Street Photography

Corinne Wargnier | Paris

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Hello, Corinne tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into photography?
I’m a self-taught street photographer based in Paris. I’m also a novelist. My first encounter with photography dates back to my childhood. My father had a Leidolf Lordomat 35mm camera that he took everywhere. It was mainly used to photograph the family or holiday landscapes. The camera was omnipresent. It was, in fact, this “object” that initially fascinated me. The way the film was inserted into the camera for example and development of the film. This was all so mysterious to me! Then I gradually became interested in photographers. A documentary on television about the photographer Gilles Caron, who died very young whilst in the field in Cambodia, was certainly very instrumental.

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You are a street photographer. What fascinates you so much capturing life in the streets?
Telling a story, I think. Trying to capture the emotion of and empathy for my subjects, while also composing the shot in a beautiful way. In fact, that’s what I think tends to be the meaning of a street photographer’s work.

Your work is mainly shot in Black & White. Ist there a reason for that?
One of the reasons I shoot in black and white is because it lends a certain timeless quality to the images. I always think in black and white as soon as I prepare to take a picture. Even if the scene I have before me is very colourful, I immediately imagine it in black and white, as if I was a photographer in the past. Another reason is that it helps to emphasise emotion, and gives added depth to the image. I also must confess that I have no talent as far as colour is concerned!

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How important is travelling for you?
For me travelling is initially to discover cultures other than my own, to meet new people in their own environments. Travelling to a new place allows me to observe different things. It’s a great way to broaden my horizons, and fresh sights are a great new source of inspiration: having my eyes open to an unfamiliar world is a fantastic way to get myself out of a creative rut. Shooting street photos in a new city is amazing and provides a wonderful photographic rush.

Paris is a fantastic and constant source of inspiration for street photography. It is difficult to get tired of this city. But it is also necessary to travel to diversify my work. I also get stimulated and awed by what is different and new.

You submitted a body of work you shot in Vietnam. Tell us a little bit about it.
I knew nothing about Vietnam. The little I knew about its culture I gathered from briefly perusing a few books before leaving. So it was difficult to know what to expect. It was a leap into the unknown. I wondered how the Vietnamese would react to me intruding when taking photographs, how I could express my presence just as much as my discretion. And I was very lucky. Each person I met gave me the opportunity to capture a moment of their life, and this trust caused strong emotions to well up in me. I can clearly say that the Vietnamese are a generous and endearing people. I hope that the body of work you see reflects this.

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Did you feel a special inspiration while shooting in Vietnam?
What I felt almost immediately is that Vietnam is a country full of photographic opportunities. I understood that my desire to photograph everyday life in cities and rural areas would lead to discovering and experiencing something beyond simple observation.

You work as a novelist. Do you think that writing has kind of an influence on your photography?Through reflecting on this subject I have often reached the conclusion that the two mediums, writing and photography, are in direct opposition. Photography is a representation of the truth, writing fiction is an invention, a fabrication. At the same time, writing and photography are intimately linked. I don’t write without visualizing the scenes that I describe, and I don’t photograph without aiming to tell a story. They both somehow combine, their influences work both ways.

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Is there a photographer or type of photography that influenced your work or inspired you?
I have always and I continue to visit many exhibitions. I believe that the first influence comes from there, even if it is subconscious. Seeing in detail and taking time to discover the work of other street or documentary photographers is very rewarding. You are immersed and impregnated with feelings from it, making you just want to go out onto the street and pursue your own photographic work.

But if I had to name just one photographer, it would be Henri Cartier-Bresson.

What do you enjoy most about being a photographer?
Certainly, the freedom that I feel when I’m walking in the streets with my camera, without ever looking for anything specific but always observing, hoping that maybe a scene or a face will captivate me.

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A big thank you to Louise Jablonowska for the French-English translation.

Website: https://www.corinnewargnierphoto.com
Instagram : corinne_wargnier

Julie Hrudova | Amsterdam

Hi Julie, thanks a lot for submitting your work. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Hi Nicole, thanks for highlighting my work. I am a self taught photographer, born in Prague and now based in Amsterdam. I work for several media and companies, and also as a photo editor at a TV station. My personal work is mainly candid / street photography.

When did you first become interested in photography? 
I was always interested in images. But it was digital technology that brought me into photography. I started shooting with a mobile phone. The immediate feedback on the screen was important to me - it helped to make the photos I wanted to take.

Lets talk about your submitted project Lonley Planet Tokyo. How did you came up with the idea?
I was in Tokyo for a bit more than a week and I didn't have much of a plan. I just walked around Tokyo and discovered parts of the city by looking for photogenic locations. It was on the second day when I was looking through my photos when I saw this returning theme of isolation. The following days I was mainly focussing on that.

Tokyo is an example for any other urban city of our time. It seems that life of todays society is changing a lot and we might become more and more robots of our daily life. What’s your opinion about it?
Every city has its own dynamic and life. Tokyo has indeed this robot-like atmosphere because it's such a high tech city. It's regulated by precision. For example, the train delays are measured in seconds instead of minutes. The pressure is high, also on people.

A friend of mine from Tokyo told me that Japanese people don't open up easily, even to friends. There is often a kind of distance and isolation and the city reflects this. I wished I've stayed longer to explore this more profoundly. 

Do you have an intention with your project Lonley Planet Tokyo? 
It's a starting point, an exercise to capture an issue of a society through street photography.

What would be the best feedback you could get about it?
The best feedback... good question. Probably when people feel something when they are looking at the photos.

You studied photography and work as a full time photographer. What advice would you give to to someone who wants to start a career in photography?
To find and follow your fascination.

Was there a mistake when you started your career as a photographer? And if so, would you like to share it with our readers? 
Something I learnt is to keep focusing on your strength. And at a certain point refuse assignments that don't fit to you as a photographer or person.

Was there a photographer or type of photography that influenced your work or inspired you?
I remember being very inspired by the book Paris, mon amour with photos from French photographers like Cartier-Bresson and Doisneau. The book triggered my interest into street photography. I also like Vivian Maier, Martin Parr, William Eggleston, Matt Stuart and many more. 

You currently live and work in Amsterdam. Is there any work of a female photographers in Holland you admire?
There is a very active photography scene here! I like a lot the work of Isolde WoudstraSanja MarusicAnoek Steketee and Rineke Dijkstra. 

What are your long time goals and wishes as a photographer?
I'd like to travel more for work and make more long term projects.