I have photographed in the streets of various cities for several years, observing routines of strangers and anonymous passers-by. This project is a departure from traditional ways of exploring street photography from a remote location that provides a degree of autonomy not readily available when photographing in the street. My process does share some characteristics with traditional street photography – the choice of the 35mm format, working quickly, not planning or directing and observing, intuitively without judgement. This method of working allows me to act as both a protagonist and audience by using an already edited scene in order to compose and organize the picture.
The project is influenced by the psychogeographic movement and the literary figure of the flaneur. The flaneur creates strategies for observing the flux of daily life through wandering the streets. In this project I am interested in the idea that immobility can achieve equally interesting results, inverting the notion that when living in a city, we are often close physically, yet psychologically forced into detachment. Distance leads to voyeurism and allows the observer to view the city and its occupants as a spectacle.
An excerpt from Jonathan Raban’s Soft City
‘Cities unlike villages and small towns are plastic by nature. We mould them in our images: they, in turn, shape us by the resistance they offer when we try to impose our own personal form on them. In this sense, it seems to me that living in cities is an art, and we need the vocabulary of art, of style, to describe the peculiar relationship between man and material that exists in the continual creative play of urban living. The city as we imagine it, the soft city of illusion, myth, aspiration, and nightmare, is as real, maybe more real, than the hard city one can locate in statistics, in monographs on urban sociology and demography and architecture.’
Raban, J., 2008. Soft City. Picador. London.
‘Postmodern agenda: the peep show is the art form; the voyeur is the protagonist; the goal is excitement from a safe distance; the alibi is that it’s all ironic.’
Cooley, M., 1994. City Aphorisms. Fourteenth Selection. Pascal Press New York