancouver photographer known for his decades of street photography from the 1950's through the 1970's. Most of his iconic images of this area focus on the working class people (ie barbershops, Main Street, East Vancouver), but the one that I love the most was taken at the intersection of Granville and Robson ( titled 'Granville/Robson', ca 1959), capturing a moment of life that for me defines Vancouver ~ sadly that intersection is now rather vanilla when compared to his image, he also has one that was taken at this exact same intersection in 1959, 53 years ago ('Granville/Smythe'http://www.equinoxgallery.com/artists/fred-herzog/art/90230).  

The signs have changed over the years ~ how I would have loved to experience the neon nights that used to be.

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'Bang On!' Not only the name of the shop on the glass doors to the left, but also how I felt about this subject's timing and stride in relation to the horizontal and vertical lines on the wall behind her.

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'Captive Subjects' I saw this image in my mind, where someone would cause the pigeons to scatter, however I underestimated their tenacity when there was seed on the ground. Another photographer began taking photos of them and I thought it would be interesting to capture her doing that.

Spending time in this image later it dawned on me the parallels between that photographer shooting the pigeons, and myself photographing all of the people on the street/sidewalk ~ in both situations we were photographing our 'Captive Subjects'.