News flash, founding member of iN-PUBLIC Nick Turpin and fellow member Nils Jorgensen have both abruptly left the street photography collective (You can read it here on phoblographer.com) over a photograph taken by another member (Blake Andrews), which was voted for photo of the month within the collective. First off, I applaud Turpin and anyone that takes a stand in something they believe in as this must have been a very difficult decision on Turpin’s part being one of the original founding members of the group. However I do feel he is overreacting. The perception I have of Turpin is that he’s a good photographer; very passionate, but at times acts like the chief of police for the genre street photography. For example, this can be seen from discussions I’ve read on social media regarding the World Street Photography Book 4 where he and Chris Suspect go back and forth on the book’s cover and whether or not it’s candid or even street.
Now I’m not saying Blake Andrews’s photo is going to transcend the street photography genre, but it did catch my eye when I saw it and had me curious. I asked myself, did he use flash? Did he slowed down the shutter? How did make this shitty photo?!!! I have never been more interested in how a shitty photo has come about! And that to me deserves a standing ovation (clap clap)! Look, I understand the argument here, digital tool(s) should not manipulate or enhance the narrative within the image.
According to the phoblographer
post, he left because he is“Unhappy with the inclusion of the image, Turpin felt it was not following the code of authenticity that is commonly associated with street photography.” This is where Turpin’s argument hits a dead end. His argument on the processing of the panoramic view on the iPhone and how it is not street photography…it’s an argument not worth having.
This should not have been the reason why Turpin went and packed his bags to go home. Turpin’s reason should have been because that piece of crap of a photo was selected for “photo of the month”.
You have 20 plus badass street photographers in the longest reigning and respected street photography collective and the photo of the month is this?….Really? Really? Eighteen years of hard work, energy, and effort to put together a respected and talented street photography collective and we have this for a photo. Blake Andrews should permanently delete the photo and swallow his pride. Such a shame! When you have a crap of a photo like that as the photo of the month for your collective, it represents everyone within the collective and not just the photographer who took it.
Which then brings up a bigger question….is street photography, or better yet photography in general…considered art? Anyone can go out and get lucky and take the best picture of a lifetime. When compared to other art forms like music, painting, or dance…it takes years and many hours of practice to perfect the art. Should street photography have rules. Should street photography have “Ethical and aesthetic” rules.
I believe the average person does not give a crap whether or not it’s a candid photo or how it was done. Now that does not mean I pose my own street pictures because I don’t. However, the average person only cares about what’s in the frame, aside from the street photography enthusiast. The regular person is only able to digest what was taken, not how it was taken. I’m also suspicious of many of the photographs I see floating online if they were manipulated in anyway. Did they remove a pole? Did they add this? Did they add that? With the digital tools we have today anything can be manipulated…but does the average viewer care?
Hawaii Street Photography Workshop