When the latest email magazine from Lensculture arrived, it was intriguing to see the words, ‘street photography revisited’; the title offered the suggestion of something different or new, but in such a well-established and relatively traditional genre?
Lensculture described the show of Eamonn Doyle as a ‘small but potent exhibition, “End.” which leads the way in the generally excellent section of the program titled “Street Photography Revisited.” Sean O’Hagan adds to the praise, and mentions that Martin Parr described Doyle’s photo book, i , as ‘the best street photo book I have seen in a decade’.
One of the things that makes Doyle’s work so interesting is the usual point of views used when making the images; he is often above head-height or near ground level, offering us a different perspective on street life. This is accompanied by unusual framing, with the images appearing to be formalist in a situation that is anything but formal. The images are also tack-sharp, something that is not always the case with street photography. Doyle appears to be using a wide-angle lens and is up very close to many of his subjects – he must have the knack of looking through people or appearing to be photographing something that is not his intended subject. The unawareness of the subjects of the camera, when they are so close, gives a surreal impression of people walking the busy streets, disconnected from what is happening around them.
ASX eloquently describes the work, ‘Mostly all of the people are seen from above and behind, as if Death is looking over their shoulder. They are portraits in absentia of familiar strangers.’ The idea of ‘death looking over their shoulder’, gives the work a cinematic feel – how could we be looking with this view-point if the subjects were aware of our presence. Perhaps they are actors, performing a role for the camera?
Doyle’s work is refreshing and certainly has inspired me for whenever I next have the opportunity for some street photography.
ASX [website]. EAMONN DOYLE: “i” (2014). Available from: http://www.americansuburbx.com/2014/06/eamonn-doyle-i-2014.html [accessed 25.7.16]
Eamon Doyle [website]. Available from: http://www.eamonndoyle.com [accessed 25.7.16]
Lensculture [website]. Arles 2016 In Review: Street Photography Revisited and More. Available from: https://www.lensculture.com/articles/rencontres-d-arles-arles-2016-in-review-street-photography-revisited-and-more?utm_source=General+List&utm_campaign=2bcf076688-Newsletter-General-7-22-06&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f1724e682d-2bcf076688-89331069#slide-13 [accessed 25.7.16]
Michael Hoppen Gallery [online]. http://www.michaelhoppengallery.com/artists/35-eamonn-doyle/overview/ [accessed 25.7.16]
O’Hagan S (2016). The Guardian [online]. The amazing street photography of Eamonn Doyle (23 July). Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jul/23/eamonn-doyle-street-photographer-dublin-arles-martin-parr [accessed 25.7.16]