Watching the documentary film "Everybody Street" was a welcomed refresher for my inner self from long ago.
The film was set and shot in New York City. I was born and raised in Baltimore, MD - a few hours drive from New York City.
Some of the key Photographers featured in the film were Joel Meyerowitz, Boogie, Jamel Shabazz, Rebecca Lepkoff, Mary Ellen Mark, Elliot Erwitt, Bruce Davidson, and Ricky Powell. This film showed me how little i know about the photographers in our society.
The film was published in June of 2016; yet, the setting encompassed artwork from the 20th through the 21st centuries. During that time specifically the late eighties and early nineties, I had always appreciated the deep layers of content the streets of Baltimore contain. Baltimore and New York are very similar.
I began to follow along in the path of a Photographer in the early 90's. I saw an opportunity to make a little money by taking polaroids of people on the street. There were photographers who could beautify images by softening portraits such as the "Glamour Shots" style. I wanted to do the same. I bought an old box style camera from a thrift shop in 1992. I only used it fully on one occasion because, it required phosphorous bulbs to take pics using the flash.
the essence of street photography according to featured photographers such as Joel Meyerowitz is the goal to capture true life moments in its natural, chaotic environment...in the streets. A question was raised by Joel Meyerowitz during his oration about why do some photographers go to the studio vs going to the street?
He stated that "those select few who are willing... go out into the chaos with hopes of interacting with moments where life will be clarified for them." (Meyerowitz, 2016) As a Street Photographer Meyerowitz wanted to capture the way people did things in their everyday life. He believed that part of what you love as a Street Photographer is the sensibility where you think you understand something about the person and the culture at large. He believed that it is a way to read you culture.
In the book "Letters to a Young Artist", Anna Deavere Smith describes the importance of self esteem and its direct influence on an artists' confidence and ultimately... resourcefulness. Those core traits wore demonstrated very well in the story told by Joel Meyerowitz. He told how he - as a young man, was on an assignment for an Art Director and quit his job because he was so enthralled with the allure of the imagery, and depth of character in the streets of New York. He had no camera when he decided to become a photographer. What he had instead was a passion for what he loved and the desire to get started. and the resourcefulness to be successful.