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Welcome to another collaborative street photography project on UPSP. In this article Elza Cohen talks with Darren Rye.

The series of street photos below are based on the idea ‘Home’, and taken in August 2013.

 


Darren Rye

Birmingham, UK

My Website: http://slicedhamm.tumblr.com

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QHi Elza. I don’t really know too much about you, so it might be a bit of a gimmick, but how would you explain yourself in one sentence?

DR

AI do not know how to say it in a sentence, but I can define in a few words: Dreamy, restless, existentialist and obsessed with photography.

EC

Home 01

Untitled by Elza Cohen

QHow, when and why did you first pick up a camera and take photography “seriously”?

DR

AI became interested in photography from an early age through movies that I watched. And then I started photographing music festivals, events and parties with DJs, skaters organized in Rio de Janeiro. But photography “seriously” (professionally) started in 2008 when I moved to São Paulo, cosmopolitan, vibrant and chaotic at the same time it oppresses, fascinates. My restlessness and need to express became even more evident with this change. I bought a camera and HDSLR went to photograph the street everyday, interact and dialogue (I with the city and its complexity). Now photography and I are inseparable, just one thing, it’s my life.

EC

Home 01

Untitled by Elza Cohen

QYou live in Brazil, how do you think Street Photography in Brazil differs from the UK or the US for example? How do people react to being photographed?

DR

AIn my opinion there is not much difference, because the basic principle of street photography is the same everywhere in the world: it is a record of the photographer’s opinion about things, about the world, about spontaneous situations on the street, about portraying a moment pure as it is. I think the only difference is that each place has its different culture, matters, things, situations and different looks to be portrayed. Here in Brazil works well too. What about the reaction of people when they realize they are being photographed, here in Brazil people are very kind and a lot of them love to be photographed. There are people who ask for my email site to see your photo published and share later. I love it when that happens.

EC

Home 01

Untitled by Elza Cohen

QHave you done any “directed” or “themed” work like this before?  How did you find the experience of going out to shoot with a brief or a title in your head?  Did you follow a process at all?

DR

AI’ve done and enjoy doing work to a theme, I like to develop a photographic series on a particular subject, it’s good for developing creativity and deepen the knowledge on the subject. But I like the freedom of being on the street and to click when something arises, unexpectedly, without planning. Several times I’ve left with a title in my head to shoot and come back with something completely different. I do not like to follow rules, my creative process is usually free, life and its narratives.

EC

Home 01

Untitled by Elza Cohen


AOK, boring stuff first: I’m 26, originally from North-West Kent but moved to the Midlands to study for a degree and I’m currently living in Birmingham working in the IT/Technology industry.  My dad got me into photography/cameras in April 2010 by lending me his old DSLR.  But I soon found that you can only really shoot what’s around you, and at the time I was living in a small city centre apartment with my girlfriend.  I quickly got bored of the flowers in the local park, family members’ pets, and my girlfriend soon got bored of me shooting her…  I’m not sure what first started it, but I went on a few photowalks in London and got more and more interested in taking photos of the interactions between people and their surroundings.  I’m still learning about myself and improving, I’ve had a good deal of help and inspiration from some cool photographers, and whilst so many aspects of photography are frustrating, taking pictures is something I find myself more and more obsessed with.

DR

QCan you tell us a little about yourself and where you have come from as a photographer?

EC

Home 01

Untitled by Darren Rye

AThe biggest struggle for me wasn’t working to the brief as such, but finding the time to get out and shoot.  I finally managed to set a weekend aside eventually and I spent all day Saturday and Sunday in Birmingham.  I got a few good images, but nothing I was pleased enough with.  We then agreed to change the brief though and after struggling to find some more shooting time I looked through my images I shot the weekend before and found that many of them which didn’t fit the theme actually worked ok as a series under the new title.  I’ve been trying for some time to put images together which have some meaning as a whole, so whilst I don’t think these are the best images I’ve ever taken, I am pleased with the outcome of the exercise.

DR

QDarren, we both struggled a little with the initial brief that we decided on, can you tell us what was hard for you with the first brief, and what you found challenging about looking for specific photos on the street?

EC

Home 01

Untitled by Darren Rye

AI’ve just started playing with film, I say playing because I still don’t really know what I’m doing or how my images will come out, it’s an exercise in trial and error, but I think that’s part of the appeal, and encourages you to learn from your mistakes.  Before I’d be devastated if an image didn’t come out when I saw it on the LCD but I could shoot another straight away, now I have to think back to what I did, work out why it went wrong, and learn a long-term lesson from it.  I almost feel like I have to work against my digital kit sometimes, whereas with a manual camera it does exactly what you want it to.  It’s great to see the image quality you can get from a £10 camera, a £1 roll of colour film and £2 development at the supermarket.  So much so that I took a couple of point and shoots on holiday with me and shot 15 rolls in week.  I’ll definitely be continuing with film alongside digital, and if anything I expect the proportions to sway further towards film.

DR

QYou were going to shoot film for this project, do you shoot much film and is it something that you plan on doing more of?

EC

Home 01

Untitled by Darren Rye

AI will hang around if I see something developing, but on the whole I keep moving, I’m too impatient to wait by a pretty urban landscape and wait for the right person to walk by, is that to my detriment? I’m not sure.  Equally I don’t have a particular workflow or any set type of image I seek out, I’ll just wander and take a picture if something intrigues or amuses me.  I’m encouraging myself to take more than one frame of each scene though. Moving yourself slightly left, right, up or down can make a huge difference to a composition and the elements included in it. In fact the image of the lady on the phone was one of three I took, and I liked aspects of all three, I guess the challenge is to try to find a composition quickly which includes all of the elements I want.  My approach is to keep learning really.

DR

QAre you a stand and wait type of street shooter Darren, or do you walk a lot and get your shots on the move? Can you tell us a little about your workflow on the street?

EC

Home 01

Untitled by Darren Rye

 

 


Favourite street photos from UPSP

street photography

White Belt by John Goldsmith

This picture gives me the idea of balance in motion. I love the composition and the soft contrast between the white and washed blue almost gray, and a black dot represented by the figure out of the scene causing a slight imbalance. It seems to me that men are practicing exercise-seaside. Meditative. I love it!”

-Elza Cohen

Metro Ligne 6, Paris 2013 by Fabio Costa

Of all the varied images I’ve seen on this site so far, some stand out compositionally, others demonstrate the photographer’s wit with clever colour-play or gestural repetition, others do something different altogether.  Where this image excels is in its emotional power and the fact that the interaction present just begs the viewer to come up with the context.  Public displays of affection between humans are two a penny, which is why so it’s striking to see such an embrace here between a beautiful dog and his owner.  A scruffy train, graffiti visual outside and we’re treated to a man and his best friend sharing a brief, possibly surprising, moment of tenderness.  The viewer gets the feeling that he’s sitting there behind the foreground metal bar, maybe mirroring the other spectator’s pose and questioning gaze.  It’s a great catch by Fabio Costa, it’s exactly what Street Photography is about for me: catching beautiful moments in unexpected situations.  It’s the sort of photograph I’d love to show someone if they ever questioned why I’d shot them. “

-Darren Rye


Coming Next..

Beauty in the City

Manu Mart | Tatsuo Suzuki

 


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Rob Hill

Street photographs are mirror images of society, displaying "unmanipulated" scenes, with usually unaware subjects.

 

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