I couldn’t let 2017 slip away without a backward glance at my own personal street photography year. This year I have had the privilege of talking to some of the most exciting, established and up and coming street photographers around. I was able to enter their world and speak about their work, how they went about it, and what street photography meant to them. These were people with the street photography brilliance and fascination of Don Hunstein, Richard Sandler, John Free, to name only three.
I decided to wander around my own interviews from the last year and pick out a few highlights. These are all my own thoughts and selections.
Copyright © Don Hunstein
This year we lost a favoured son in the legendary Don Hunstein. In April 2017 I had the opportunity to interview Don’s wife, Deeanne, about the iconic photograph he shot of Bob Dylan and his then girlfriend Suze Rotolo walking arm in arm down Jones Street, Greenwich Village, New York City. Don Hunstein was, unfortunately, too ill to take on the interview himself.
That shot which became the album cover for rising star Dylan’s second LP, ‘Freewheelin’ ‘, is, today as recognisable Alfred Eisenstaedt’s Sailor kissing the Nurse in Times Square (the famous VJ Day kiss). As far as we know, www.streetphotography.com was responsible for publishing the last feature on Hunstein before he died.
Richard Sandler’s The Eyes of the City
Copyright © Richard Sandler
Richard Sandler accused me of ‘trying to blow smoke up his ass’ in that Al Pacino-like voice of his during our telephone interview in June 2017. I protested journalistic objectivity and he seemed surprised that I thought his project, The Eyes of the City, was so good. So good in fact it is now a book, and we reviewed that as well.
John Free Railroad Tramps
Copyright © John Free
“Back in 1973, I did a silly thing,” John Free explains. “I got hooked into photographing railroad tramps in Los Angeles freight yards.” Free also realised the tramps as they arrived at the Los Angeles railhead had reached the end of the line – physically and probably metaphorically. Free spent ten years talking to his subjects, getting their stories, hearing their tales of relationship breakup, of drinking too much alcohol, of being tormented army veterans, as they all arrived at the Railhead.
Andre Wagner : Here For The Ride
Copyright © Andre Wangner
Andre Wagner’s moment of inspiration came when he was travelling to and from his work far beneath the New York streets. He figured if it was too cold and dark to go out on the street and take photographs he would make a visual record of his journeys. As he travelled between his home in Brooklyn to his work in Manhattan on the J train Wagner photographed the strangers he rode with. Called ‘Here For The Ride’ Wagner’s three year underground odyssey also became a book, and, of course, we reviewed it.
Oliver Rashka’s Here and Now
Copyright © Oliver Raschka
One of the most innovative projects we covered last year was Oliver Raschka’s series of photographs built around his sons but given a street photography aspect. He called it Here and Now and it turned out a thought -provoking series.
The Fine Art
Fine art, they tell us – whoever ‘they’ are – is a piece of art created for its aesthetic and intellectual properties. I can be a bit dismissive of such seemingly high flung definitions because I am always asking ‘who says?’ Who decides? But, I do think we have to have ground rules. I subjected my own selections to two criteria, one – would I frame these photographs and hang them on my wall? Two : was there some deeper significance to the artwork I could continually eat away at (so to speak)?
So here they are, my curated nine, suffice to say every photograph we featured last year in the interviews I undertook could be framed and hung on any wall, these are just a few my own personal favourites from 2017.
What were your favourites?
Johnny Mobasher The Barcelona Selfie
Copyright © Johnny Mobasher
Hugh Rawson Coming Second
Copyright © Hugh Rawson
Rob Krauss Kings of the Road
Copyright © Rob Krauss
Mathias Wasik Victoria’s Secret
Copyright © Mathias Wasik
Richard Koci Hernandez Future
Copyright © Richard Koci Hernandez
Josh Ethan Johnson Feature
Copyright © Josh Ethan Johnson
Gabi Ben-Avraham Boy Catching Jumbo Jet
Copyright © Gabi Ben Avraham
Hakim Boulouiz Girl At The Bottom of the Steps
Copyright © Hakim Boulouiz
Alex Coghe The Fortune Teller
Copyright © Alex Coghe