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Frank Jackson on Street Photography I am happy and excited to announce a new RFF forum on Street Photography mentored by Frank Jackson, one of the best producers of analog B/W prints I have ever seen. His shows include the Open Shutter Gallery, Heriard-Cimino Gallery, and Ogden Museum of Southern Art. His images are in the collections of Smithsonian Ogden Museum of Southern Art, California Afro American Museum and Xavier University New Orleans LA. He has worked for or has been featured with Visa Card, Xerox, UCLA, Eric Owen Moss, Architect, Hasselblad Forum (cover),Gordon Parks, Muhammed Ali, Million Man March Wash. DC, Lionel Hampton, jazz legion photographer , 1995-2002, Stevie Wonder, B+W Magazine (British version) twice, Rangefinder Magazine, Dahon Bicycles, Arelli Wheels, Real Product Design, Automobile Club of Southern California. Frank's online images are at fotographz.500px.com and fotographzfrankjackson.tumblr.com . "While on this diverse photographic journey…I have to say during this whole time my love for fine art black and white photography kept growing. I always found time to shoot in different cities and my own personal work…this has sustained me through some very tough times. As of 2012, with the help of a very good friend I maintain a state-of-the-art dream darkroom. The darkroom helps greatly in the on-going practice of understanding “the light”, being able to process film and print drives me to keep my digital photography “organic”. I’m curious visually and shooting what’s, what on the street feeds this curiosity. Everyday I walk out my front door to “see” the world with a digital camera, a film camera, the “cup” and an open mind (mostly).

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Old 11-25-2015   #161
Roger Hicks
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Originally Posted by JChrome View Post
Some are definitely more lucky than others. But given enough time, it will happen. Don't worry though, it won't ruin anything (certainly hasn't for me).
Well, quite. I must have had, oh, a couple of dozen minor problems in almost 50 years. Smiles help a lot. So do explanations; which very occasionally include firm explanations that I am behaving legally, so any problems are theirs, not mine.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 12-27-2015   #162
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Some of my thoughts:

People do not live on the streets these days, they have Air Conditioning!

Those interesting neighborhoods filled with kids playing hooky are now filled with million dollar condos.

I remember my mother telling me not to talk to strangers. That was maybe 1948, 1949. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

How come street photography is so often haves pointing their expensive cameras at have-nots?

To me people doing things are the most interesting photos of all.

Street photography was more fun when you could still get a five cent beer.
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Old 02-20-2016   #163
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Originally Posted by johnny scarecrow View Post
If, as is the assertion of the OP, the world has changed street photography, why can't we, interested parties that we are, change it back?

A few months ago in this very thread I expressed my own personal distaste for the way things seemed to have become, based on the previous few times I'd gone out and shot in the streets. In one particular case, the most recent time, I was actually accused by a security guard outside a dance festival of being a paedophile (never mind that it was strictly an 18-years-and-over gig, and I was interested in photographing "people" not just whatever his perverted little mind imagined etc etc). Can you believe that? Anyway, that was at the end of a long line of similar encounters and mixed up with my having a heart attack a week or so later I'd decided that there were plenty of other things worth photographing, and (at least here in Melbourne) people could cease to be part of that.

Well, you know what? No! Screw you, hysterical a*holes. I like taking pictures of people. More than that, I'm going to take pictures of people when and where (within the law and the letter of the law) I damn well please.

If "the world" has changed so that "society" shuns us taking pictures of people, then "the world" is wrong. If it won't change, then we need to show it that it's wrong by going about our photography openly, respectfully and with good-humour (something I've always done, not that it matters to the hysteria crowd).

I can't believe, in one sense, that this has even evolved to be considered an issue, yet I recognize only too well that it has.

The world has changed for "street" photographers? Fine, then let's change it back.
bumping this thread for this post

couldnt agree more. Let's stop apologizing or submit to having to provide a reason or ask permission for doing what we like (within the law of course).

From another thread, I think I'll now be adopting this;

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Originally Posted by Bob Michaels View Post
If a brief cordial reply from me does not diffuse the situation, I simply tell them nicely to "have a nice day" and walk away. No one has ever pursued me.
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Old 03-03-2016   #164
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hate to bump a thread when the last post was made by me, but yesterday was the first time I had someone follow me, over a city block, block my path, and actually threaten me with violence. Thankfully, a 911 call was enough to diffuse the situation, because I really didnt want to have to escalate to other means.

I really dont understand people sometimes.
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Old 03-03-2016   #165
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When shooting out in the street, I have noticed an increase in tension from 3 places.
1. Feel like Police in general are on edge when shooting.
2. Feel like random subjects are less accommodating and sometimes just not accommodating at all.
3. Feel like business owners are more restrictive about photographers.

I have been shooting "the street" for 40 years, so of course, I have seen this before. But it now it seems increased. Recent events over the last 15 years, seems to have changed everything. maybe I am wrong.
There are more rules everywhere and more paranoia. Even our neighbor that's from a tiny town in Poland said the restrictions on what you can and can't do are much more than when she was a child. It's everywhere and isn't going to get any better.
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Old 03-03-2016   #166
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hate to bump a thread when the last post was made by me, but yesterday was the first time I had someone follow me, over a city block, block my path, and actually threaten me with violence. Thankfully, a 911 call was enough to diffuse the situation, because I really didnt want to have to escalate to other means.

I really dont understand people sometimes.
Your experience underscores how sensitive people can be these days. Whether they are justified or not, it's real. The question for each of us street shooters is, how do we respond to that fact.

Declaring it's my right – even if it is – just doesn't work for me. For me personally, the equation must include the sensitivities of others. I'm now trying to sort this issue out for myself. I expect I will make some changes.

John
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Old 03-03-2016   #167
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It's not an easy practice for me, with a quiet-reader/observer-on-the margins temperament, but mostly I try to make that work--easing in, not getting too close, not initiating conversation, especially with loud people. And yet this can still happen--



He was only on my sonar, since he was a noisy presence 20 feet away. But after he thought I was giving him the stink-eye, I got him on my Sonnar.



I had been photographing human interaction with the statue, and the older man with the Bernie banners was glad to have them in the pic. He was explaining how they mount on bikes to me when the guy above yelled 'It'll be great to have a socialist in the White House!' by way of joining in. I turned to him with a quizzical look, I thought, but for him it was stink-eye. And the misunderstanding escalated until I took his picture, when he walked away. Then I was able to make a few more images with unthreatened/nonthreatening people, and enjoy conversations with them--like James W., who was trained (it turns out) as a Marine darkroom technician in Pensacola before being shipped to Vietnam, where his lab was mortared.



He was interested in talking about how photography has changed, too. We've had coffee since then. I'm still more at ease with inanimate objects and animals, and people at a social distance, but the opportunities for observation and engagement haven't fundamentally changed.
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Old 03-03-2016   #168
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Your experience underscores how sensitive people can be these days. Whether they are justified or not, it's real. The question for each of us street shooters is, how do we respond to that fact.

Declaring it's my right – even if it is – just doesn't work for me. For me personally, the equation must include the sensitivities of others. I'm now trying to sort this issue out for myself. I expect I will make some changes.

John
Explaining the legality of the situation or even attempting to explain motive for taking a picture, has never, even remotely, gone part of the way to placating the individual(s) for me. Rather, using this line of discussion invariably increases the tension of the situation as it really sets the tone to either "I'm right and you're wrong" or "I dont care what you think".

I have had some luck with giving compliments to the individual(s), even if they are lies, to aid in diffusal, though last evening, my "Just out enjoying the weather, thought you looked cool" did not work in the least. Certainly neither did my "have a nice day" and continue to walk away.

Unfortunately, I see things getting worse for photography before they get better or even stabilizing. Too much fear mongering in the media these days. And regardless of one's position on organizations like the NRA & the 2nd amendment, I see this as being a very similar scenario. Our 1st amendment rights as photographers are beginning to be infringed upon by the public, whether we think they are or not. It's already happened in the EU from what I understand, but with some legal ruling to support that.

Phil
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Old 3 Days Ago   #169
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The change is atmosphere is tangible when you get arrested like I once was for street photography, and I was summoned to make excuses to the guy I took a picture of. I spent the rest of the day in a cel.

A tip I learned is to be part of the scene, so that when someone enters, you sort of are the host (a given, existing, part of the scene) and this makes the newcomer accept you. Just like "tourists" are accepted to take pictures. Only works in some instances; and you need non-verbal contact with others.

Something tells me that one can even develop a unique style in the modern rather alienated circumstances.

There is this Belgian guy (Lukitas) who made the crawling up to someone and flashing the picture right in front of them a personal style. Many of his subjects express the same mix of surprise an anger. No one stays blank in front of his camera. [Funnily I have seen selfprtriats where he himself has that same composure of the face.] His work will at one time be fit for a museum, I bet on that.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #170
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Photographers are considered the lowest of the low..way down there w/lawyers...in the general publics eye..essentially..pervs..
Well, I think that's due to the paparazzi phenomenon, which constantly produce juicy pictures of people in unfavorable light that fuel the countless tabloid magazines.

I suspect in the older days the picture you would see in news or the LIFE magazine are all nice pictures that tells a story, so its easier to see a photographer is a profession, or even earning some respect at that.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #171
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(snip)

There is this Belgian guy (Lukitas) who made the crawling up to someone and flashing the picture right in front of them a personal style. Many of his subjects express the same mix of surprise an anger. No one stays blank in front of his camera. [Funnily I have seen selfprtriats where he himself has that same composure of the face.] His work will at one time be fit for a museum, I bet on that.
What a lovely image! I can see myself slithering along the grimy sidewalks with my camera hidden in an armpit. With a dazed and confused mien. As for my work, the best I can hope for are the walls of a home for memory-impaired pensioners.

That said, it is a delicate subject. Times have changed, the public's relation with photography has changed, and the way people react to each-other has changed. Many photographers have found auto-censure to be the easiest way to deal with the problem of recalcitrant subjects. An attitude that must be respected, if not endorsed. Photographing strangers remains for me the most interesting form of photography, I wont stop trying to practise it. Of course, what we photograph today will always be derivative in some way, a treading in the footsteps of the pioneers; but the portrayal of public life remains fascinating and can even be fresh and new. Times have changed, the streets that formed HCB's and Winogrand's backdrop have changed, dress codes have changed, and the sorts of people that are thrown together on the streets have changed. The same, but different. The different bits are the interesting ones.

Being there; being the host rather than the new arrival, is a most interesting suggestion. It's easiest to do in 'sedentary' situations, where one can sit down and wait for something to happen, but I think it can also work in moving around the street scenarios - to an extent. When I feel confident and at ease, as if I owned the street I am walking along, things go much easier than on those days when I feel unease at provoking ugly reactions. These days, I try to be as open as possible when taking pictures, I approach with the camera leading. I still get refusals, but none that escalate into a row. And sometimes I was fast enough to get the picture before the refusal. When I sit down with a coffee, I can quietly blend in, to the point nobody takes notice when I prepare the camera for a shot. Places where I go often, people know me to be harmless, they are getting used to my always having a camera at the ready - and that is another way of being part of the furniture rather than a visitor.

Yes, photographing on the streets has become more difficult. But seducing girls has become really difficult too. Shouldn't stop us from trying. Maybe see it as a challenge : how far can I go? How much can I show?

cheers!
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