I have great difficulties with so-called "street photography" because, instead of a celebration of the human moment, there is a tendency to feature a sort of freakishness that will bring eyeballs through loudness. to make matters worse, there is an excessive processing to bring out "features" — more so of homeless or drug addicts. I always ask, why not take photos of homeless as Irving Penn would?
averting the eye toward street photography is not perfect, and I glad because today I saw the compelling work of Kosuke Okahara in his project about ex-leprosy patients in China. in his project Vanishing Existence - 2007, he manages to achieve what I can so readily enjoy about the balance of photographing humanity: leaving it as human.
yes, photography is about showing us... and capturing our eye, and imagination towards a frame. to do this, reality may be subverted some, and the photographer controls the impression. a careful balance between glamour, and reality. after all, that is what us humans can demand of a photograph to get our attention.
to me Mr. Okahara achieves it in this series: a possibility of going between the reality of the photographs, the plight of the people he has photographed, and making compelling photography. all the while, we don't have to be battered by the methods used to achieve such photographic presentation.