with street photography
At once widely accessible and distinctly personal, street photography has the potential to bridge the divide between the idiosyncratic and universal, a possibility that’s long excited Gulnara Samoilova. A former Associated Press photojournalist and current fine art photographer, Samoilova realized that while the genre was affordable and convenient, the field remained largely dominated by men, an imbalance she sought to remedy when she founded Women Street Photographers in 2017.
In its fourth year, the ongoing project began with an Instagram account designed to showcase work from women around the world. “I soon began to realize that with this platform, I could create everything I had always wanted to receive as a photographer: the kinds of support and opportunities that would have helped me grow during those formative and pivotal points on my journey,” Samoilova tells Colossal, noting that expansion felt like a natural reaction to the positive response the project received.
Now a community of hundreds of amateurs and professionals, Women Street Photographers has burgeoned into a website, artist residency, series of exhibitions, film series, and now a book published this month by Prestel. Collating the work of 100 women from 31 countries, the 224-page volume is just “a tiny sampling of all that is out there,” Samoilova says, one that’s bound by the photographers’ desire to share their points of view and document the world through lenses that span a variety of races, ethnicities, creeds, ages, abilities, and sexual and gender identities.
Depicting an eclectic array of candid expressions and moments of intimacy and chance—whether through the red updo spotted in B Jane Levine’s shot featured on the book’s cover or the childhood exuberance captured by Regula Tschumi—each photograph is paired with a statement by the artist about both the image and their background. The elucidating text contextualizes the subject matter and person behind the camera and grounds the broader vision for the project, which Samoilova explains:
Street photography is both a record of the world and a statement of the artist themselves: it is how they see the world, who they are, what captures their attention, and fascinates them. There’s a wonderful mixture of art and artifact, poetry and testimony that makes street photography so appealing. It’s both documentary and fine art at the same time, yet highly accessible to people outside the photography world.
It’s still too soon to tell how projects like Women Street Photographers are shaping the larger ecosystem, Samoiolva says, although the contributions have rippled across the field. In the coming months, though, she intends to implement more opportunities for women in the field that might take the shape of an exhibition or travel-based project, although she hasn’t announced what those are just yet. “I love to dream, but I don’t like to plan,” she writes. “I go with the flow and all the current to guide me to my next destination.”
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Photographer Shin Noguchi (previously), who lives in Kamakura and works throughout Tokyo, has a knack for capturing snapshots of the unusual, baffling, and quirky activities of passersby. A single image often is imbued with layers of serendipity, with one framing both a woman in an elaborate gown and a dazed baby, while another features a screaming child and a man splayed on a public staircase in the background.
Taken around Japan, the photographs appear as objective shots, glimpsing candid moments that are enigmatic and sometimes humorous. “Street photography always projects the “truth”. The “truth” that I talk about isn’t necessarily that I can see, but they also exist in society, in street, in people’s life. and I always try to capture this reality beyond my own values and viewpoint/perspective,” he says in a statement.
One-hundred-thirty of Noguchi’s photographs are compiled in a forthcoming monograph, In Color In Japan, which is currently available for pre-order. The book was printed in two editions, a black and a white, and the former contains an extra, unique image that’s never been shown before and won’t be reproduced in another format. Follow Noguchi on Instagram to see his latest shots from the streets of Japan.
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Born in Kirov and now based in Moscow, photographer Aleksey Myakishev is adept at capturing the simple moments of life and transforming them into alluring black-and-white images. Taken mostly throughout Russia, his projects tend to focus on unassuming subjects as they navigate their daily lives. In one photograph, three figures walk over a snow-covered landscape away from a lit firework, and in another, Myakishev creates an uncanny juxtaposition between a hilly horizon and a man swinging a child by his hands as a winter boot flies from his foot. When describing the dozens of series he’s created, the prolific artist said capturing life in his native country can be complex.
It is always difficult to photograph the place where you live. Nevertheless, sometimes I pick up my camera and go to the streets to capture the city’s pulse. When I look through the camera’s viewfinder, a dialogue with the city takes place. There are lots of everything here, be it people, vehicles, buildings. Sometimes the city looks ugly to me, sometimes beautiful. Through photography I try to find something especial in this city, perceiving the underlying surrealism of what is going on.
Myakishev also has published three books chronicling his monochromatic works. To find more of his documentary-style images, head to his Instagram and keep an eye out for his upcoming project on provincial Russia.
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Dripping blobs of oily black, cosmic haze, and octopus tentacles emerge from the screens of smartphone users on the streets of London. Illustrator Andrew Rae teamed up with street photographer Ruskin Kyle to add some visual flair to people immersed in their electronic devices. Some of the protagonists are simply standing on the street using their phones, while other have paired their device usage with competing activities like dog-walking and ramen-eating.
“I always go for a walk on Hampstead Heath in the mornings for inspiration and I found myself nearly bumping into people on their phones,” Rae tells Colossal. Because many people in the area also are out with their dogs, “it started me thinking about the phones as if they are little pets or creatures that they are carrying in their hands.”
Rae shares that the idea percolated over time, and in conversation with his photographer friend, the pair realized the potential in the concept. Initially, Rae tried to completely replace the phones with illustrations, but he then decided to incorporate the physical technology as the source, or a part of, of the imagined creatures. In developing each character, Rae worked from some tried-and-true shapes and concepts from his larger illustration practice, and let each one develop organically.
To keep up with new embellishments of tech-absorbed passersby, follow Andrew Rae on Instagram and see more of Ruskin Kyle’s street photography on the platform as well. Just don’t bump into a stranger while you scroll through! (via My Modern Met)
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Photographer Shin Noguchi spends his time, camera in hand, in Japan’s public spaces, observing and seeking out candid moments that reflect the humorous, heartbreaking, and bizarre realities of the human experience. Noguchi shares with Colossal that he values the existential affirmation of human life that he gleans from his work, accepting his and others’ situations as they are. The artist shies away from the term ‘street photographer’, as he views his work as more of a sociological experience.
“To shoot people with a camera is, for me, is like saying hello,” the photographer explains. “Sometime I use my mouth for it, sometime I use my eyes, and sometimes my camera, that’s it. I just really enjoy ‘talking’ or making conversation with people in the street, and if I use a camera for it, I always use the viewfinder; I never use hip-shots to hide myself.”
Noguchi tells Colossal that he was raised in a very creative household, and quickly fell in love with photography as a teen when his father gave him an old Fujica camera. Of the innumerable memorable moments Noguchi has encountered over the years, two memories stand out in particular.
After an exhausting day one February, in which the photographer had spent four hours shooting during heavy snowfall in Kamakura, he passed by a life-size mascot of a Kentucky Fried Chicken store, with the snow-crested Colonel Sanders offering a quiet, seemingly reassuring smile. On another winter’s day, Noguchi observed a craftsman carrying dozens of shoji (paper-paned interior doors) out of a Shibakoen temple for routine re-covering. Growing tired from his repetitive labors, the man finally punched a hole in the paper to make the shoji easier to carry.
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Nanny and self-taught photographer Vivian Maier (1926–2009) (previously here and here) kept nearly 150,000 photographic images, including street photography and self-portraits, hidden from the world until an estate sale in 2007 revealed a large bulk of her secretive hobby. Since 2010 her photographs have been widely exhibited in galleries and museums across the world, and were the subject of the 2013 documentary Finding Vivian Maier, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
Although her mostly Chicago and New York-based photographs have become infamous in the decade since their discovery, her color images have been less prevalent due to the technical challenges involved in their development and recovery. This month the largest monograph of her full-color photographs was published by Harper Collins, which includes images pulled from the roughly 40,000 Ektachrome color slides spanning the last 30 years of her life. Vivian Maier: The Color Work explores over 150 of her colorful images with details that have been gathered about her story and photographic process. The book also features a forward by photographer Joel Meyerowitz and text by Colin Westerbeck, a former curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago.
“Maier was a self-invented polymath of a photographer,” writes Westerbeck in the book. “The one advantage Maier gained from keeping her photography to herself was an exemption from contradiction and condescension. She didn’t have to worry about either the orthodoxy or the approval of her peers.”
Vivian Maier: The Color Work was created in partnership with Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York City, who will be presenting an exhibition of the same title opening November 14, 2018 and running through January 5, 2019. Several of the color photographs included in the exhibition will be presented for the first time. You can see more of Maier’s black and white and color photography on this portfolio site dedicated to her collection, and you can purchase a copy of the new book on Amazon. (via Chicago Magazine)
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Editor's Picks: Illustration
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.