“ Street photographs have an imaginative life all their own, one that seems sometimes quite independent of whatever intentions the photographer might have had…” From Bystander: A History of Street Photography by Colin Westerbeck and Joel Meyerowitz
"The charm of Atget lies not in the mastery of the plates and papers of his time, nor in the quaintness of costume, architecture and humanity as revealed in his pictures, but in his equitable and intimate point of view. . . . His work is a simple revelation of the simplest aspects of his environment. There is no superimposed symbolic motive, no tortured application of design, no intellectual axe to grind. The Atget prints are direct and emotionally clean records of a rare and subtle perception, and represent perhaps the earliest expression of true photographic art." Ansel Adams
That crazy feeling in America when the sun is hot on the streets and music comes out of the jukebox or from a nearby funeral, that's what Robert Frank has captured in the tremendous photographs taken as he travelled on the road around practically forty-eight states in an old used car (on Guggenhiem Fellowship) and with the agility, mystery, genius, sadness, and strange secrecy of a shadow photographed scenes that have never been seen before on film. - Jack Kerouac, from his introduction to The Americans
"Robert Frank, Swiss, unobtrusive, nice, with that little camera that he raises and snaps with one hand he sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film, taking rank among the tragic poets of the world.“ Jack Kerouac
William Klein Broadway and 103rd Street New York 1954-55
Garry Winogrand American Legion Convention, Dallas, Texas 1964
Winogrand 's work synthesizes the documentary and photojournalist traditions. Influenced by Robert Frank's The Americans, he employed a wide angle lens on a handheld camera, and shot from an intimate distance. This enabled him to incorporate more of his subjects, and gave his images an unfamiliar, compositional complexity. He took shots, he said, "to see how things would look as photographs". The medium of still photography he described as "the illusion of a literal description of how a camera saw a piece of time and space". In many ways these works are social satires of American life. They dramatise the broad canvas of American society, with its diverse classes, creeds and races jostling on the street. The formal turbulence of his images with their dynamic tilted viewpoints, their grainy immediacy, their frenetic crowds and their temporarily isolated strangers, matches the political turbulence of the Vietnam years and provides a defining portrait of a society caught unawares.
For months I followed strangers on the street. For the pleasure of following them, not because they particularly interested me. I photographed them without their knowledge, took note of their movements, then finally lost sight of them and forgot them. At the end of January 1980, on the streets of Paris, I followed a man whom I lost sight of a few minutes later in the crowd. That very evening, quite by chance, he was introduced to me at an opening. During the course of our conversation, he told me he was planning an imminent trip to Paris. Sophie Calle
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