Experience

Bewildered: The Best Photographs of Streettogs Academy

A group of three thousand of photographers on Facebook are given assignments to shoot streetlife scenes involving designated themes. Bird in Flight presents the best photographs from their group.

(Photo on the cover: Harry Fodor.)

Streettogs Academy is a group on facebook about street photography with more than three thousand members. There is a new theme for shooting every two weeks, such as “Square,” “Fear”,”‘Strong Light,” “Friendship.”. You can shoot whatever you want, the main thing is to follow the theme and sign your name and date. Group moderators Eric Kim and Angelo Gian de Mesa discuss the works and choose the best picture for each assignment.

The group is about to celebrate its first anniversary, and Bird in Flight asked Angelo Gian de Mesa to comment on the best pictures from all assignments and tell us more about the group.


Angelo Gian de Mesa, 28

Photographer and writer from the Philippines. Eric Kim’s Street Photography Blog editor, Streettogs Academy group chief moderator, Asian photography website Reading Photographs editor.

We met blogger Eric Kim in a photography seminar in Manila. He suggested we founded a group on facebook where street photographers could receive assignments. The main thing would be for the group to be educational and friendly to beginners. After a year Streettogs Academy group has more than 3 thousand members.

“Square” was the first theme. There were about 150 participants at the time who uploaded 240 photographs. Eric suggested that the winner came up with the next assignment himself. And I sent him an e-collection of various books and useful publications as a present.

Eric and I do the “editor’s choice.” It is difficult because every participant has their own understanding of the theme. For instance, we got many applications for “gestures” assignment. We had to think about the kinds of gestures in general: are gestures only hand movements or do they include mimics? Some participants filmed animals, as they also have gestures – sometimes the movements of street cats are similar to movements of humans.

The problem of the street photographer is that they don’t have a goal.

The assignment gives you perspective. The problem of the street photographer is that they don’t have a goal. But if there is a theme, they will at least open their eyes to fulfil the designated assignment.

People in the group have very different levels. Most of them are beginner photographers. The group helps them broad their horizons, understand how to focus on their object. What makes me really happy is the big number of women from all over the world (I know only several female street photographers in the Philippines). This provides different points of views – people in Brazil shoot a different way than people in Chili. What makes Streettogs unique are the assignments and the effort to explain what street photography means. I want to see the group working with a context, with a story, say, of a street or a neighborhood, shown through the perception of the photographer.

Assignment No. 1, «Square»
Helio Tomita

Following the theme through and through, Helio made good use of shadows, placing dark to light, and great timing all combined to make this a favorite of ours!

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/editorschoice_01.jpg”, “text”: “”}

Assignment No. 2, «Friendship»
Jomel Bartolome

This was a really difficult decision as the selections were really strong for this assignment but looking back at what Helio wants us to spot is those fleeting moments present on the streets that are happening all the time. I think this encapsulates this feeling of friendship that is fundamental in experiencing life.

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/editorschoice_02.jpg”, “text”: “”}

Assignment No. 3, «Foreigners»
Bertrand Domas

We had a nice mixture of entries ranging from absurdly funny to the subtle and contemplative. There’s just something that makes everything go well in the photo and the innocent look of the girl wraps everything together.

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/editorschoice_03.jpg”, “text”: “”}

Assignment No. 4, «Strong Light»
Florin Ghebosu

Everyone here showed mastery of utilizing the strong light by using shadows, silhouettes, or even artificial light. Inner Alex Webb’s were channeled and I hope everyone learned a thing or two with this one. There’s something great about the simplicity of the image made by Florin here. The placement of the dog inside the goal posts, the dynamic shape of the clouds, and the great black and white tones all lit by the strong power of the sun. Just an overall great image!

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/editorschoice_04.jpg”, “text”: “”}

Assignment No 5, «Fear»
Enamul Kabir Rony

Timing. Much of street photography is about timing and anticipation. The street art and figure of the man is a perfect placement. No wonder it also got the most likes among the group.

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/editorschoice_05.jpg”, “text”: “”}

Assignment No 6, «Directions»
Sam Trachsel

A perfect marriage of interpreting the theme and execution of the image. The placement, the lighting, and how it all applies to the theme – it’s just excellent over all.

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/editorschoice_06.jpg”, “text”: “”}

Assignment No 7, «Opposites»
Kirk Lothian

For sticking to theme, having a dynamic composition with lots of things going on, and working on a tricky format the Editor’s choice for Assignment No. 7 is this picture. It is like a comic strip or a sequence in a painting. I think I would love to see this in print.

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/editorschoice_07.jpg”, “text”: “”}

Assignment No 8, «Space»
Harry Fodor

It gives so many thoughts and metaphors. The circular shape, the placement of the human lying down, the other humans looking at the scene, the water. It speaks of many things and existential questions arise from it. Perfectly relates to our theme and an amazing image.

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/editorschoice_08.jpg”, “text”: “”}

Assignment No 9, «Black and White»
Chilun Leung

Photography has always had black and white. In its history, the use and the make of the strength of black and white has been done by so many but despite that, photographers still choose the use of this method for various reasons. For this assignment, what separated our editor’s choice from the other great selections on the pool is that the photographer’s use of BW was not something usually done and seen. Due to the use of multiple street photography “techniques” and for having a very arresting story in the image, our editor’s choice:

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/editorschoice_09.jpg”, “text”: “”}

Assignment No 10, «Gestures»
Monika Jaśkowska-Bablok

The subject of a photograph can’t really speak to us about what is going through him at that exact moment of capture (except for interviews of course). It is the job of the photographer to photograph the mood, the feeling, and everything non-verbal to an image and as the viewer, we have to piece together through our experiences, prejudices, and common symbolism as to what the photograph is trying to say and even so, you will still have a hard time getting at the absolute truth. Showing a gesture whether facial or through movement will convey the information properly as if the photograph is speaking to you.

{“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/editorschoice_10.jpg”, “text”: “”}


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