Selection from Piercing Darkness – a limited edition, hand-printed artists’ book by social documentary photographer Daniel D. Teoli Jr. The book is composed of candid street and social documentary photographs taken in the dark with an infrared flash and camera.
I’m not much of a Winogrand fan. But when I looked at the pix above it reminded me of Winogrand due to it being crooked. (One of his trademarks due to his sloppiness.) When shooting infrared in the dark of night you can’t see anything in your viewfinder. So, a lot of your work comes out off-kilter. If your trying to be candid, you don’t shoot from the eye either, you shoot from the hip many times.
Personally, I like some of Winogrand’s ‘sayings’ more than his pix. The young gun, camera fondlers worship Winogrand. Maybe that is why the photo forums are loaded with such crappy street pix? Well, I guess they don’t know any better. I blame the curators and their “snapshot aesthetic” excuse for building up this crap.
Here are a few of Winognand’s beauties…
Sure, Winogrand had a few nice shots…the gossiping ladies, feeding the elephant, the acrobat at the parade and a few more. The usual suspects that get trotted out when his name is mentioned. But, he shot tons and tons of crap (over a million) and most of his work is absolute garbage.
Now, I don’t pretend to be the last word on photo criticism. Everyone is allowed to their own likes and dislikes. Here is a different view of Winogrand.
From the Rangefinder Forum…
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Golden rule of interesting picture.
Something is wrong with me. I’m not looking at pictures with most views in any online gallery. Those are female in reproductive age nude or so pictures.
I have zero interest in classic nudes as well. But I’m enlighten by Winogrand vision of “Women Are Beautiful”. Because it is a lot more intriguing and social comparing images of ladies a-la Francois Boucher style (female sauna).
I like portraits of people with age. Their eyes have something deep and appealing.
Last night I read the local comment which is perfect definition of interesting picture to me:
“I like photographs that make me think, search for clues, and speculate – they stay in the memory much longer than pretty pictures.”
To me interesting picture is almost equal to good picture. And pretty pictures often have nothing good in them.
Thanks to Lynn! But I might be still missing something.
I’ve never been a big fan of snapshot aesthetic myself, although some online critics have labeled my work as snapshots. In the same way the politicians came up with the term ‘politically correct’ as inside jargon / code to make sure they do not say anything that hurts their chances at gaining power – the curators came up with the term ‘snapshot aesthetic’ to justify poor photography.
Once you deem snapshot aesthetics as the rage then everything becomes a masterpiece. If you look at a photographers body of work it will give you a clue as to whether the photographer is trying to make a statement with the odd snapshot aesthetic or is it their normal M.O. due to lack of skill to do better.
Within the realm of street photography there is a notion of ‘imperfect perfection.’ Cartier-Bresson’s Rue Mouffetard Paris 1954 is a good example of the principle of imperfect perfection. Street / documentary photographers are used to working with imperfect files and making something great out of it. When you do street or doc work, if you come back with 70% to 80% of what you were after, you can still have a winner. But, there comes a point when the photo is too low quality to be labeled as a photograph and it is more of the snapshot genre. Even so, snapshots can have wider interest than to just those in the photos
Let me pay Winogrand a little homage here…well sorta.