More street candids, or how I roamed Istiqlal with my EM-5 after my shock discovery of Bruce Gilden photography

Wioman on Istiklal Street, Istanbul, Turkey. Street photography. Photo By Gregory DziedzicI was narrating in a former post, in French unfortunately (or not), how the discovery of thanks to a very good friend of mine has been an eye-opener (!) for me. Finally, here is this grungy rogue not giving a damn about model release forms and assaulting people with his cameras in order to get the best out of them. Reminds me a bit William Burroughs, as described by another William – Gibson this one, the father of Cyberpunk literature:

“I saw this crazy outlaw character who seemed to have picked up SF and gone after society with it, the way some old guy might grab a rusty beer opener and start waving it around”

Take that in your face… God I’ve always had some kind of problem with the pervasive concept of “humanist” photography. I might be a leftist in real life but it is very much possible that I haven’t matured enough as a photographer to reach that stage of harmonious relation to the other. Or maybe I just don’t like people. Discovering this medium… why should I accept its values. Yes photography is about people. So  what? I’m not actually stealing their souls am I?

To start with if you have a relation with “another person”  there might start to be a lot of posing and self-representation involved. This is true in photography as it often is in “real life” I’m afraid. And well, when what you want to do is to get the essence of people as they walk their way, interact with one another, check out something in the distance, then of course you should not interact with them! I’ve argued about this with a lot of friends, who tell me that I’m objectifying my subjects – well, so be it – and find my approach contemptible at best. I understand now why Bruce Gilden tells his students: “never answer your critics”. Which does not mean that I don’t have ethics. Because I do, or maybe I fancy myself having ethics. Might get back to that in a later post…

And by the way, I love these people, it’s their beauty, their character, their aura that attracts me to them…

8 Responses to “More street candids, or how I roamed Istiqlal with my EM-5 after my shock discovery of Bruce Gilden photography”

  1. Martin says:

    I find Bruce Gilden’s approach to photography too in your face for me.

    I have seen him work on youtube. He gets into people’s face and then fires his flash. I do not like his technique. I do not like the results. His subjects are overexposed for my taste. I know he shoots in NYC and the average person on the street is easier to work with there. In Seattle, where I shoot, some people simply get upset when I photograph them sans flash.

    Gilden is a Magnum photographer. He is well know and respected in circles that have never heard of me. That being said, I reject his technique. I prefer shooting sans flash. When I take a photo I don’t want my subject to know the image was captured.

    All that being said, I like the street portraits. You seem to have an eye for the ladies.

    Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner student & Street Photographer

  2. Gregory Dziedzic says:

    Thanks for the comment Martin. But do you really want me killed by my girlfriend? ;)
    Alright, with 75% female shots in the sample I’ve provided here, I suppose I can’t really deny :D
    Concerning Bruce Gilden’s approach, I’m really not sure where to stand. I have become really pissed with how people seem entitled to claim rights on their image. Not only about its use, but also about the mere taking of a picture. And I am talking about public space of course. I have a feeling this sacred cow could be a real impediment to the documenting of today’s street life. So yeah, basically I’ve found Bruce Gilden’s approach both daring and refreshing. It does put the photographer at the centre, but after all aren’t we all already a bunch of self-obsessed twats ready to sell mother and sister to get the shot of the century? ;)
    Where I follow you is that his method can only work in so many places and I wouldn’t even DREAM of trying it in the streets of Istanbul.
    To each photographer their ethical standards and whatever floats your boat as they say. I respect the people I shoot. They have a life, a flame and a mystery that for me seems worthy being recorded in the big human corpus of culture, and while I agree these portraits should of course never be used to sell or endorse something, I will have no qualms whatsoever about displaying and selling them in photography exhibitions (fingers crossed).

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