December 14, 2017

Urban America – Street Photography

Here is a little bit of Vienna from my travel photography log. It's street photography meets landscape photography in an urban setting. The photo was taken years ago when I was shooting only film. Yes, it's a lot of grain, but that adds to the nostalgic charm. Today in the digital world we see less grain. Cameras are built to give the photographer maximum resolution. Larger files. Tighter grain. And course you'll always have Photoshop. It's not the same as film grain, but it's something if you are going for this type of look in your photography.

I did most of my street photography while I was studying photography in school. Back then as now I am influenced by photographers who skillfully craft their unique vision, who stand out from the crowd, who make their photographs their art.

Vienna ©Frank Marchese

Vienna © Frank Marchese

Garry Winogrand

One of my favorite photographers who took his eye to the street and made it his canvas was Garry Winogrand. The man was an animal with the 35mm Leica camera, shooting quickly and freely capturing the American urban lifestyle landscape.


Women Are Beautiful © Garry Winogrand

Winogrand often captured the energy of the events he was witnessing. While his unique style has been imitated by many photographers who followed after him, myself included, there was no denying Winogrand's visual style, the use of the wide-angle lens, the tilted camera, the different use of angles. He seemed to have documented it all; street performers, press conferences, country fairs, the social elite, the country poor, the working class to beautiful women.

Vivian Maier

Another great street photographer who was just as prolific a shooter as was Winogrand was a less known, amateur who did her business on the streets of Chicago. Vivian Maier may have worked as a nanny but her talent as a photographer shooting Urban America in the second half of the twentieth century is seemingly beyond belief. Equipped with her twin reflex camera, her compositions using the full square frame, Maier puts much of her emphasis to the center. Often you see portraits center similar to her self-portrait seen here. Like Winogrand in New York City, this Chicagoan took advantage of the city architecture and the stark light that often cast shadows across faces, objects and buildings. Her eye trained to focus the action to the center of the frame has in itself made us the viewers force to see this first before we venture out to the ends of the photo where shapes and figures compliment the story.


Self Portrait © Vivian Maier

Winogrand and Maier did all this before the digital world. A time of the black and white negative. The hand held light meter. Shooting styles change, our society has changed, even technology advances make up a different landscape for the today's photographer. Yet creativity in today's photographers are off the chart. This is the age of photography. It's a great time to be a photographer.

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