212 | Two blurbs

Mitchel Lensink
Jul 31, 2021
2 min read

Today is about sharing two blurbs that caught my attention. I will not immediately comment on them as I prefer sitting with them for a little longer before offering my thoughts. Better yet, my thoughts can already be distilled from many of my previous Monologues, if you give it a good try.

The first quote is from Simon King:

There is little reason to care about a street photograph if all it does is pose questions, offering no resolution. Who are these interesting or mysterious characters? What are their stories? What can we learn from these ideas, often so beautifully presented? It’s all build-up, no payoff; all joke, no punch line. Little continuity, just themes, and iterations. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, but when looking for value in even the best examples of contemporary new wave street photography, it is fleeting at best.
There’s a chance that forty years from now there will be a nostalgic and historic value, which is what we find today in the work made in the 70s/80s, but that will only be true for a fraction of work being produced today; and again in reference to the new wave approach, will we really look back on silhouettes walking through beams of light with a nostalgic twinge? Will “timeless” work really be useful to history when it’s been made not as a documentary of the present but in the mindset of existing nostalgia?

Which ties into a quote from another piece of him, which is also worth the read:

If you are actively searching for anachronisms, then the ultimate body of work does not have the same potential to possess those nostalgic elements when looked back on in fifty years’ time. When classic street photographers worked, they simply looked at what was going on around them. The fashion sensibilities of the time were what they had to work with, not something that especially required being sought out.
I have a bit of a theory that when audiences see an iconic image taken many years ago, it is likely to have stood the test of time in some way or another, and represents something truly special. Images taken today which contain the aesthetic values but not much more have the appearance of having withstood those tests of time, but instead are superficial and empty beyond the aesthetic.

Finally, these few words by Craig Mod struck a nerve:

Do you know this feeling? The not wanting to emerge from the covers feeling? The feeling where so many things in the world are off by a degree here or a degree there and that on their own, each thing is not so bad, but in aggregate, as a whole, all of those degrees add up and conspire to make inside of the covers so much more attractive than the world outside? This is the kind of place I find myself when my mind has tilted ever so slightly. When the weight of life can press a body down.

Which concludes today’s Monologue. Little writing from me but still a recording of what keeps me busy at the moment.

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