Brett Jefferson Stott On Contemporary London Street Photography Show

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© Damian Chrobak, Selected for Contemporary London Street Photography 2012

The London Festival of Photography features a strong component of street photography and we asked Director and Founder of the Festival, Brett Jefferson Stott about The Contemporary London Street Photography 2012

The Contemporary London Street Photography show is as diverse in style, subject matter and mood as London itself. The visual humour of Richard Baker and Damian Chrobak, the urban unexpected of David Gibson, the found sculpture of Johanna Neurath, and Nils Jorgensen’s richly inventive play of light and dark, order and instinct, all played out with a dog in a car park.

© Richard Baker, Selected for Contemporary London Street Photography 2012

Not forgetting David Gibson’s blurring of image and life.

© David Gibson, Selected for Contemporary London Street Photography 2012

And Paul Treacy’s Black Cat, who represents the essentially felicitous nature of street photography, and why we love it. The magic of the moment, the pictures themselves are signs that life itself has a kind of magic, destiny, providence.

Paul Treacy, Selected for The Contemporary London Street Photography Show 2012. Black cat hanging by its front paw from a window frame in Sydenham, south east London, England, UK.

We asked Director and Founder of the Festival, Brett Jefferson Stott to fill us in on some of the decision-making behind the curation of The Contemporary London Street Photography show.

IMSO: Could you tell us a little about your background and what inspired your interest in Street Photography?

Brett Jefferson Stott: I had previous careers in music and graphic design before photography. Starting a photographic organisation was an accident – I produced an event called Shoot Shoreditch which made it into Time Out and was heard about by Tate Modern who invited us to produce an event with them. This opened huge doors for us and the rest is history. The origins of the organisation are rooted in large-scale interactive photographic events on the streets of London, and therefore street photography was a natural fit when we decided to unify our projects as a festival in 2011.

© Johanna Neurath, Selected for Contemporary London Street Photography 2012

IMSO: What factors did you have in mind when selecting the group of images for this show? For example the balance between people as subjects versus the graphic quality of the image?

Brett Jefferson Stott: My aim was to show a unique view of London seen through the eyes of some of Britain’s top street photographers. The process was quite organic, I had an idea of some of the photographers I was keen to show and also asked a few colleagues to make some suggestions of people I didn’t know. I also tried to show some images by photographers that they might not be known for like Nick Turpin’s gallery project. The original plan was for a floor to ceiling collage of images but technically it didn’t quite work out that way. I was more interested in representing different street photography styles by select photographers than specific image types. I am really happy with the results and the exhibition is officially the largest in the festival.

© Nick Turpin, Selected for Contemporary London Street Photography 2012

IMSO: Any unusual stories behind any of the images?

Brett Jefferson Stott: I’m afraid I dont know of any individual stories, one of the great things about street photography as that often you don’t need to know as the images speak for themselves…

© Mimi Mollica, Selected for Contemporary London Street Photography 2012

IMSO: Could you name one or two elements that make a great Street Photo?

Brett Jefferson Stott: Different images evoke different responses, usually more than one person is involved in choosing images for an exhibition and we don’t always agree on what to choose. Usually images need to require technical integrity, well balanced composition and have an emotional and/or aesthetic quality that relates to the project /subject in question. Often an image will not work on its own and will require a set of 3 or 4 to get the message across.

© Gary Alexander, Selected for Contemporary London Street Photography 2012

IMSO: How is technology such as Smartphone Cameras changing Street Photography?

Brett Jefferson Stott: I am not a fan of phone photography, unless the end result is Facebook…

IMSO: What can Street Photography tell us about our world that other form of photography can’t?

Brett Jefferson Stott: Street photography provides the ultimate mirror to society and helps us celebrate the ordinary as extraordinary.

IMSO: Who are the new stars of Street Photography?

Brett Jefferson Stott: See the International Street Photography Exhibition

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