In my festive opinion during a yet another obligatory holi/holly day, abstract photography (no matter its artistic value, which I am not capable of judging) is a necessary exercise both for the photographer and the viewer to get familiar and open to the multilevel representations and transformations of street photography.
By observing the first two of the presented pictures (Patrick's and Dragos') we let them undermine our perception of what is real and what oneiric. Not without the benefit of subsequently "accept" more easily Gabi's distorted crucifixion and Rose's chromatic extravagance.
The photograph is no more a window. It is a metamorphosis with a new identity(ies). A street photograph must be challenging the documentary identity and authority of an image.
Not to be confused however with the erroneous (but dear to many) concept that any motion-blur or out-of-focus image is automatically engaging abstraction and surrealism; and respectively, sharply executed and spontaneously composed images are not necessarily closer to a documentary approach.
On the other hand, the above described challenge should not reach the limits of an obvious manipulation which would make the viewer loose her interest on a scene by making her doubt that this very scene or action has truly taken place.
To support the above, observe how delicately the images retain a sense of authenticity which implies a certain veridicality (rare in the digital era of manipulation) and allows the full deployment of the photograph's impact.
Are you reading all this? Well, don't. For this last article of the year, allow me to go further into deconstructing (again) the pretentious body of work of myriads of photographers (as opposed to the ones presented here). A work usually bundled with expensively paid reviews, then self-published, the whole packaged in a gift special edition.
Bresson said that "il faut signifier le monde" which translates into "reveal the world, uncover it, give it a meaning". I would take this further by stating that photography is there to give the photographer's life a meaning instead, and nothing else. This last axiomatic statement may appear so close to the Plato's "aphorism" on art having no value for us since works of art are simply a mere mirroring of reality. And this becomes even more plausible when we refer to photography, a mechanical process.
Shouldn't we leave art to the artists and to the critics, and start following what always was the initial drive of a photographer: The quest of her identity, first of all, and the universal truth's, secondly; only with not much time available. A photographer is an impatient investigator. She cannot afford in-depth reading or studying the human issues. She gets quickly overwhelmed by the phenomenological variety and the difficulty of explaining the world; and so she does what represents a closure, an instant truce with these demons. She triggers the shutter. The photograph is no more a window opening to a new experience. It is a door slammed into the viewer's face, into society's burden.
And I am perfectly fine with that. Aren't you?
I am realising that in SCP we have many anti-conformist artists flirting (again) with Dadaism.
The photographs of the authors presented here, albeit their visual confusion, and thus provocation at first reading, they convey a nonsensical and ethereal narrative after a while.
Rafael calls his pictures "Broken Dreams", Elisa's images are forcing an impression of distorted reality, George's are going further into fragmenting the imagery of the ordinary.
Moriyama called his pictures fears, D'Agata called them obsession and darkness.
Bottom line is, all the above fall under what André Breton termed "convulsive beauty" in the Manifesto of Surrealism.
The same goes for Kertesz's distortions, Man Ray's violin, Atget's shop windows ...
Dadaism appeared post WWI, hand-by-hand with Surrealism as an anti-bourgeois protest "against this world of mutual destruction." As a scream against the madness of collective homicide.
But why now, at times of relative peace, this cyclical re-emerging of the opposite of everything? Why still go beyond aesthetics, offending the established harmony?
It is because almost two centuries of photography could not convince us that perfection in art can perdure. Better technologies, cameras, films, lenses, sensors came to provide crisp images able to be magnified at gigantic levels. And yet, we merrily and happily embrace Man Ray's words: "I would photograph an idea rather than an object, a dream rather than an idea."
This is the public curated Gallery of the STREET CORE PHOTOGRAPHY Group