What to think of Streetrepeat?

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Photographers / Words

That is, Streetrepeat as in here, on Instagram.

Streetrepeat “is an Instagram account [..] born out of a fascination for the amount of repeated patterns in street photography, particularly on Instagram.” It takes a popular (apparently) theme, finds three photographs by three different photographers and posts them one after the other. That’s the short version, more to read at their site.

As for what I think about it..

I can certainly admit to finding it interesting on some level, and the selections are generally very nice. But I’m not sure about what it leaves with me with, the sum of it. As if by placing three of them together in a sequence, however great the individual photographs may be, it somehow punctures the experience, before it even happened. A kind of everything has been photographed, you can’t come up with anything new attitude, force–fed to the viewer.

On the other hand, looking at some of the photos for a bit longer than the usual IG attention span I feel they are indeed catchy, easy on the eyes, well composed and post processed, but a little too easy on the eyes perhaps? For those images, the additional two do help them grow, I believe.

Also on the other hand, via Streetrepeat I’m seeing a bunch of photography I might never have seen otherwise.

Like the ones from the screenshot above, by:

  1. Nick Hannes
  2. Hugh Rawson
  3. Katarzyna Kubiak
  4. Giulia Thinnes
  5. Kanrapee Chokpaiboon
  6. Efthimios Koustas

Then there is the Instagram effect. In my case, the nasty aftertaste I sometimes get when I return from there, made out of guilty conscience mostly, after spending wasting time on the tech giants’ playground and not concentrating on myself and my work.

Ohwell..

Confirm or excuse?

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From the archives / Words
Camera on a tripod, outside in the wind, on a mountain.
Landscape, camera, wind.

I used to know someone who would be present in nature while I ran around like a madman attempting to make it stick to film. Can’t rembember bothering to stop much and ask myself what it was I was trying to find, or capture. Just went on, searching, framing, adjusting, releasing the shutter, collecting fragments of reality as it passed. As if I needed them in order to confirm—or excuse, not really sure which—my existence, by being able to provide proof that it happened. And how. If not for others, then at least myself.

I’ve known several of them, people of presence. And contrary to what I can tell about my intentions when running around with a camera I do remember having great respect for them because of their ability, and a sense of envy even for what I so obviously lacked. Can’t say I recall noticing the inevitable void between us though, the incompatibility, that didn’t happen until later.

None of this was photography’s fault of course, it served merely as medication for the symtoms.

 

Moss and grass, mountain in the background.

Photograph 06-0712-II-04: Moss, grass, mountain.

It would be awfully comfortable to just lean into that Winogrand quote, and perhaps I did, at the time, the one about photographing to see how the world looks photographed. Important as it may be it doesn’t address the underlaying question, in my case; why the need for a crutch, I mean camera, to avoid being present? And how is it connected to the attempt to capture the present in order to look at it in the future, when it has become something fundamentally different?

Later on, but while still attempting to make the world stick to a small piece of film, the sense of need for such a crutch became more apparent. Eventually how it was practically inconceivable having to be without one and then became obvious that hadn’t it been for photography, something else would have had to be there, in its place.

 

Rural road with barrier in autumn.

Photograph 07-0424-CL-1_05: Road barrier.

The reasons behind this particular need, which I’m leaving beyond the scope of this space, didn’t start to unfold until years later. Perhaps around the same time as the camera equipment increasingly got thrown into bags to be forgotten or sold off at the local classified sites.

And now, looking back, several years ol.. I mean wiser, it feels a little odd how it has been the photographs that have provided answers to many of the questions they fought to suppress all those years ago.

Here’s a bit of a downside though. Photography that aims to confirm, provide proof that someone was at a certain place at a certain time, or appears as if it does, the I was there category of photographs if you will, tends to be quite uninteresting. Unfortunately this is true for many gigabytes of images on my harddrives. But I like to believe that even the most boring ones have some potential, if nothing more than an answer to a question no one has though of asking, yet.

Go away, both of you

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From the archives / Words
Apartment building, grey sky, naked trees, view over fjord and island in the distance.

Sure the subject matter is close to heart and all. And one of it I don’t think is terrible. But really, I can’t stand these two photographs.

Perhaps what I dislike the most about them is how they represent if not my greatest flaw when it comes to getting things done, then certainly one on the top–10 list; the tendency to postpone whatever it is I should be doing while waiting for some pieces of my puzzle to fall into place. That is, perceived better pieces and a different kind of puzzle. Someone elses even. More often than not related to equipment, a better camera or optics that can do this or that. Instead of carrying on with what I should be doing, photographing.

Or it’s the fact that they’re twelve years old now and looking at them somehow emphasizes how little has happened in those twelve years. Not that it’s entirely true but then it is, on some levels.

I guess the two were a not–unlikely intro to photographs that came later, but with all the waiting for stuff to fall into places it took a bloody long time before that particular later happened.

So go on, get out of here. Can’t stand the sight of you.

More of the same, only different, but not much.

Scale

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Images
Scale

If there was a scale and it tried to describe ways of moving between one place and another and on one end there was elegance, that’s about where the sailboat would fit. In the middle there might be something representing neutrality and way out on the other end we would find the cruise ship.

This was a subjective observation from someone who has yet to set his foot on one.

I’ve never been good at goodbyes

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Words
I’ve never been good at goodbyes

Even if I still do, occasionally, it doesn’t make much sense bringing the Fuji anywhere anymore. It may work half–ok–ish, for a while, but more likely it won’t. The procedure goes something like this:

  • Fuji doesn’t respond to dials or
  • focus or
  • respond to eye sensor
  • etc.

Then it’s time to:

  • Turn Fuji off
  • Remove battery
  • Put it back in
  • Close battery lid
  • Power on

and then it may come back to its usual self, for a moment or two. And it may not. Even when it does it won’t last for long.

We had a good run together. That was a pun because in fact we had plenty. But bloody hell I miss it.

If only it was failing like that other camera, from the previous post, ..

Spring cleaning

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Other
Spring cleaning

I should be selling my own photography equipment but this time it’s my daughter’s camera that’s on its way to the local classfieds site. Or the auction site, depending on where it’s likely to fetch a good price.

First I had to make sure everything works as it should so I took it to the local mountain. Looks promising.

By the way, the 30mm Sigma is quite alright and won’t go with it. Oh, and april has no colours.

Path and trees in black and white.

Landscape in april greys. With a long normal or short tele, depending.

The squares

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From the archives
Parts of two apartment buildings, view of hills and water between them.

..the squares are the ones from New Landscapes that resonate nowadays—long before that it was the squares from the square camera that,.. well—wanted to resonate but never quite got there.

Still staring at old photographs. These from 2006, made with good help from the Voigtlander Perkeo II.

Nevermind the dust, thank you! There is a re–make of this one btw, here, one I seem to prefer.

Who can resist a good apartment building with naked winter trees in front of it?

That little camera has plenty of good qualities, accurate framing not being one of them.

Well, trees and apartment buildings.. Variation on a theme.

Speaking of the Perkeo. How lovely it would be to be able to find a replacement bellows for it. Or better yet, a DIY repair solution. On to the search engine then, I feel it’s been sitting in a drawer for long enough now.

Not to be seduced

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Photographers

That’s not to say that working in clear–cuts has been easy. So much effort has had to go to trying not to do certain things. Not to use the sky, on those rare occasions when there is one here in the Nortwest, to rescue the land. Not to be seduced into celebrating the power of men and machines, which can have a Satanic beauty and heroism about it. And not to aestheticize the carnage.

Robert Adams, Along Some Rivers