Google Alerts brought an interesting article to my attention. Printed in the British newspaper The Observer “Why street photographs is facing a moment of truth” looks at the current state of street photography and the attitudes of the public, police and galleries and critics towards it.
I can’t disagree with the general thrust of the article but it raises the point that photography galleries and critics largely ignore street photography seeing it as being non-art. And let’s face it a lot of it is pure dross. The fact that a photograph is a candid reflecting life in the street doesn’t automatically mean that is is good. That’s one point. Another an important one is do you really want to live with an image of a drunk, or a junkie, spewing his or her guts into the gutter hanging on the lounge room wall?
Which I guess brings another point to the fore. What do people who buy photographs do with them? Store them in boxes and look at them – wearing Mickey Mouse white gloves – every third Pancake Tuesday? Hang them on a wall? Put them in a bank vault and pray that they appreciate in value?
I can’t speak for any one other than myself but I some of the photographs I have (by people other than myself) are hanging on the wall and some are in boxes. None are in storage because I don’t give a damn whether they appreciate in value or not.
If they are in boxes or in a bank vault the subject matter doesn’t matter, but if you want to live with an image day in day out, you probably wouldn’t choose an edgy street picture. And that’s probably why street photography doesn’t get the critical attention that it deserves.