The thing I have always loved about photography is the power of photographs to convey emotion on a completely different level to that of words, in some ways that is why I always still find it hard to explain to a stranger what I try to do with a camera and what Street Photography is. This difficulty was partly behind my establishing in-public in 2000 as a place to explain Street Photography through collections of images rather than essays. Sometimes while looking at Street images on the web I will be stopped by a picture that just transmits in a single image why Street Photographs are so tough to make and so incomparably rewarding to go home with at the end of the day.
This image by Kay von Aspern taken in Vienna is just such an image for me. It’s dramatic, visually and compositionally, It’s colours and light are beautiful and yet it is sinister, foreboding and psychological. I love the references to religion, time and death, the humour of the word ‘HER’ and the way the characters are divided into different domains by the black cross. The contrast of the black hood below and the ethereal bright halo above. Hermes was the Olympian God of transitions and boundaries!….and I love the ‘glance across the street’ aesthetic of the whole image….and yet none of my attempted description can match the direct power of the image itself to generate feeling in us and that is why I work with a camera rather than a pen.
If you want to understand what Street Photography is about then look hard at great Street Photographs like this one….because all of that above happened in an ordinary Vienna shopping street and was made with inexpensive equipment and no intervention in the scene either physically or digitally.
Kay von Aspern
Thanks to Kay for letting me highlight his recent image, see more of Kay’s work here.