To say that the global coronavirus pandemic has changed the face of street photography would be an egregious understatement. I have had conversations with many people within the photography community at large, both on social media and people I know personally, and the general consensus is that folks don’t seem love the unintended and unwelcome transformation our new reality has imposed upon our subject matter.
Sure, it’s possible to work face masks into the overall story, especially if you’re doing some sort of essay or multi-image project, but really. It’s a lot of pictures of people wearing masks. Eduardo argues that he personally sees no value in shooting candid photos of masked humans, as the mask renders them similarly to mannequins. It’s difficult to capture facial expressions and emotions of candid subjects when those faces are hidden behind masks and sunglasses. A penultimate optimist might find creative inspiration in such limitations but I’ll be honest that I don’t.
Additionally, I’m still unwilling to drive into Los Angeles to do any photography given the current infection rate in LA County. So what to do?
Last month’s assignment started to touch on the New Order here with the theme of Unhuman Subjects. We carry this concept forward with this month’s theme:
Finding Magic in the Mundane.
As I’ve been moving away from shooting candid photos of masked people, I have found myself turning the camera away from subjects that would normally attract my eye, and I’m instead focusing on really interesting light, or objects that are organized in a way that express interesting conceptual relationships, provide a visual depth playing with tonalities, or that tell a story based on their impact on conventional forms and ideas. I’ll be posting some of my own examples as the month progresses.
Anthony Epes wrote a really terrific article about this on the PetaPixel website a couple of years ago and really outlines what I’m getting at here. I want you to go and check out that article. It provides example images and sets the tone for this theme and approach with good clarity.
The rules are different on this one. Any submitted images must be made in the month of January 2021 in order to qualify. Street photographs will have a higher chance of winning but we won’t rule out images shot off the streets. In the past we’ve allowed for reaching back into the archives for submissions, but this one is focused on inspiring creativity during the pandemic. We’ll be looking at the EXIF data in your images, so if you have your image editor software configured to strip the EXIF data on export, be sure to disable that.
Good luck! I look forward to seeing what you come up with, Finding Magic in the Mundane.
Per usual, simply add your photos into the Assignments & Challenges Group (https://go.ambulant.photo/groups/assignments/) between now and February 1st to enter. Don’t worry about adding your images to the Album you will see there; I’ll add them all to the album as they go up.