Street Cleaner

Street cleaner 2_MPHIX

I’ve been studying the work of famous street photographer Joel Meyerowitz lately, and I’m really taken with his style and sense of colour. This past weekend I was in London and I decided that I would try to apply some of his teachings and stylings to my own work. His enthusiasm and passion for street photography is infectious, and his talent is admirable, mostly because he is self-taught not having been brainwashed by the Magnum school of thought that seems to have indoctrinated the art of street photography and the young Hipster minds that seem believe the word of Cartier-Breson is akin to the word of God.
I love the way that in a 1981 TV interview Meyerowitz indirectly refers to the Magnum Agency as not being ‘serious photography’. That made me smile a lot. Meyerowitz is an extremely canny character with an eye for detail that would beguile even the likes of Cartier-Breson, and many of his own contemporaries. I can only aspire to be as good as him one day, and to exercise as much guts and powers of invisibility as he does.

The above shot then pays homage to two of my favourite street photographers, Meyerowitz and of course Bill Jones, because this shot is sooo Bill Jones! 😉

Love Bess


10 thoughts on “Street Cleaner

  1. Ha! Meyerowitz is my dude, and this is a great shot. People who don’t get street will ask, “Why?” But we’ll tell them for a split second, for just a moment, the man’s rubbish bin matched the cab behind him, his vest evoked the colours of the McDonalds sign, and he contrasted with the other man’s purposeful stride. They’ll shrug and say, “Okay,” but in 10-years’ time, when the cabs look different and styles have changed and robots clean the streets, those same people will stop and say, “Wow.”

    A photographer is the person who knows to say ‘wow’ while it’s still happening.

    “I think about photographs as being full, or empty. You picture something in a frame and it’s got lots of accounting going on in it–stones and buildings and trees and air – but that’s not what fills up a frame. You fill up the frame with feelings, energy, discovery, and risk, and leave room enough for someone else to get in there.”

    “[The small camera] taught me energy and decisiveness and immediacy … The large camera taught me reverence, patience, and meditation.”

    “We all experience it. Those moments when we gasp and say, “Oh, look at that.” Maybe it’s nothing more than the way a shadow glides across a face, but in that split second, when you realize something truly remarkable is happening and disappearing right in front of you, if you can pass a camera before your eye, you’ll tear a piece of time out of the whole, and in a breath, rescue it and give it new meaning.” — Joel Meyerowitz


    1. Damn, that’s a good quote! Gave me goosebumps. Thank you, love for all your insights and support in the development of mine and your craft. I’m so pleased we share the same passion, it gives me reason to keep doing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My father used to be a highways maintenance engineer for Cheshire County Council. Every time we saw one of these bins ( sans sweeper) one of us would say: ” Dad’s round here somewhere.”
    Even today, the sight of these makes me smile.
    Nice photograph.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those bins remind me of the ‘lolly-ice’ sellers of yesteryear. (Maybe they still do that today?) Some used to push their wheeled affairs, others used to have modified bikes (trikes?). Memory fails—Walls, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There used to be a chap, Sammy, that visited my kids’ school everyday with one of these push bike Lolly-ice affairs. Two wheels at the front on which was attached the large ice box full of lollies and ice creams.
        In fact, the lolly ice seller was a feature of school life over here, and at my kids’ school Sammy was part of the furniture.
        Don’t know if it still is. Once kids grow up one tends n not to notice these things as much.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Is BJ the hooded figure to your starboard side as you snapped? Or was that a long-haired damsel of the species … I love the no ‘eye-contact’ aspect of this shot. But contact would have added a whole new interpretation … 🙂


    1. BJ wasn’t with me on this particular shoot unfortunately.
      As you know capturing direct eye-contact is a serendipitatious thing, and it would indeed have made the shot. However, as a slice of everyday life on the streets of Ol’ Smog Town, it holds up well I think. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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