Posts Tagged 'Street photography'


Bryan looks for UFOs

HALLOWEEN 2013: A Requiem For My Right to Document LAPD

For the past 3-5 years, I’ve documented Hollywood Blvd on Halloween night. The work can be viewed here, here, and here. So of course I’ll be doing the same again this year.

But to help remind the Los Angeles Police Department that I have a right to stand in public space and document police activity without the threat of arrest, or any other kind of interference, I’m finally publishing last year’s videos of their officers doing the following to me:







After watching the following videos, please use twitter to let LAPD know how you feel about their actions.

They can be reached at the following Twitter accounts: @LAPDhq, @911LAPD, @LAPDhollywood, @LAPDHDQTRS and @LAPDChiefBeck

LAPD officer gestures and mumbles not to take pictures:


LAPD officer Kevin Palmer #2204 walks by me, turns around, and stands behind me:

LAPD officers harass and threaten me with arrest while other people without cameras are allowed to move freely. Sergeant Martin #33768 arrives to defend status quo:

LAPD officers intentionally use their hands to block my camera, violating my rights as well as LAPD’s internal policies. Two of  the officers claim they didn’t violate anything:





A couple of LAPD “heroes” power-trip because I wasn’t standing where they wanted me to stand while waiting to cross the street. One of them actually says, “Did you just cross my yellow tape?” Last time I checked, the tape belongs to myself and taxpayers. The mindset of today’s cop (sigh):

LAPD officer #18908 tells me not to take pictures and intentionally uses his flashlight to blind my camera multiple times. Meanwhile, an undercover cop cheap shots me from behind by slamming his body into me. Like a coward, he quietly slithers back into the crowd as though he never committed the crime of battery against me:




Historically speaking, my videos clearly show that LAPD officers weren’t recognizing my rights to freely observe and document police activity. One officer (whom I feel is the most professional officer in Hollywood)  admits that “new officers” just don’t know.

So is LAPD’s tendency to violate my rights a training issue? An officer issue? Or a cultural issue?

Here’s one more from 2012 (which is not the only video from that year showing LAPD harassing me for taking pictures):


Found on Flickr: Kolored

This is another installment in our continuing series where we talk to photographers whose work we’ve appreciated on Flickr.

This week we feature kolored.

Give us your quick bio.
My name is Paul Birman. I’m a full-time visual artist, currently residing in Manhattan with my wife, a cat and two turtles. I was born in Moscow, Russia in ’81, immigrated to Chicago in ’95, and moved to New York City on Halloween ’08.

Smith Magazine does this cool project called the six-word memoir. What’s yours?
Hmm…can’t really think of anything.

You grew up in Moscow. How does that affect your point of view in your work, if at all?
Russian society has this unique nihilistic take on everything. But at the same time, Russians are able to achieve amazing feats. I think it translates into my work in a lot of ways, mostly coming from my subconscious. I’m interested in things that are gritty, dirty, dysfunctional, yet beautiful and inspiring.

I read in the interview you said you got over your trepidation of doing close-up street photography when you moved to New York. What made the difference?
I went to this huge anti-Israel rally in Times Square. The crowd was very intimidating and at times things got pretty violent. I’ve never experienced a demonstration so volatile.  It was very inspiring to be able to capture the emotion and in some cases even hatred. After you stick your camera into the face of someone who is screaming “death to Israel” and waving a Hamas flag, you can pretty much take a photo of anyone.

You seem to take a lot of photos of pretty girls. Is that intentional?
I try to take photos of anyone or anything that I find inspiring or unique. I’ve noticed the trend with pretty girls, but I haven’t been able to explain it. Perhaps it’s just instinctual.

Do you ever get photographer’s block, when the inspiration just isn’t there? What do you do in those times?
Definitely. When that happens, it means that I’ve reached the end of a certain chapter, if you will. It means that I’m ready to explore a different style, take my work into a slightly different direction. Of course I can’t help being a little bummed out for a while, but I know that whatever happens next will be bigger, better, and I get pretty excited since I have no idea what it will be.

Do you remember the first photo you took where you actually felt, “Now, that was good”?
I do.  I took a self-portrait with a little Canon A40 point-and-shoot.  It was the first camera I ever used that had a “manual” setting on it. I took a table light, and pointed it at my face at an angle, so that only a part of my face was exposed.  That was totally an “…oooh, OK, I get it” moment.

How do you know when you’ve taken a good photo?
When I have to change my underwear.

Having lived in New York myself, I would imagine people on the streets can be either blasé or aggressive in the face of a photographer taking their photo. What’s the reaction like?
I try not to leave a lot of time for a reaction. Some street photographers like to get into confrontations; I don’t. I like to get what I need to get and move on. I have techniques to avoid interaction with people.  But I have gotten stares, lectures, smiles, winks, dirty looks and even a couple of bitch-outs. Nothing physically violent yet.

Continue reading ‘Found on Flickr: Kolored’

And the Photo of the Year is…

Photo by discarted

Keeping in line with last year’s resolution to procrastinate more, and seeing that we’re already two days into ’09, I’ve finally mustered up the initiative to post my favorite image of 2008.

During the past year I found myself in the middle of all kinds of unforgettable situations, ranging from the most intense protests to the secret sex room of a transvestite hooker.

I lost friends/subjects that I loved dearly to their alcohol and drug addictions, while others decided to move away in order to escape the grind of Hollywood, leaving me hollowed out, deflated, and questioning my intentions. For weeks I would go without shooting anything, asking myself if what I was doing was serving any kind of purpose.

But as the weeks passed and the dust settled on my camera, that indescribable thing inside of every passionate photographer crept quietly back and I found myself with old friends, photographing them again, as if no time had passed. 

For the most part, I consider myself a documentary photographer rather than a street photographer. It’s something I’m quite proud of, and hold the material up to a much higher standard than the street work I have done. 

Now I do realize my documentary subjects’ photos are on my website and flickr, but they are meant to hang in a gallery somewhere and they definitely deserve better than some blog posting, proclaiming they’re my favorite image of ’08. So that is why I chose a “street” shot for my favorite image of the year.

It’s an image, as well as a moment, that has been ingrained in my mind and will remain for many more new years to come.

As for my new year’s resolution, I’ve chosen the path of most resolutionaries and have decided to trim the fat.

But not from me…from my flickr account.

Within the past week, the image tally has been reduced from 1036 to 754.

POTW: The Egyptian

Photo by discarted

I will happily admit that I am not any kind of expert when it comes to dissecting what makes a good image. I am completely self-taught in regards to photography and read very little about the subject, so I lack any type of historical knowledge or grasp on photographic theories. Either I innately like an image or I don’t.

To kick off the Picture of the Week (POTW) and to force myself to start thinking more critically about my images, and others as well, I chose this photo for a few reasons:

1. The composition is good — I think. The lines and the paint along the pavement lead you right to the man’s face. His face and body are in perfect focus while the background has a slight blur, forcing you to concentrate on him.

2. The exposure and focus are dead-on, with his face landing in the the center of the gradation scale from light to dark.

3. The man, who is Egyptian, is a captivating subject. His glance, along with the cigarette and his clothing and bracelet, just pull you in. Looking at the image for the first time, I feel as though we are crossing paths once again, establishing a brief connection between strangers. It also seems like he knows something that I don’t.

Comments and critiques are welcomed. Especially from the photo editors.

A Sticky Situation in Coney Island

A diver jumps off the pier at Coney Island
Photo by Simon Lund

From an interesting article in the Village Voice, commercial photographer Simon Lund was taking photos in Coney Island over Memorial Day weekend when he was forced to give up his film.

It all started when he unknowingly (if at all) took a photo of a woman’s young son. She became angry and demanded he erase the picture. (Which makes me think the kid was in the witness protection program, but that’s neither here nor there.) Lund explained he couldn’t because he was shooting film, so she involved the cops, who intimidated Lund into handing over his film.

Lund knew he wasn’t in the wrong, and it’s easy to say now, “Why didn’t he just walk away?!” But when a woman and her irate family are yelling at you and you’re surrounded by a group of NYPD — one of which says, “You’ve got to give up your film, or things are going to get much worse for you” — you might not be thinking crystal clearly.

In the article, Christopher Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union, says: “Police officers are not allowed to look at images without consent of the photographer, and they have no authority to order someone to let them look at their pictures or to confiscate their film.”

If only Lund could have reminded them of that.

To give Deputy Inspector Robert Johnson and the 60th Precinct (which oversees Coney Island) your thoughts, call 718-946-3311.

Article via Village Voice.

See some of Simon Lund’s Coney Island photos here.

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