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Exposed - 2012

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S: Exposed - 2012

FC: Exposed - 2012 A year on the streets Tom Anderson

1: Exposed - 2012 A year on the streets Tom Anderson

3: There are days when the technique of the aimless stroll - without a timetable or destination - works like a charm, flushing out pictures from the non-stop urban spectacle. - Robert Doisneau

4: My deepest and strongest and fondest memories are all connected with traveling around this country seeing places that I've never seen before. I had traveled very little until that time, I'd only been from my native Minnesota to my non-native Washington, and it was just great to be alone in a car and to be paid for driving around taking pictures of what you liked to take pictures of. It was just a case of every morning looking at the road map. I would drive to a town because I liked the sound of the name. There was a place in North Dakota called Starkweather, and it seemed that there should be some great pictures there so I went. John Vachon, Farm Security Administration photographer 1938-1943, (1973 interview) as quoted in “The Photographs of John Vachon”, Fields of Vision, The Library of Congress, 2010. xi.

5: Denver, Colorado The 16th street mall in downtown is divided by a center strip of park with trees, wooden benches, and concrete chairs and tables, tops etched with chess boards. People wait or rest there watching the free shuttle buses loop the mall. The bus engines are hybrid emitting no perceptible exhaust. It's a calm sensible place where people play a game or get lost in thought. A street musician works a trumpet or more often a guitar with a few coins and bills tossed in his open case inviting more. This is truly public theater.

6: The Shuttle, Denver, CO 2009

7: Chess Players, Denver, CO 2009

8: In the years following [Baron] Hausemann's renovations, the boulevard became the symbol of modern Paris. City life was essentially a public life, and the street was the stage on which the urban drama was played. All the variety and vitality of Paris - its social range, its material abundance, its sense of fashion - seemed to be visible in the streets. To artists the boulevard was an abundantly stimulating subject; probably no other city sat for its portrait as often as [did] the French capital. Norma Evenson, Paris: A Century of Change, 1878-1978. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1979, p.21. Cited in Colin Westerbeck and Joel Meyerowitz, Bystander: a history of street photography, Bulfinch Press, Little, Brown, 2011, p.40.

9: Louisville, Kentucky In downtown Louisville you can get to Belvedere Plaza overlooking the Ohio River by walking up a slight ramp by the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts off Main Street and passing under a metal arch. There are trees bordering the ramp allowing you to read a book in the shade or just to think. George Rogers Clark's statue beckons you West to the Missouri River. Just over the rail you can look at the river and see the stern wheelers hauling tourists. But the hum of traffic sounds from the interstate immediately below spoils the mood. I see interesting people dressed in white assemble for a wedding and reception on a boat. The waterfront is a gathering spot and a place to capture images.

10: The Arch

11: The Reader

12: The Skyline

13: Going to a wedding

14: Belvedere Plaza overlooking the Ohio River

15: Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts from the Humana portico

16: Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts

17: Louisville, KY

18: Louisville, KY

19: Louisville, KY

20: Eugene Atget in the early 20th century liked to photograph Parisian buildings and parks in the early morning with his slow lens to avoid the blur of people. But he did keep plates where a person walked through his shot and caused a blur. Those "contaminated" shots are to my eye and I think were to him very mysterious and ghostly, else why keep them. I like to have a person or animal in the frame if they add to the effect. Ideally I will wait in a graphically interesting place for a human to enter the shot hoping for an interesting gesture. I think more now about my intentions and moral choices in the street photos I take. But I have to admit that when I shoot I am not always so organized in my mind that I have a clear intent before I click. Street architecture, yes; street people, not so often. People's gestures are so fleeting. Capturing them on the fly is a lucky reflex. So there is a gathering process of shooting on the street followed by evaluation in front of the computer. The evaluation is where the moral and aesthetic choices are made. For photos of people the most important moral question is, "Does this photo advance our understanding of this person or her condition or is it simply exploitation?" AND "Does it preserve her dignity?" In the case of the lady and the pigeon I display in this book, I’ve come to think that, while showing a vulnerable human being, the photo does preserve her dignity and does in some way advance our understanding of her condition. The hardest part is distancing from the subject emotionally enough to take the shot. I often don't feel entitled to take it. But what gives me permission to press the shutter is an insight that this is not exploitation but reflection. Look; that too is how I appear. These are the gestures I make; the feelings I have.

21: Cincinnati, OH

22: The lady and the pigeon

23: The Critic

24: Lunch

25: The Argument

26: The Shopper

27: Hip Hop on Fountain Square

28: Chrome Window Figures I

29: Chrome Window Figures II

30: In 1859 at long last the French Ministry of Fine Arts allowed the French Society of Photography to hold an exhibition at its annual painting Salon in Paris. Charles Baudelaire, poet, essayist, and art critic wrote a scathing review of the photo exhibit, rejecting photography as an art form. After saying that photography had its place in the documentation of decaying ruins and historic artifacts, Baudelaire went on But if it [photography] be allowed to encroach upon the domain of the impalpable and the imaginary, upon anything whose value depends solely upon the addition of something to a man’s soul, then it will be so much the worse for us. Charles Baudelaire, The Mirror of Art, (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1955), pp.228-31. Cited in Beaumont Newhall, The History of Photography, Museum of Modern Art. 2009, p.83.

31: Toronto, ON

32: Spadina Avenue

33: Spadina Avenue

34: The Break, Cumberland Street

35: Royal Ontario Museum

36: Waiting on Cumberland Street

37: Charleston, SC

38: Though I will always be a visitor to Charleston I will always remain one with a passionate belief that it is the most beautiful city in America and that to walk the old section of the city at night is to step into the bloodstream of a history extravagantly lived by a people born to a fierce and unshakable advocacy of their past. To walk in the spire-proud shade of Church Street is to experience the chronicle of a mythology that is particular to the city and the city alone, a trinitarian mythology with equal parts of the sublime, the mysterious, and the grotesque. Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline, Dial Press reprint 2002, chapter 1.

39: I too come to Charleston today as a visitor. In the early 1970s I was here as a Naval officer – a long time ago. I return now to get a better feel of the place, the food, the architecture, the low country characters. Walking the streets South of Broad is an experience meant for an old man who can only walk slowly and who has time to absorb what ran off him so quickly back then. Today with more years on me I can appreciate the people’s passion for preservation and endurance. Ironically all the historic buildings and homes are band new in some way, damaged and repaired in the wake of hurricanes that plowed thru the city. Many homes hang on to their facades of old brick, stucco, and wood siding in an attempt to offer the tourists the look of the Antebellum South, while the internet and modern electrical circuits keep the old homes wired to the present. These are the homes of the rich. Behind their gated driveways are Mercedes, Lexus, Cadillac, and Rolls. Horses with large hooves the size of platters clop the pavement pulling carriages of tourists listening to a driver spin yarns of the The Holy City. It seems every street, every home has a tale that must be told. I look at the old homes and the expensive cars and ask myself, do the owners really belong here or did they just buy their way in. On Meeting Street atop the old slave market stands the office of the Daughters of the American Revolution reminding anyone, who stops to consider for one instant, belonging is important.

40: Daughters of the American Revolution Meeting and Market Streets

41: The Charleston in the tourist's fantasy is a city that's done and gone. What today the vacationer sees South of Broad street is a pastiche of the romantic, chivalrous Old South. While still charming as a well-cultivated nostalgia industry and fortress of The Lost Cause, Charleston struggles to maintain its illusion. Riding the horse-drawn carriages and hearing the guide’s tales of Old Charleston, the modern tourists, while respectful, know enough to be ambivalent about the city's past. But the carriage drivers still press them towards awe and acceptance of Charleston's special place. The murders, divorces, and political scandals of Antebellum's Holy City, while all true, do not make Charleston unique. Why shouldn't these houses reveal their toxic secrets? Every city in America has secrets. But the last weapon in his arsenal, as the guide reminds us, are Charleston's ghosts haunting the nocturnal streets and alleys, what the locals call the "night walkers". There's that cadre of Citadel cadets, who fired on Fort Sumter and started a war, sentinels of the darkened city. So, while the Charleston visitor yearns for the authentic, he's confronted by a flood of souvenir seekers disgorged daily from tour ships docked on the wharf. It's not long before our tourist gives up the fantasy and settles for today's Charleston and, being a good sport, is willing to go along with and to some extent enjoy the charade of nostalgia.

42: St. Michael's Church, Meeting and Broad Streets

43: Charleston, SC

44: Charleston, SC

45: Charleston, SC

46: Rutledge House Bed and Breakfast

47: Broad Street

48: Charleston, SC

49: Charleston, SC

50: Slave Fence, King Street

51: King Street

52: St. Philip's, Church Street

53: Broad Street

54: Maysville, KY To get to the authentic Maysville and a good view of the old bridge you must descend the hill past the franchise food stores past the jail and wind down a little further to park and walk past the flood wall next to the Ohio River. But walking the streets at night shows Maysville's most interesting self. The street lights and shadows add a wonderful noir quality and mystery not present by day. Maysville has signs claiming Rosemary Clooney as a native. Coming into town there's another sign announcing Maysville is the home of Heather French Smith, a former Miss America.

55: Exquisite Art Treasures

59: Copyright 2012 C Thomas Anderson

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  • By: Tom A.
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  • Title: Exposed - 2012
  • Street photography for 2012
  • Tags: photography, Cincinnati OH, Louisville KY, Maysville KY, Street photography, Toronto ON
  • Published: over 5 years ago