It would not surprise me to learn that Polish street photographer Maciej Dakowicz has run out of available pages in his passport. Currently based in Mumbai, the computer science PhD abandoned a career in technology to instead focus on his street photography, a decision that has lead him to far-flung communities around the globe seeking incredible once-in-a-lifetime encounters. Sorting through his staggering library of some 5,500 photos is to take a journey through vastly differening cultures, miraculous visual coincidences, and impropable moments in time both amusing and terrifying.
Dakowicz received much attention in 2012 for his eye-opening book Cardiff After Dark that collected five years of photographs documenting the nightlife fueled by alcohol and emotion in Cardiff, Wales. He also teaches photography workshops where many of his images originate, is one of the founders of Third Floor Gallery, and is a member of the street photography collective In-Public (previously). See much more of his work on Flickr and over on Facebook.
For the last several years photographer Chris Arnade has virtually embedded himself in an area of the South Bronx called Hunts Point, one of the poorest congressional districts in the country, where poverty and addiction has laid claim to countless struggling individuals. His unflinching and candid documentation of addicts and prostitutes in Hunts Point, Faces of Addiction (warning: graphic and occasionally nsfw), has gained international attention.
One individual Arnade has encountered over the years is a young resident named Jose Garcia, who, along with several of his friends, have a penchant for doing wildly dangerous jumps and flips off of high platforms such as broken-down trucks or buildings. The spectacular photos have grown into a small offshoot of his Hunts Point work called Jose the Amazing. Of his first encounter with Jose, Arnade shares:
Last year I was in a desolate part of Hunts Point, talking to a friend. A group of about ten teenagers came down the street, loud, filled with energy, and seemingly marauding (kicking over cones, jumping on and over stationary cars, etc). I have never had a problem in my twenty years in New York City, but that does not mean I don’t stay aware. As they passed, out of the corner of my eye I spotted Jose do a back flip over a hydrant. Amazed, I yelled out to him. He and his friends, who were also warily eyeing me, thinking I was a cop, were planning to run away but his friend Henry had a sprained ankle, so they stood their ground.
Since then I have come to grow very fond of Jose and his friends, and have done many photo shoots together. Big fans of Parkour, Hip-hop, and Anime, they are fighting against an area where the pressures of poverty, drugs, and limited opportunity weigh heavily.
For me it’s another lesson in expectations. All of my accumulated baggage from popular culture signaled for me to get away from these kids and their bad intentions, all theirs told them to get away from the cop who would treat them unfairly. Neither of us did that, and because of that I certainly have learned a bit more about the Bronx.
As often happens with documentary work like this, Arnade occasionally finds himself drawn into his subjects’ lives as he is unable to walk away after setting down the camera. One such person is Jose, who is filled with optimism, energy and possesses an uncanny physical ability, but is now dealing with extreme adversity. While putting together these photographs Arnade mentioned if anyone connected to any form of acrobatics, circus arts, or stunt work in the NYC area might know of a way to help, they can get in touch. Serious inquiries only. All photos courtesy the photographer.
Looking at the varied situations, locations and subjects in Lesley Ann Ercolano’s Flickr photostream it becomes clear she must rarely, if ever, be without a camera. Without use of particularly fancy equipment or intensive post-processing, the Scottish/Italian photographer instead relies on the uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time to capture brilliant shots that exist for just a split second in her viewfinder. Ercolano shoots almost exclusively in locations around her native Edinburgh, revealing a quirky, occasionally mysterious side of a city she describes as generally more reserved and private. She tells SPNC:
I live and work in the city centre so this is where I mainly take my photos but at weekends with more free time I tend to venture further out of town and weather permitting Portobello beach is one of the places I like to go to hunt for some nice shadows. People here in Edinburgh are often very reserved/private and I respect that. Perhaps this is not a difficulty but it certainly influences what I decide to shoot. The advantages of living in such a fantastic city like Edinburgh are the mix of old and new. History, mystery and a little madness come together to create some magic which is what I love the most.
Ercolano’s work has appeared three times as part of Colossal’s Flickr Finds series, and you can read an interview with her over on SPNC. (via booooooom)
Spanish artist Nacho Ormaechea who lives and works in Paris creates beautiful digital collages by filling silhouettes of people photographed on the street with visually contradicting images. Because of the these strange juxtapositions of color, place and subject we’re left wondering what the meaning is. Are these memories or desires of these anonymous people, or are they portals to another place and time? Head over to his website to see more.
I’m really enjoying the street photography of Swedish photographer Nils-Erik Larson, who shoots primarily in black and white and has a wonderful knack for being in the right place at the right time. See much more of his work over on DeviantART.
In 2007 Chicago 26-year-old real estate agent (and president of the Jefferson Park Historical Society) John Maloof walked into an auction house and placed a $380 bid on a box of 30,000 prints and negatives from an unknown photographer. Realizing the street photographs of 1950s/60s era Chicago and New York were of unusually high quality he purchased another lot of photographer’s work totaling some 100,000 photographic negatives, thousands of prints, 700 rolls of undeveloped color film, home movies, audio tape interviews, and original cameras.
Over time it became clear the photos belonged to a Chicago nanny named Vivian Maier who had photographed prolifically for nearly 40 years, but who never shared her work during her lifetime. Since the discovery Maier’s photographs have received international attention with collections touring in cities around the world as well as the publication of a book. Now, a documentary called Finding Vivian Maier directed by Maloof and Charlie Siskel is nearing completion and the trailer above is a tantalizing preview of what promises to me a fascinating film. Can’t wait. (via gapers block)
The art of street photography has always fascinated me. It’s such a strange mixture of skill, perseverance, editing, and even bravery, yet still relies on these incredible coincidences that result in once-in-a-lifetime photographs. One great resource for street photography is iN-PUBLiC, a collective of 21 photographers including Jesse Marlow, Matt Stuart, Nick Turpin, and Nils Jorgensen among many others. They have a fantastic blog (RSS) you should subscribe to and a wonderful picture of the month gallery that goes all the way back to December 2001. Have fun!