Photography, mainly focusing on British street photographers such as Nick Turpin have created a playful and distinct approach to life at street level. For Turpin street photography is a calling. He has discussed, that for him, there is something about working in a public space that suits his approach and allows him to disconnect with the subjects who are occasionally only a fleeting breath in his final piece.
In a similar respect, many of the documentary photographers that will be showcased during the festival only have a moment to capture the ever slippery decisive moment. For some of these photographers, such as Steve Bloom, it is because of the dangers of the situation they are working in. Bloom’s series covers work from mid 1970s apartheid South Africa a tragic and turbulent time in the region. Even though Bloom’s work is documentary in nature, his collection is complimentary to the street photography ethos of the festival. This is also true of the subliminal Gaddafi archives that will be on display from 21 – 29 June. While distinctly documenting a historically important time in Libya, this collection ads among many things, a depth to the festivals other contributors and displays. There is an urgency in documentary photography to capture the moment when a girl covered in napalm rushes past as much as there is an urgency to capture a kissing couple walking through the streets of Paris. Street photography and documentary photography both share this urgency despite a variety of differences respectfully.
Asking a photographer to explain the difference between documentary photography and street photography may be a particularly exasperating topic to discuss and not one that may produce a concrete or satisfying answer. There is luckily a great deal of room for examination of these topics and that is at the heart of this years London Festival of Photography. Keep up to date about the festival on Artlyst and head over to the London Festival of Photography website for details on how to purchase tickets for any of the masterclasses on offer this year along with specifics about the exhibitions and events coming up soon. Words by: Portia Pettersen