Last week, «Papers Of Thought» contributor and amateur photographer Nepheli Chrysoula took upon herself to capture unique moments of people working at a flea market. Between sales and bargains, fish and meat, Nepheli was able to capture and project real street photography. ”Street photography” is a phrase that is differently conceived by everyone. One could think it is the photographing of streets in general with a specific point of view. Another could think that it is the capturing of moments in a city during the day, presenting the ”city” life. A lot of photographers relate street photography with candid photography -capturing the nature and the expressions of any subject, in its most pristine appearance, while others do not agree with this label. For now, let’s accept street photography as the snapshots of a society, in its most natural form, depicting numerous and different emotions to each viewer.
Q: How did you find yourself at the fish market?
“On Monday, December the 4th, my photography professor decided to take us on a photography hunt, at the fish market in Thessaloniki, near Aristotelous Square. The main focus of this photography expedition was to study the elements of composition and theme in photography. Even though there are numerous different places one could explore downtown Thessaloniki while experimenting with those two topics, there is nothing like compared to the fish market. The environment, the people, the colors… It is truly “one heck of an experience”, hard to compare with others. There is so much to see and so little the human eye can capture in just one glance.”
Q: Why choose the flea market?
“It is an undeniable fact that the flea market is, if not the most, one of the most interesting farmer’s markets in Thessaloniki one could visit. As a photographer, I am interested in what others call unpleasant, to the human eye. In my perspective, those settings are the ones that provide an individual with a treasure of images. What I am seeking when looking into street photography is what we understand as sudden and unpredictable. Being present in such a place with a camera on one’s hand, he/she could only be expected to find some very interesting ideas/ scenes to capture.”
Q: Were the salesman susceptible to being photographed? How was their behavior/attitude towards you?
“Coming from an inexperienced background with street photography, one could say that I was nervous about taking pictures of strangers. For me, there were two questions rising up; the ethicality of my activity. What was ethical and respectful to capture and what was not? Would they disagree with using those pictures for an article? The second question was whether or not I was violating the law, by taking pictures without consent. Interestingly enough that was not the case in this practice. Not only the fishermen were not bothered by my presence, but they responded to my pictures with a glance while approaching me politely and asking me to take more pictures of them instead of their merchandizes.”
Q: Did you notice anything strange or interesting when taking these photographs?
“Photography is an art form that can only work in collaboration with the subject captured in the portrait/ picture. This correlation between the photographer and the idol can sometimes be tricky when it comes to street photography. A photographer must capture the idol’s look or attention in that particular way in order for the audience to distinguish the connection between the two. This relationship can be described as indirect or direct. The idol can either look at the audience/ photographer or have a powerful presence in its surrounding environment. What was remarkable was how the environment played such a massive role in the process of capturing the moment. The relationship between the idols and their surroundings was perfectly harmonized in such way that not even a small dust smidgen seamed out of place. It was simply remarkable!”
Q: What’s the main takeaway from this whole experience?
“Each individual understands its’ surroundings differently, witnessing such a relation distributed into my capability of capturing those moments and telling a story through my idols’ eyes, not mine. Concepts such as street photography which focuses on capturing relations between surroundings and idols, are extremely delicate and need to be treated as feathers on a cloud. They are easy to locate but hard to capture.”