iN-PUBLIC – Turpin is Out…Now What?

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?

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Too Many Street Photography Collectives?

What’s with all these street photography collectives!? I’m losing count. There’s iN-PUBLIC, the longest street photography group, there’s Burn My Eye, Observe, APF Collective, Full Frontal Flash, The Street Collective, Berlin 1020, EyeGosBananas, Superluna (just learned about this one), New York City Street Photography Collective Italian Street Eyes…Okay I’m getting exhausted. I’m curious to know what their purpose is, besides being all passionate photographers that formed a group and shares a similar vision on street photography? Other than the members admiring your photographs, are there any other qualifications you must pass? Are you required to take an “initiation beating”? I’m joking.

I attended StreetFoto in 2017 and there was a panel discussion from members of in-PUBLIC. There were 4 to 5 of them, I don’t remember exactly, but someone in the audience asked a question something along the lines of “what benefits are there being in a collective?” The answer went something like “well we have a group chat from time to time and we send over our contact sheets and photos to one another for feedback and that basically helps our editing process…” Really that’s it? I do want to mention as well that many collectives are born with the idea to sell a workshop(s), which is sad.

Anyway, all these street collectives really need to stop promoting themselves and figure out a way to “Make Street Photography Great Again”. Many of the collectives have a number of big name photographers in their groups and have a lot of weight and reach, but I don’t think many, if not all, of these collectives really know what the purpose of having a collective is. What is the mission? If you can’t answer that then you should reconsider putting any time and effort into your collectives. I feel like some of these collectives especially the ones that have been around for much longer can do much more by combining all of their talents (not just street photography talents) to do something with impact. Something memorable. Perhaps give value back to the street photography community.

Street Collectives

I propose that there should be some kind of organize street photography Olympics. One representative from each group all gather and discuss in trying to put something competitive together. Figure out a way collectively to give back to the street photography community (oh wait did I say that) instead of each group taking turns highlighting the same individual…it would be a win, win for everyone.

I also feel that some of these collectives are bringing in new blood into their group at a very high rate, especially within the last year or so. There’s no doubt that the male and females that have joined are phenomenal photographers, but I do think it makes the group less special. Maybe limit it by only accepting one person per year. I understand it’s a marketing strategy by bringing a high profile photographer into the group and I’m sure reviewing not only their body of work is part of the process, but how many Instagram followers that person has will eventually determine the fate of whether or not that particular person gets included.

From my observation, I look at some of these photographers associated with these groups and I don’t think they need to be a part of the collective. They’re good enough, with a large enough following, to be independent. If a group were to ask me to join, I’d negotiate hard and really try to maximize my opportunities and see where we could both benefit each other. It’s gotten to the point where street photography collectives are so saturated. The one benefit I see in being a part of a collective is to be recognized by my peers, but then what happens after.

All in all, is it worth being a part of a collective? I mean it doesn’t hurt to have a group of photographers that support you and possibly free marketing doesn’t hurt either. But if this is the case, I would be selective and wait for the right group to reach out to you.

*** Berlin 1020 is a unique collective like NYC SPC because all the photographers are located in the same area…

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4 Bold Street Photography Predictions in 2018

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Kinwing Edas Wong becomes a member of iN-PUBLIC or some other prestigious street photography collective

Whether you’re a fan of one and done type photos, or photos of gradual humor, you can’t deny the talents of street photographer Kinwing Edas Wong. This man has taken photos that will breathe for a long time in the 21st century. And with that, my bold prediction is that this year a prestigious street photography collective will reach out to Edas to join…whether that be iN-PUBLIC, Burn My Eye, Street Collective, etc. there are so many, I’ve lost track. Bottom line is, Edas’ time is coming. It is a great reminder that talent always wins.

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Michael Ernest Sweet Returns to Street Photography

Michael Ernest Sweet had a meltdown last year and wrote an article in the Huffington Post that he was going to retire from street photography (article has since been deleted) because of all the same bullshit photos he sees on social media and all the politics that comes with it. I like Michael Ernest Sweet’s style and he provides good feedback as a judge on World Street Photography. I truly feel Mr. Sweet just needed a break. I mean don’t we all? And I hope his time away from street photography brings him back rejuvenated, refreshed, hungrier for more, and not concerned about what other “street” photos are floating around on social media.

This serves as a reminder that we need to shoot for ourselves. Don’t worry about others and what other people are posting unless you draw inspiration from them.

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Ricoh GR’s New Camera

I think it’s time for Ricoh to capitalize on the street photography community and release an updated version of the infamous Ricoh GR II. The Ricoh GR II has been a popular choice among street photographers over the years. But a release of a newer version, keeping the size and weight the same, the built in flash, upgrading the sensor or lens, adding some additional features, it will be a major hit! I have no idea why Ricoh is starving many street photographers from a new camera, however, when the new Ricoh GR is released later this year as I am predicting, it will most likely sell out very quickly.

Mobile Street Photography Will Start to Take Over

Many people are now shooting with their phones because of the convenience but more importantly how much the camera’s in our phone have evolved over the past few years. Do smartphones have their limitations? Of course they do, it’s not perfect, but it is good enough for most average consumer. I’ve seen prints as big as 8 X 11 from an iPhone and Android and they’re amazing. Honestly, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference unless you blow it up larger or if you are a professional that can nitpick the small details like highlights and shadows in a image.

 

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