Producing or Evoking Myths: Street Photography by Peter McCollough

1x1.trans Producing or Evoking Myths: Street Photography by Peter McCollough

Peter McCollough is a photographer based in Oakland, California. 

Peter: The inspiration for these images is manifold but films would be at the root of it all. While going to school for photojournalism my idealistic intentions of doing something positive for the world through documentary work faded away for various reasons. I was naive. I knew I could excel in the industry, but at personal and artistic costs that made me realize I wasn’t a good fit for it.

I’m a person driven by dream logic and imagination, so it’s more comfortable to try and bend reality towards fiction. When I began using documentary images in edits that felt like fictional stories, I started having fun again. Street photography became a natural segway because it’s so much easier to project onto what you’re photographing. It’s a really free, non-committal genre, less complicated. Editing is a big deal. I’m way more attached to edits than individual images. It’s rare that an individual image moves me the way that a string of well placed images do.

My friend pointed me to a quote that sums up how I’ve always felt about it all:

“The only photojournalistic images that remain interesting are the ones that produce or evoke myths.”
-Torbjørn Rødland

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Streettogs Academy Assignment No. 2

1x1.trans Streettogs Academy Assignment No. 2

I’d like to start by thanking everyone who joined our Streettogs Academy facebook page and giving a congratulations to everyone who participated in our first Assignment and props to Helio Tomita who got our Editor’s choice. We hope you learned something new from that assignment. As promised, our editor’s choice will be the one choosing the theme for our next assignment. Here are some of Helio’s thoughts in selecting our assignment:

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Magnum Photographers Give Advice, Share Personal Challenges, and Talk About Technology

1x1.trans Magnum Photographers Give Advice, Share Personal Challenges, and Talk About Technology

Copyright: Richard Kalvar / Magnum Photos


I recently came upon this superb publication by IdeasTap and Magnum. In this magazine, there are exclusive interviews with 12 Magnum photographers– spanning from advice for young photographers, difficulties in photography, and their thoughts on technology. I included my favorite quotes from the magazine in the feature below, enjoy!

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Before/After: Saigon Travel Street Photography Workshop 2014

1x1.trans Before/After: Saigon Travel Street Photography Workshop 2014

Photo by Ed Comino, shot during my Saigon Street Photography Workshop.

I recently had the pleasure of teaching a week-long travel street photography workshop in Saigon, Vietnam. It was seriously the time of a lifetime— I loved all the time I spent with all the students, and it was inspiring to see how much progress everyone made during the week. I also loved the sense of friendship and community that formed during the workshop— over talking about photography, eating great Vietnamese food, and (very) strong Vietnamese iced coffee.

It is an experience I will never forget— and to see the before/after of the students really brings me a lot of pleasure and happiness as a teacher. Check out their images below, and you can see my upcoming street photography workshops for 2014 and 2015.

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Disregard Critics: Make More Art

1x1.trans Disregard Critics: Make More Art

Garden Grove, Los Angeles 2013

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” ― Andy Warhol

As street photographers, I think we are all artists. We craft our version of reality from fragments from everyday life. We don’t just take photos– we make them.

In my art– I am quite insecure at times. I want to make great photographs– images that awe and inspire my audience. Whenever I upload an image that doesn’t get as many “favorites” or “likes” as other images I wonder to myself, “Perhaps that photograph wasn’t any good?”

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Streettogs Academy 1st Assignment “Square” Results and Analysis

1x1.trans Streettogs Academy 1st Assignment Square Results and Analysis

Before we begin, I’d like to extend my thanks to everyone who participated in the first assignment of Streettogs Academy. We hope you continue to participate in the group and learn a thing or two about street photography I’m trying to see how I can better moderate the group to make it an enjoyable and educational experience for everyone.

So without further adieu, here are some of the best entries and our editor’s choice for our assignment.

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Why Sharpness is Overrated in Street Photography

1x1.trans Why Sharpness is Overrated in Street Photography

Copyright: Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos / SPAIN. Valencia. 1933. Inside the sliding doors of the bullfight arena

Sharpness is over-rated in street photography. Even Henri Cartier-Bresson once said, “Sharpness is a bourgeois concept.”

I remember when I first saw one of HCB’s exhibitions in person in Paris, I was surprised by how soft most of his shots were. And many of his photos were significantly out of focus (thinking about the famous shot of the man in a bullfighter’s ring in Spain (above).

When I stated street photography, I was obsessed with sharpness. This of course, was due to all the nerds on gear forums who showed corner to corner sharpness tests on brick walls. I was suckered into thinking a sharp photo was a good photo.

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Shooting the Streets of Downtown LA in my Introduction to Street Photography Workshop

I recently edited some behind-the-scenes footage that my friend Todd Hatakeyama shot of my Downtown LA Introduction to Street Photography Workshop. We had a ton of fun sharing our passion for street photography, interacting with people on the streets, and giving honest feedback and critique on each others’ work– and I was amazed by the sense of friendship & community that formed during the workshop.

If you want to build your courage in street photography, be re-inspired, and meet other passionate street photographers– check out my upcoming street photography workshops in Tokyo, Melbourne, Stockholm, London, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, and NYC.

Be Cool: The Photography of DAYV MATTT

1x1.trans Be Cool: The Photography of DAYV MATTT

(A.g.’s note: I’ve been a long time fan and follower of DAYV MATTT on tumblr. He is such a great person to interview and is the type of person who tells it like it is! He Straightforward in his answers and in his photography. This was a really fun interview and I hope all of you enjoy. Cheers! All Photos are owned by Dayv Mattt.)

A.G.:You started out in Toronto Photographing the Jungle/DnB Rave scene right? How did you end up in the streets of Seoul, then in Colombo?

DAYV: Shooting DnB raves was a lot of fun because I didn’t really dance, and it was fun documenting the scene. It was a pretty close knit group back then but as the parties got bigger I attended less and less shows. I never thought those pictures would go anywhere…and for the most part, they haven’t. In 2002 a buddy of mine who was living in Seoul called me up and asked me if I wanted to work with him in Seoul. I said yes, and seven days later I was in Korea. Seoul didn’t really have a music scene I gave a rat’s ass about at the time so I started shooting street photography. It just sort of grew on me. In 2012 I moved to Sri Lanka for reasons I don’t really want to get into, but I will be returning to Seoul, then Gwang-ju, this coming July. I’m pretty stoked to shoot in Gwang-ju, which is around three hours south of Seoul.

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