Archive | July, 2015

:graduate:

20 Jul

My name is Paul Rosenstein, and I got my first camera when I was 13.  I’ve been shooting on and off ever since.  Apparently, that’s over twenty years now.  I started focusing more on street photography about eight years ago, when I began taking rather close shots of interesting surfaces, street art, building siding, and the like.  Over the years, I have found myself retreating from my subjects, favoring longer views, framing more thoughtful compositions, and attempting to capture the emptiness of spaces rather than the noise of the extreme abstraction.  At least in part, I attribute my shifting vision to a possibly-pathological gear-restlessness.  I am currently working with the following cameras: Mamiya RB67 Pro-S, Bronica ETRSi, YaschicaMat 124, and a Nikon F2 and an F3.  I’ve always found that shooting different cameras and refreshing my gear bag occasionally helps drive creativity.  In fact, I enjoy the entire process: acquiring new gear, cleaning it up a bit, installing batteries (if nec), loading the film, developing the film at home, hanging it in the bathroom to dry, scanning it in, and posting online.  For me, this entire process—start to finish—is the making of a photograph, only the smallest part of which is the physical taking of it.  So while making a photograph today tends to begin and end on the internet, and therefore demands a workflow that few of us could have imagined twenty years ago, I love it all the same, just as much as I did when I got that first Nikon two decades ago.

At least to me, the power of urban photography lies in its ability to re-present as aesthetically interesting the utterly familiar and otherwise mundane.  Where many see only utility, the urban photographer sees beauty, and if he is an able photographer, he invites others to bear witness and unveils it for them.  In fact, with his tripod, handheld meter, and cable release, his mere presence outside office buildings, boiler rooms, back alleys, and loading docks is iconoclastic; and this, long before the completion of the photograph.  These are places we are not supposed to be, shooting subjects that are not supposed to be shot, finding the aesthetic where there is supposed to be only the instrumental.  By its very nature, then, urban photography is irreverent.  I find it to be a humble and elegant challenge to common sense.  In fact, I am reminded of its power each time a bystander confronts me to ask What do I think I am doing? and What is it for?  And, as anyone who does this sort of photographic work will surely attest, this means I am reminded constantly.  I seek only to contribute in some small way to the universe of urban photography established already by far better artists than I—many of whom are featured in the posts below.

My personal site is hosted at Cargo Collective

See also my Flickr feed

Some of my stuff is for sale at Crated

Walthamstow by Vibrant

8 Jul
I take rubbish pictures in every sense. My subjects are static, abundant and nearby. I don’t try to find beauty in them, I’m not a professional photographer.
 
Take a look at the contents and fittings of your home: beds, chairs, sofa, tables, cooker, fridge, toilet bowl, wardrobes, cabinets, carpets, rugs, shopping trolley, suitcases, laundry basket, curtains, blankets, duvets, clothes, television, washing machine, doors, toys, shoes, bric-a-brac, framed pictures and the content of the rubbish bin. They are all in my photos: mostly on pavements and in front gardens, occasionally on the street.
 
There is an apparent contradiction in rubbish dumping. The poorest the area, the greater the number of objects that are used for only a short stretch and then turfed out onto the pavement. Walthamstow is one of the many suburbs in the tourist-free, grimy belt that surrounds central London. A scruffy, dirty mishmash of traffic choked streets, overcrowded tenements, shabby shops and high deprivation. It has a dense, transient, low-income population that rents privately and tends to buy cheap stuff that doesn’t last or may not be suitable for the next tenant. Environmental degradation and respect for public spaces are not high on the agenda of either landlords or tenants. That said, a small posse of private developers, estate agents and creative-corporate types, are forever telling me that I live in a vibrant, urban paradise. My photos are in part an attempt to reconcile the cognitive dissonance their claims cause me.
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