“From Helen Levitt to Garry Winogrand to Philip-Lorca diCorcia, the tradition of New York street photography has attracted the medium’s best and brightest. It takes nerve to join their ranks these days, and Mermelstein has plenty of it. Working in color, he’s made some of the slyest, funniest street pictures of the past twenty-five years….” —Vince Aletti, The New Yorker
To do street photography photographers fall in two camps. Some photographers are actually shy of people – curiously – and so they photograph by keeping the distance, by becoming unobtrusive, by blending with the street scape and taking the photographs fast without being noticed. Others, and many who master the craft fall in this camp, are bold and in your face so they point the camera without hesitation to be obtrusive and blunt. The image is taken then rapidly so it doesn””t become staged, but certainly the subjects are often well aware of shot, even when they don””t have time to respond to the situation and so they are framed without the possibility to affect the picture.
Jeff Mermelstein belongs to this second kind of street photographers, and his work is remarkable and exceptional, painting the humor the happenings and vibrancy of street life in New York City (see other videos here and here). Twirl/Run is his most recent book, by PowerHouse.