From first effort at street.

Started May 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
GeorgianBay1939 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,044
Re: about robert frank

sigala1 wrote:

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

Kelpie wrote:

This is my favourite from my first attempt at street photography. I did not feel comfortable taking pictures of people I don't know but have always wanted to try this genre. I hope that the couple in the picture would see the humor in it that I do.

As a beginning imager, I read this entire thread (so far 80 posts) and have some conclusions.  But first I want to give you my reaction to your first try at this type of photography.

The photograph has some ironic conflict between the obvious intimacy vs the obvious mutual isolation of this couple.   Their legs are in step, their arms are linked but their expressions and their gazes are very askew.

That is about all that I got out of the image.  I enjoyed that and if that is what you wanted to capture I think that you did quite a good job, by selecting a good FL and f/ to give some subject isolation.  But I would suggest, as a few others did, that you crop out all of the stuff that distracts from that ironic conflict.

I followed up on several of the links that your critics suggested and was especially struck by the wiki article which referred to NY School of Photography:

"One of its most notable photographers, Robert Frank, was a part of the beat movement interested in Black-American and counter cultures. Frank rose to fame partly on account of his popular book, The Americans. Raw and often out of focus, his images questioned mainstream photography of the time, such as Ansel Adams's landscapes. The mainstream photography community in America fiercely rejected Frank’s work, but it would later become a stepping stone for fresh photographers looking to break away from the restrictions of the old style.[2]"

You got lots of varied reactions (and responses??) here.  Even some from the "mainstream photographic community" with your first attempt.  Now it seems to be up to you to decide what you want to keep and what is rubbish.

I should also add, that I have never had the gonads to photograph strangers, not being particularly street-wise.  But I enjoy street photography now, just like I enjoyed Kerouac and Frank when I was a lot younger.

I hope that you keep working at it and have lots of fun with it.

Technically, Robert Frank's photos sucked. They were out of focus, blurry, grainy, everything bad you can think of. It's because Frank was a shy person who didn't feel comfortable being in-your-face about what he was doing, and the tools of the day (low ISO film, manual focus) made stealth photography really difficult.

My recollections of Frank, albeit tarnished by many years of neglect, give a different valuation of his work.  Being an old f@rt I decided to check his stuff HERE .   After re-looking at his stuff, I, (admittedly) a non-expert, disagree with your evaluation.

But Frank's photos were liked because of the THEME they presented (which is that working-class America sucks).

That might be a factor.

Here is another:

Some Americans, like some other nationalities, have some aversion to having their culture held up to a mirror by other nationalities. OTOH, some, the more secure element of the population, welcome the "outside" reflection.

Frank's themes remind me of another chronicler of life in America, this time an American.  Next time you are out in Salinas CA, stop in to the National Steinbeck Center to check out Travels With Charley.

The OP does not get the Frank message at all.

I have no idea what the OP gets or doesn't get.  How do YOU get that insight?

He thinks that because he has a technically excellent photo taken with an expensive lens and camera, he is a Real Street Photographer.

"technically excellent"???  How DO you get that insight?

The modern-day Franks are using iPhones.

I use an iPhone to chat with my grandkids and to keep track where I am going on my boat, etc.  Does that make me a potential modern-day Frank?  I wish!!!  

I am trying to assist the OP, with the VERY little bit of experience and skill that I have, to be a better photographer.  What are YOU trying to do?


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