Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I wish I was in Tijuana...

Wow. A bit of a spike in hits. I was able to trace this anomaly to Chris Weeks site Barbecued Iguana. Thanks for the pointer, Chris. It was the response on RFF to Weeks’ Street Photography for the Purist PDF that sparked the idea for these hip shot posts. I enjoyed the PDF and felt it was a great injection of spirit and enthusiasm for all us who love street photography. The genre sparks much passion, and the document both polarized and united—a good sign. Does any other genre fire people up as much? I don’t think so. I’ve never seen a treatise on portrait photography or landscape photography, or factions of those genres drawing lines in the sand. Long live street photography, its indefinable glory, and its many and various permutations!

Fondlers and Artists Unite!
RFF took a beating for its response to the Street Photography for the Purist and rightfully so. There really was no reason to disrespect the effort behind the PDF . Some of the photographers/writers included in it are also members of RFF, and the work, and spirit behind the work, is impossible to fault. It’s too easy to discount effort while sitting back doing nothing. RFF can get smug at times, but certainly that’s no reason to snub the site. There are some really good people over there and what is offered is valuable to all photographers, especially those shooting street photography. After all, this is a site dedicated rangefinders, the camera responsible for defining the genre. It's a great place to learn about RF gear, and come up to speed on what works best for street-shooting. I’ve yet to see a question regarding rangefinders go unanswered on RFF. In the end, we use gear, talking about it ain’t a bad thing. It ain’t the only thing, I know.

A strong contingent exists within RFF that wants to pull it away from being such a heavily-weighted gear site, and that effort is paying off. While there’s actually value in knowing information like:

  • the Hexar AF is a great street camera, but its fastest speed is 1/250
  • the CV 35/2.5 is a great street lens (small, compact and sharp), but it’s contrasty
  • fish-scale bokeh can ruin a shot
  • the Leica viewfinder is nice, but the Zeiss Ikon might be better
  • etc., etc. etc.

in the end people want to see how all this translates into images. And who can blame them. RFF has got its fondlers, but it also has its “artists,” and people who want to see images. That’s why W/NW threads are seemingly always on the front page, and why critique threads started up. The gallery has a strong set of proponents and an equally strong set of consistent posters. Comments in the gallery are way up, and the Photos of the Week thread was recently revived—it appears every Monday. People are shooting street and posting in the gallery. There’s some excellent work. Check out:

J Borger, Kbg32, Graksi, foolproof, benilam,…to name a very few. There's also a nice little RFF splinter group on Flickr

Enough…it’s lunchtime here in the City by the Bay, and I’m going out shooting.