with street photography
The 32-year old Tao Liu knows the city of Hefei like his backyard. Since 2005 he’s traveled up, down and across the city in Eastern China on his motorbike reading water meters for a local utilities company. The job was tedious, exhausting and unrewarding, until he picked up a camera.
For the past 3 years Liu has used his spare time to capture intimate, witty and humorous street photos of Hefei. “I like taking photos because I can hang around on the streets and capture an image when something interested me but was neglected by others,” Liu told the Global Times. “I want to remind people of the touching moments in life.” He was interviewed after his photos went viral on China’s social network Weibo.
Liu has no formal training in photography but cites Daido Moriyama – often referred to as “the father of street photography” – as a primary influence. “I found him [to be] a very focused photographer,” says Liu in an interview with TIME. “I chose my camera based on what he uses.” Liu’s photos, intentionally or not, seem to poke fun at things like commercialization and urbanization. Liu clearly has a knack, not only for being in the right place at the right time, but for a keen eye that spots charming, serendipitous scenes amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You can keep up with him and his work on Lofter. All photos courtesy the photographer. (via Time)
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For the last 20 years, unassuming Dutch photographer Hans Eijkelboom has traversed the world, picking a spot, be it in Shanghai, New York, or Paris, and meticulously photographed what he saw. “I take between 1 and 80 photographs a day, almost every day, 12 months a year,” he says, referring to his “Photo Notes” project, which has now been turned into a book titled People of the Twenty-First Century. The “Photographic Journal,” published by PHAIDON, is the largest, most comprehensive work of his to date, and includes thousands of photos that, together, create a fascinating picture of mankind.
The “anti-sartorial” photographs of everyday people capture specific visual themes – people in red jackets, men with bare chests on roller blades – that are grouped together with the date, city and time range they were taken. And this combination and repetition is what makes the photographs so powerful. Viewed separately, they would hardly even catch our eye.
“I don’t use this diary to show what happens in my life but as a method of visualizing the development of my world view,” writes the artist. Much like the way stalagmites form in caves over hundreds of years, Eijkelboom’s landscape is the result of a methodical fixation to the banality of everyday life. Hans Eijkelboom’s People of the Twenty-First Century is available for around $26 (Via Citylab)
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When he was 13 years old, New York-based photographer Thomas Prior won a drawing contest and used the money to buy a Pentax K1000 camera. By the age of 20, while still attending SVA, he began assisting on commercial shoots while developing his own direct, almost simplistic approach to photography. Prior relies almost completely on natural lighting and a brilliant eye to capture uncanny images in unexpected places. Gathered here is a selection of photos from the past few years, you can see more on his frequently updated Tumblr, and a recently created Instagram account. (via All of this Is Rocket Science)
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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 differing cultures, miraculous visual coincidences, and improbable 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.
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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.
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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.
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