Why 7 ate 9
Gary Winogrand, a passionate hater of the term “street photography,” compared photography to a pun that calls “something happening” into question, suggesting multiple meanings and upsetting us. While he was talking about a tension between reality and a photographic form, today it seems that street photography is mostly caught up in an endless sampling of its own conventions. Streams of street views on photo blogs and Instagram abound in photographic quotation while exploiting the automaticity of filter-applied codes. These days, street photography looks more and more like a pun on street photography.
But the deliberate immersion into old-school aesthetic genres with their familiar patterns and schemes can also sometimes bring us surprisingly close to the ambiguities of what is actually happening. Looking at the street through the restaging of a vintage form might enable a strange interplay between the reality of its inherent rules and the complexity that never stops proliferating outside of them. Today we notice a looser coupling of street photography and its referent, as well as a conscious discrepancy between the recording apparatus and the biopolitical structures it attempts to engage. Here, street photography performs its own constraints in order to connect with a world that’s already made of images.