It went down in the DMs. Well, to start with anyway. Angelo Partemi (website here and @angelopartemi on the ‘gram) direct messaged me: he was passing through Chicago, his hometown, and wanted to meet up. After a moment’s look at his feed—*Borat voice with double thumbs up* veeeeerrrrrrryyy niiiice—of course I was game. Oh, and at a four-star rated dive bar on the North Side? Twist my arm, why don’tcha.
“A picture paints a thousand words.” It’s one of the most well known and often used English language idioms, it’s etymology traced to the early 20th century, and sentiments similar even further back. The originally accredited quote was in reference to graphics in general; however, with the growth in popularity of photography in the last century, the sentiment has become nearly synonymous with photo-graphics.
“It’s easy as 1, 2, 3. It’s simple as do re mi. A, B, C … ” The Jackson 5 released their number one hit in 1970, forever the first song in any alphabetically ordered list of chart-topping hits. This past year, San Francisco-based photographer William J Simpson (a.k.a, @jackthestreet, one of my “7 Instagram Street Photographers To Follow In 2017”) began his series “The ABCs of Street Photography,” in what is sure to be similarly ranked first in any alphabetically ordered list of street photography tips and inspiration.
This is my second in an ongoing series I started this year examining street photography’s motifs—that is, like any genre, the repeated concepts, elements, subjects, themes, etc. that are present throughout the canon and used similarly by many different photographers. Simply put, there are “types” of shots that have been established and have spread, with my goal here being toward their identification and disscussion.
Last week, I visited New York City, my second trip of the year to the Big Apple solely to shoot—a self-guided, three-day street photography vacation essentially. Having connected with some of the members of NYCSPC during my trip in the spring, I joined them for their monthly meeting held in Manhattan.
Sean Baker, the director of the 2015 movie Tangerine (notably shot using iPhones) and the recently released The Florida Project, sat down for an interview with Charlie Rose, in which he commented on using film versus digital, “If you’re in the position and you can do it, let’s, at this time, shoot on film and use that aesthetic of celluloid that I think is unobtainable in digital.”
The real journey of discovery in street photography consists not in seeking new streets but in having new eyes.Youngjae Lim
From “13 Motivational Tips from the NYC Street Photography Collective,” an article by Chris Gampat for The Phoblographer.
The reason I picked this one from the rest is that I think the temptation, especially for beginning shooters, is to think the key to better photos is a new something else, whether that’s a new location, or perhaps more commonly, new gear. Nope!
I started the year by highlighting “7 Instagram Street Photographers To Follow In 2017,” a collection of my favorite shooters I had discovered the year prior. And by “discovered,” I strictly meant found for myself: the first shooter on the list, Aaron Berger, currently has over 37 thousand followers, and the list average is nearly 20 thousand. Perhaps not everyday names, but certainly not unearthed by me from some neglected corner of the internet.
Moving forward, though, I want to continue spotlighting street photographers I come across on the app, with an emphasis on shooters sharing great work with relatively smaller followings. Here’s such a photographer: Alex Ledford. Around March of this year, it seems he shifted his account from personal sharing to a street photography focus.
Most obviously, Instagram, from a photographer’s perspective, is for sharing and showcasing one’s photos. It’s quickly become the predominant photography platform, at this point probably the main means by which photographers, all genres and levels, market themselves and their work. We’ve seen a new crop of street photographers who have mostly come to notoriety via the app.
The flip side of that coin is that it’s become the best place to find and follow visual artists—not just photographers, but illustrators, painters and drawers, even comic stip makers. Instagram has become my de facto daily visual diet and inspo board, especially now that you can save and organize selected posts into collections.
This week, Champs Sports, in promotion of a sneaker release, posted a video showcasing New York City-based street photographer Aaron Berger (who I featured on my list of “7 Instagram Street Photographers To Follow In 2017”). The piece is titled “Forever Developing.” Get it?!