Street photography WSP 4 - (5 of 9) (2016 photos only!)

Photo by Ed Robertson

Curator of this competition: Michael Ernest Sweet

 
 
Michael Ernest Sweet   Michael Ernest Sweet
Michael Ernest Sweet is a Canadian writer, photographer, and HuffPost blogger. And, a poet too! Michael is the author of two street photography books, "The Human Fragment" and "Michael Sweet's Coney Island" both from Brooklyn Arts Press. His instantly recognizable street photography is known for its gritty up-close depictions of humans in their natural habitat. Michael has been awarded two of Canada's highest civilian honours - The Prime Minister's Award and The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal - for significant contributions to education and the arts. Michael Sweet lives in New York City and will be releasing his third book, “Disposable Camera”, in 2016.
Homepage |WSP profil
 
  The Human Fragment by Michael Ernest Sweet – WSP Recommendation
“Like a modern-day Weegee, Michael Ernest Sweet proves conclusively that photography is not quite yet a lost art. Utilizing composition, texture, and depth of field to capture his public and frankly open subjects, his work makes you long for a time when photographers were valued for their style and eye.” – Bruce LaBruce

“Michael Ernest Sweet’s photos are not sweet at all – they are rich and investigative, with a unique voice that speaks of presence, mystery, and selectivity – a highly personal vision.” – Jay Maisel

you can get this book here (click)

First curator's choice
Congratulations Rémy Soubanère!

The Watchdog

The Watchdog The Watchdog
Michael Ernest  Sweet
Michael Ernest Sweet:I LOVE this photograph. Good job, photographer! You've got eyes. This photograph is cinematic and dramatic - and scary too! It conjures memories of Hannibal Lecter and reaches me on a visceral level. The composition is solid - the dog is, obviously, our main focus and yet he is sidelined in the composition. The empty chair takes center stage and makes us wonder what happened to the person that should be there. Or, is the chair waiting for us? Is the viewer being invited into the frame for torture or even murder? The environment is sterile and reminiscent of a morgue or mental asylum. Making a good street photograph devoid of people is no small feat - this photographer has mastered that talent in this frame. Keep shooting, I want to see more.

 
 

 

Second curator's choice
Congratulations Michal Pachniewski!

Untitled

Untitled Untitled
Michael Ernest  Sweet
Michael Ernest Sweet:More and more I am drawn to minimalist street photographs. I think as a New Yorker I appreciate the immense difficulty the environment can impose on this process. Clutter in street photography is a huge issue - a stray cell phone, yellow cab, or over-seized shopping bag has ruined a good many photos. This looks like Europe to me, even without any identifying elements. Hence, the photograph has the ability to tell me a story, to be read even though it is deceivingly simple. The brightly colored gloved hand is the icing on the cake for me in this image. Also, it should be noted that the photographer makes informed and talented use of the edge of the frame in this shot. Anyone can throw negative space into an image, but it takes a certain kind of visual literacy to use it well. Well seen. Show us more!

 
 

 

 

Special Mentions

Congratulations Michal Pachniewski!
Untitled

Untitled
Michael Ernest  Sweet
Michael Ernest Sweet: This photograph reminds me or a more modern and, perhaps, a more creepy homage to William Eggleston. We seem to be lacking an urban setting - perhaps we are in the suburbs - and yet we still get that "street photo" feeling. The frame contains a clear narrative, even if the ending is left to our imagination. The dog provides life to the frame in the absence of people. The objects in the foreground that provide the frame lend the feeling of voyeurism to the photo. Not all is well in suburbia. An empty swing, an abandoned doll, a stray dog ... something went wrong here, they say, and I love it.

 
 

 

Congratulations Stephen Calcutt!
Bus Stop 2

Bus Stop 2
Michael Ernest  Sweet
Michael Ernest Sweet: Abstract street work is gaining ground these days. Yet, the lines of a crosswalk or the geometry of a hydrant or an electric pole is becoming too familiar and even overdone. We need to push beyond these obvious uses of the line, shadow, and negative space. The urban landscape is a wealth of abstract material and those who dig deep will uncover unfamiliar ground and make unique work. Here, this photographer, has stopped to view the street through the defaced plexiglass of a bus stop window. Perhaps a common enough scene, but executed very well in this frame. It's colorful and abstract yet clearly urban and street. The almost square frame adds a little tension as it compacts our view just a little more than we'd normally prefer without granting us the familiar square. Good work, photographer. I think you may well have the beginning of a series here... got get it! And then show me more!

 
 

 

Congratulations Federico Arcangeli!
Untitled

Michael Ernest  Sweet
Michael Ernest Sweet: I've always been fascinated by the way a little blur can detract from the sense of reality in a photograph. This image has a nighttime William Klein vibe going on and it works for me. The photographer clearly has an artistic vision - a message - they want to shout out to the world. How important that is to art. Walking the street and tripping the shutter is not enough anymore. Making an image that captures the mundane of pedestrian life is not needed - we are awash in these images. If this were in focus and lacked the grain it might fall into this category and escape my attention and admiration. Likewise, if these were a little more blurred it would enter another realm altogether and also may not work for me. Here, here the photographer has skillfully taken us beyond sharply focused reality and yet prevented us from slipping into abstraction. This photographer has learned to see and it shows, good work.

 
 

 
Michael Ernest  Sweet
Michael Ernest Sweet: This photograph is clean and well-balanced. The colors are rich, but in a natural way. The people in the back balance with the leg in the foreground with fleshy colors being the only departure from fifty shades of blue. One might call this a straight photograph, documentary even - in some way. Yet, the more one studies the frame the more surreal it becomes. How are the people so far in the background able to stand in the water with such shallow perspective? If the water back there is, indeed, so shallow how is the person in the foreground able to submerge their body so deeply? The photograph asks questions of the viewer - it asks us to ponder things and, in this way, we begin to converse and engage with the image. What more could a photographer ask for, really? Fundamentally, artists ask for our attention and this one has mine.

 
 

 

Congratulations paulo abrantes!
Insight

Insight
Michael Ernest  Sweet
Michael Ernest Sweet: Here, in this image, we roll back time and visit an HCB world. The photograph is monochrome, well-composed, and features people that are complimentary rather than dominating. The buildings and other extraneous elements of the frame lend themselves to the composition and geography of the frame instead of adding clutter. It is a busy photograph, to be sure, but it is busy in all the right ways. The tones are subtle and the grain is reminiscent of analog film. As I said, it could easily be a frame from HCB's contact sheets and I love that about this photo. The photographer is, obviously, attracted to a more traditional, purist vision of our urban life - of street photography, generally. That too is attractive to me. Street photography has become as widely practiced as sex and dancing and, as a result, we've seen everything at least once. Perhaps it is time to return to the very beginning. Perhaps it is time to celebrate the pure and return to "seeing" photographically in a way that is harmonious with traditional aesthetics. If any of that is true, this photographer is set to take center stage in the purist renaissance. Onward!

 
 

 

Winner of the Viewers Choice award
Congratulations Helmut Ph. Kluge!

Competition award Tailor made

Tailor made Tailor made

 
 

 

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