29 March 2008

invited guest: Jouko Leskelä (first part)

Alert on the street
Street photography is at the end of the day free snapping. In the abundance of possibilities the street photographer focuses his attention selectively. My own goal is to show images, where similar or mismatched people or elements of manmade environment reoccur or juxtapose with each other. My street pictures are unarranged situations. I don’t ask anyone to repeat anything I saw for a photograph.

The coordinates of street photography:
Street photography means freely composed unarranged photography in public places. The subject is mainly people and coincidences between them.The street photographer mostly photographs people he doesn’t know. A street photographer doesn’t hide but neither does he usually introduce himself or ask for permission. Interesting street images entail small meaningful detail, which the viewer has to read from the picture. Street photography is observation of life with a positive spirit. Over time, a long span street photography may gain a zeitgeist-like meaning of a documentaristic nature, often years after the work has ended.

Street photography differs from documentaristic photography with the fact that a documentarist usually works together with his subjects. He has been given permission to photograph. It has been possible to acquire permission because the subject includes a certain number of subjects, not for example the entire population of a city.

It differs also from photographic art, as the observations of the street snapper are not created for photography. The street photos rarely look estranged. The sign of life have not been isolated from their original scenes.

From photojournalism, or editorial photography, street photography differs by the subjects not being big or important events, news. The images might be taken around arranged events, but they remain observations “beside the point”.

Due to the fast rhythm of news, the main item in news photography is rarely a small detail. This is why street photography is not often published in papers.
Pictures and text © Jouko Leskelä
translation: Petronella Grönroos
invited by ulf fågelhammar
Please have a look at snapshot.fi where you will find Jouko along with other great photographers from Finland and elsewhere. The site is in English and Finnish.


Anonymous said...

Great street photography. You make it look so easy :)

cafe selavy said...

That is a very nice article and sure to inspire much discussion. To differentiate between street photography and art photography, for instance, is certainly interesting.

J. Karanka said...

Terve Jouko! Nice to see you here as well! Making the list of Finns a bit thicker ;-)

marcin said...

simply excellent