Street Photography 11

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Street Photography
(Note: A brief description of Advertising Photography)

What was Street Photography?

Street Photography was spontaneous, out in the open, a type of "stream of consciousness" with a camera; filled with broad topics about everyday life that tried to be less subjective to concentrate more on the reality of what was. In many ways it was a rebellion from what was happening in the photography world. From the 1920's to 1950's advertising and color photography came into its own.

Photography of truth began to be challenged by the ideas of street photography which was often shot in a Directoral Mode. Which attributed some ironic distance from the subject. The objectivity obtained by such distance was in some ways counter productive with the lack of relationship to the subject thus furthering the
photographer from the truth in some respects. Street Photographers wanted to stay away from the verproduced stylized color, Black and White deliniated the grittyness of life augmenting a street photographers perception of real photography. However some Street photographers contradicted this typical style, such as Helen Levitt.

Street Photographers also wanted to rebel against the images of television that like popular photography styles of the past were very contrived and stereotypical. The "Suzie cue" American pie images did not represent the truth Street Photographers sought to capture.(i.e. poverty, economic disparities, child labor, other social inadequacies, and life in general in its plainness) Street Photographers were Anti-commercial, anti-suburb, and Anti-American apple pie ideals. This style as completely opposite from the style of Advertising Photography.

What was Advertising Photography?

Advertising Photography became over the top and very stylized. The trials of real life gave a popular outlet to the entertainment industry augmented by its advertisement.

Photographic Processes:

Half Tone Process: Allow a continuous tone on a printing press. Since the letterpress printing process provides a uniform coating of ink on all printing elements, no provision can be made for reproducing tones intermediate between black and white by varying the thickness of the ink film laid down by the press. The production of shades of gray was then the role of the halftone process, in which the image is broken up into dots, and variations of gray tones Talbot came up with the idea. Very important for the distribution of photographic images. The first to use this process is advertisers.


Eugene Smith (Street Photographer)

(1918-1978) was an American photojournalist. He did war photography for "Life" magazine. Smith severed his ties with Life over the way in which the magazine used his photographs of Albert Schweitzer. Upon leaving Life, Smith joined the "Magnum" photo agency in 1955. There he started his project to document Pittsburgh. This project was supposed to take him three weeks, but spanned three years and tens of thousands of negatives.
It was too large to ever be shown, although a series of book-length photo essays were eventually produced.

Also, worked with Newsweek, Colliers, American, The New York Times, and other publications. Complications from his longterm consumption of drugs, notably Amphetamine (taken to enable his workaholic tendencies), and alcohol led to a massive stroke, from which Smith died in 1978. Smith was perhaps the originator and arguably the master of the photo-essay. In addition to Pittsburgh, these works include Nurse Midwife, Minamata, Country Doctor, and Albert Schweitzer - A Man of Mercy. Today, Smith's legacy lives on through the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund to promote "humanistic photography." Since 1980, the fund has awarded photographers for exceptional accomplishments in the field.

Nicholas Muray (Advertising Photographer)

(1892-1965) Born in Hungry, immigrated to the United States in 1913, working first as a printer and then opening a photographic portrait studio in Greenwich Village in 1920. He became well known for his celebrity portraits, publishing them regularly in Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Ladies’ Home Journal, and The New York Times. After 1930, Muray turned away from celebrity and theatrical portraiture, and became a pioneering commercial photographer, famous for establishing many of the conventions of color advertising. He is considered the master of the three-color carbro process.

Muray was a pilot, a member of the US Olympic fencing team, and the long-time lover of Frida Kahlo, whom he regularly photographed in some of his best-known work. He was a distinguished art collector, best known for his collection of twentieth-century Mexican paintings, and a regular columnist for the magazine Dance.
Work: Woman in cell playing solitaire c1958 : Could be a documentary photo, but it is re-staged for a Hollywood style photo.

Victor Keppler

(1904-87), American advertising photographer. Born into a New York immigrant family, Keppler embraced photography early and in his teens improvised a commercial darkroom in a coal cellar. He made simple table-top arrangements, but later mastered studio set-ups of Hollywood-like complexity and, in the 1950s, location shoots that mimicked photojournalism. This versatility, and a legendary flair for problem solving, made him one of advertising's most sought-after photographers, flourishing during the Depression and reaching a pinnacle of success after 1945.

(During the Second World War he designed propaganda posters for the US Treasury.) A tireless innovator, Keppler enthusiastically embraced the technical and business changes that took place during
his career, including the commercial use of colour, the advent of electronic flash, the corporate identity cult, and the opportunities offered by television.

Work: Housewife in Kitchen 1939; Keep Pitching c 1944; Carmel cigarette advertisement - woman in convertible 1951
Advertising photographer, known for Hollywood style; Did propaganda during WWII. He symbolizes the epitomy of stereotypical images of housewives and good Americans in the 1950's.

Robert Frank, (Street Photographer)

Wanted to document the reality of what was in America at his time. Published "The Americans" 1954 founded by Walter Evans; Beat generation, was Swiss born.
The first hippy's that rebelled against the mass culture. Learned from Alexy Robdonivitch; Bought a Lieca camera very small camera that allows one to shoot without looking; In 1953 he went on the road.
Lots of Motifs with in his book. His criticism was that he was always traveling and could never really learn allot if he never stayed in one place. He looked for quinticential American images to shoot.
His work "The Bus from the Americans c1956 depicts the racial organization of seating arrangements on a typical American bus. This was not contrived, but piece of notible depth. He hung out with beat poets
and made a movie called "Pull my Daisy". He did experimental movies during the 1990's. Had a sun diagnosed with Scitsofrinia, daughter died in a plane crash. He got involved in film and went on tour with the
Rolling Stones in 1972 made a movie called "Cocksucker Blues". The band gave him total access.
See the link to watch the movie….
Work: Drive from the Americans c1956; Indianaplis from the Americans c1956; Death on the road from the Americans c1956; Waitress from the Americans c1956; Rodeo New York City c1956; The Bus from the Americans c1956; NYC Bleeker;

William Klein

Born in New York City. Stayed on the streets; did fashion Photo; didn't like Americans; self exiled to Paris; worked on themes of alienation; Wanted to confront Americans with Anti-American satire.
Photo books: Grotesque Americans, Mr. Freedom
Work: Gun New York 1954; Candy Store Amsterdam Avenue; Fashon by Capucci American Vogue April 1960

Luset Model,

Delancey Street New York c1942
Similar to Klien, never a flattering view; Her husband learned photography in WWII; they became a fashion photography duo.

Diane Arbus (Street Photographer)

(1923–1971) was an American photographer, noted for her portraits of people on the fringes of society, such as transvestites, dwarfs, giants, prostitutes and ordinary working class citizens, in unconventional
poses and settings. She was born into the Jewish middle class. She had self deprecating issues stemming from alienation like the subjects in photos. that worked for Life magazine. Anti-
middle class; committed suicide at the height of her career. Shot on the Rollerplex camera.
Work: Child with toy hand grenade in Central Park NYC 1962; Teenage couple; A young Brooklyn Family going for a Sunday outing; Identical twins Roselle NJ 1967; Patriotic young man with a flag NYC 1967;
Boy with straw hat waiting to march in a pro-war parade NYC 1967; Tattooed Man at Carnival Selkirk 1970

Garry Winogrand (Street Photographer)

(1928-1984)Believed photography as a transformative event, also thought that photographers are apart of the photos; Studied with Bob Donovich. In the Woman are beautiful series he took spy photos of beautiful women.
In his mind the subjects didn't see themselves as beautiful. Known for his portrayal of America in the mid 20th century. Many of his photographs depict the social issues of his time day and in the role of media in shaping
attitudes. He roamed the streets of New York with his 35mm Leica camera rapidly taking photographs using a prefocused wide angle lens. His pictures frequently appeared as if they were driven by the energy of the events
he was witnessing. While the style has been much imitated, Winogrand's eye, his visual style, and his wit, are unique.
Photo books "Public Relations", "The Animals"; and "Woman are Beautiful". Most of his work was social commentary on Americans as Animals.
Work: the Animals c 1962; Couple at the Zoo Looking at Each Other Wolf in Cage NY from the Animals c1960s; Los Angeles 1964

Lee Friedlander (Street Photographer)

(1934) Called himself Anti-Street Photography. Was more documentary. He was a street photographers was very analytical about the theory of photography and the photographer's roll. Did a Hotel room series. Allot of his
work is about him as a photographer. He exists in his pictures without being the subject. Did a photo essay called the American Monument and photographed American's photographing the Monuments and reflections. Post
modernist question the author, the appreciate the construction but want to see more than one aspect at one time. The Post modernist give Friedlander adoration. Although he did not consider himself one. In his "Canto Ohio"
the photographer is the subject of the photograph. Lee Friedlander began photographing the American social landscape in 1948. His photographs bring to the surface the juxtapositions of everyday life that comprise our modern world.
Work: DeDe and Billie Pierce; Galax Virginia 1962; Self portrait Route 9W NY 1969; Mt Rushmore 1969; Father Duffy Times Square New York City 1974; Canton Ohio 1980

Roy DeCarava,

Humanist, Born in harlem; Related to Street photography by his style and the time period but is not considered a street photographer; Documented the freedom marches in DC; Known for documenting the jazz scene in Harlem.
Work: Cover from the Sweet Fly Paper of Life;Langston Hughes 1955, Window from the Sweet Fly Paper of Life; Man with Portfolio 1959; Coltrane on Soprano 1963

Helen Levitt, (Street Photographer)

(1913) Was a humanist; photographed children from the streets of NYC; started with a Lieca; worked a little in motion picture. She loved the still photos of her child subjects. Some of her work can be read as an analogy for race
relations. She did some color photos, allot of her color negatives were destroyed during a burglary. Allot of street photographers were shunned color to distinguish themselves from advertising photography but she used color
and treated the situation as a non issue. She had very monochromatic.;Did reverted back to black and white in later work.
Work: New York two boys covered with white powder c1940; Untitled NY 1942; NY, two kids bubblegum machine 1972; New York man slapping a boy 1978; New York 1978; NY 1980; NY 1981 shoes on sidewalk;


Shot for Vanity Fair, Vogue, he danced around in fine art photography. He hung out with DuChamp.
Work: Party mask wtih shells 1936

Ervine Penn,

Famous for still lifes and fashion, highly stylized; His style is dirty, shot repeatedly for Vogue; focused more on the commercial aspects of photography
Work: After-dinner Games New York, 1947

John Hinde

British Postcard and travel lodge photographer; elaborately staged shots, did a series on a holiday camp consortium; very over the top.

Anton Bruehl,

Modernist style; used geometric composition, full tonal range, plays with shape; Hollywood style lighting. Very contrived work. Opposite of documentary image.
Work: Four roses c1950; Dance from a Nightclub Act c1943

Notes by Yolanda Glass (more links and images to come)

Notes by Angela Amodeo

Advertising and Street Photography

Half Tone—
Half-Tone is the building up of tones, varying sizes and when you stand back you see a continuous tone.
Color Half-Tone was first used by advertisers
Black/White Half-Tone was used for the news

Street Photography was a rebellion
1920’s-1950’s/60’s was when advertising came into its own
Very over the top, stylized, much like Hollywood
Hollywood movies were very fantastical, an escape from reality
Advertising promoted a better life

Called half-tones veils, first printed in 1873

Taught by Clarence White
Worked for Vanity Fair and Vogue
Shot both advertising and fine art

Reducing backgrounds
Shot still life and fashion
Allowed things in photo’s to be dirty

John Hinde—
British postcard/travel lodge photographer
Shot big staged photos
Manipulated photos by hand, did composites, and hand colored

Australian photographer
Advertising career with a modernist style (ahead of his time)
Also taught by Clarence White

From Hungry, trained with a photo engraver
Portrait photo in the US (important)
Both Muray and Bruehl faked documentary and made staged

Advertiser known for Hollywood style
Worked for BBDO (huge agency), was a top shooter
Shot propaganda for WWII

After WWII college became what it is today because the GI Bill opened college up for average people. The GI Bill also was the start of the suburbs.

Street Photography was shot out in public, it was spontaneous, about broad topics, it was not social documentary, it instead documented life because it was less subjective.

Photography’s truth was being challenged because advertising made people jaded.

Directorial Mode – distance and irony between subject and person (Walker Evans)

Street photographers were detached and drifting, gritty and black/ white to rebel against advertising and color because it was fake and shot in the studio. Street photographers were going against what was shown on TV.

Robert Frank—
Book The Americans (in which Walker Evans helped with the money) was a marriage between literature and photography.
Swiss born, part of the Beat Generation
Interned with an commercial photographer
Bought a Leica (silent, small, simple)
Went on the road in 1953
The Bus was symbolic of America in 1956
Hung out with the Beat poets from 1964-1972—
Made movie Pull My Daisy
Got involved in film—
Went on tour with the Rolling Stones in 1972, made movie Cocksucker Blues

Born in NYC, worked the streets
Shot fashion but in street style
Didn’t like Americans—
Shot themes of alienation, satire
Self exiled to Paris
Published books, Grotesque American, Mr. Freedom, Satire

Also didn’t like Americans, reminiscent of Klein

Anti middle class
Committed suicide in 1971 at height of career
Looked to bizarre people to shoot (how Arbus felt about self)
Famous series at carnival
Shot with rollaflex camera

Gary Winograd—
Pushing street photos (more directorial)
Thought photos transformed moment into something and that the photographer was part of the photograph
Published book The Animals (thought of humans as animals)
Work was social documentary
Famous series, Women are Beautiful—
Was creepy because the women didn’t know their picture was being taken

Lee Friedlander—
Anti street photography (self proclaimed)
Found Bellocq’s Storyville Portraits
Was the Darling of Intellectuals
A lot of work was about him as a photographer
Photo Essay, The American Monuments—
Photos of Americans taking pictures of the monuments (very post modern)

Born in Harlem
Known as a humanist—
Spiritual but not in the name of God, instead be kind and help humans
Not a true street photographer but related in theme, period and style
Documented Freedom Marchers in DC and Jazz scene in Harlem

Secular Humanist
Specialized in kids on the streets of NY
Tried to record chalk drawings of children
Dabbled in film
Shot some photographs in color—
Color was not an issue for Levitt
Many photographs were destroyed in a burglary


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