Dirty Harrry

It’s one of those moments again, which I always enjoy, when something comes along that makes me question everything I’m doing.

I’ve been aware for a while that my work needed more grunge – that it had a tendency to be over-thought, too precise, too composed and overly formal…too digital-looking even. So it’s probably no surprise that I found myself astonished once again by the work of Dirty Harrry

dirtyHarrryShot

His shots are so varied but always exert a strange power. They are by turns surreal, beguiling, fascinating, downright weird, beautiful, in your face, in someone else’s face, shocking, impossible to fathom, funny and sad. There is grunge and chaos and humanity and layer upon layer everywhere you look. This is real hardcore street photography.

Some of the photos made with multiple flash shots exposed onto a single frame are astonishing.

Right now I’m left wondering how to move forward with my own photography. It may be a bit tough to suddenly find myself wondering if I’ve ever taken a truly worthwhile shot… but this is how we improve and it can only be a good thing.

A quick note: I’m not sure if I feel comfortable about the use of flash in street photography, especially when it’s aimed at old ladies in the dark. It’s not just the invasion of personal space, it’s the fact that the flash is often used to create grotesques, with many photographers trying to maximise the harsh angles and shadows by holding the flash under people’s faces. Sure, flash has a long tradition, as does getting into people’s faces (Bruce Gilden being the obvious example) but I prefer the notion that the street photographer is more subtle and less disturbing of the subjects. Dirty Harrry however has many more strings to his bow and the quality of his work is beyond question.

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