Anne Catherine Frey | Paris.
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of comments online about the state of street style photography. I’ve also had private conversations with readers and friends about specific photographers, and what is turning into a somewhat general sentiment that inspiration is getting lost. For me, it’s a sentiment that can challenging to digest. When I look over the landscape of street fashion on the internet, I never find inspiration, but only because I’m never looking for it. I study the good blogs, and sometimes the bad ones, and look at their individual tendencies, the way they use light and how they render their photographs. My personal assessment often ranges from that’s quite good to lazy job; did they run out of material?. Mostly though, it’s more like OK, so this is what person A is up to; this is what person B is up to. Great; neither one of them are up to what I’m up to.
(That last bit was more of a joke, but you get the gist.)
Fact is, when a reader drops a message into my inbox for the very first time saying that they’re inspired by my work, I gain a great sense of gratitude and satisfaction from it. But from the conversations I’ve had with others, and from the comments that I’ve read on some of the more popular blogs, I’m clueless as to what people find inspiring in street fashion photography. What I mean to say is, I can understand and appreciate what is good or worthy work, but there seems to be an invisible line that separates good photography from inspiring photography. Case in point: every once in a while (let’s say once every two weeks), I’ll produce a photograph and think to myself, “Wow, this is amazing! I think people will love this.” And I’ll post it to the Lord Ashbury Facebook page with the expectation that lots of people will ‘like’ the photo. And what ends up happening, almost 90% of the time, is that those photos get only 1 or 2 likes. Then I’ll post another photo, one that I’ve deemed to be nothing more than perfectly acceptable, and people will gush over it.
This is all to say that my radar, a year and a half into maintaining this blog, is and continues to be way off when it comes to what people consider transcendent. One of my favourite readers recently suggested that I’m after “something else” when I take photos of fashionable people on the street. I suppose this is correct, and that may have something to do with why my senses are so out of touch with everyone else’s. If that’s the case though, why is my work relevant? Are my readers receiving a message from me that differs from what I am trying to send? Do we speak two different languages? These are things I wouldn’t be concerned about normally, but if some of the great names are deemed as falling back to the middle of the pack, I suppose it’s in my best interest to know why.
And with that, it’s time to start my Friday.