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Australian photography: Andrew Stark « Previous | |Next »
May 2, 2011

Andrew Stark, an Australian street photographer who has mainly photographed in Sydney since the early 1980s, has published two books of photographs Snaps from Sydney (2003) and Candidly Inclined (2005).

StarkASydney1993.jpg Andrew Stark, Sydney, 1993

Traditionally, street photography is wandering the streets "capturing the moment", or "seizing time", of the world around us. It was usually done with a Leica M and some rolls of Tri-X and it has that gritty, grainy 35mm black & white style. A free e-book on street photography. The new tradition is the Leica M Reloaded.

Stark describes the ethos of street photography aptly:

I genuinely believe photography to be at it's most potent when underscored by truth. To contrive is to control and frankly I'm more interested in observation than direction. Riding the ebb and flow of Sydney's streets, approaching the next corner afresh, never quite knowing what may present itself in the adjoining street. That's the random beauty of street photography. Control has to be a stultifying, creative brake. The magic, emotion charged moments are in my experience invariably captured using an almost sub conscious process, they must never be orchestrated and can rarely be dogmatically collated

Large format photography, in contrast, is more about control and direction rather than observation in the flux of the moment. However I'm not sure that it dispenses with truth.

Andrew Stark, Auburn, 2004

In Random Thoughts he adds that it's fair to say that unposed or candid photography has rarely been as harassed as it is today:

The historians of tomorrow tracking photography's path will note the earliest years of the 21st century as a period filled with challenges as street photographers are confronted by an aggressive public riddled with paranoiac suspicion. In an age of dry conservatism, the pursuit of the largely misunderstood will always meet with frenetic opposition...Photographing in shopping centres, public buildings, railway stations, airports and the like, you can just sense those dark bubbles on the ceiling reacting to your every move and within minutes the big serious guys are in your face, onto your case and if you're lucky, pushing you gently back out into the street. If you're not so fortunate you get to sit in a dingy office for an hour trying to explain the history of street photography to a handful of armed security guards whose idea of fine photography is the latest J Lo calendar.

He adds that neo conservative periods in history are always loaded against true freedom of expression. Ours is one such time and those practising street photography are seen as strange men wielding camera's and then equated with paedophiles.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:42 PM |