This is part of the London Festival of Photography.
Everyone walks through life seeing more and more unfamiliar faces. Whether on the streets or online, we see strangers sharing parts of their lives with us, whether willing or unaware, while we struggle to make eye contact with the people with whom we actually communicate in person.
Burn My Eye is no exception to these trends. In 2011, the candid photography collective started sharing their photographic passions and dreams with a group of people from around the world that, at that point, they only knew online. Now they have come together to form a collective, many meeting each other for the first time at this exhibition.
This collection of images is a tribute to those figures who make their daily lives more interesting, not on internet forums, but in the real world: the people they see when they leave their houses, but seldom speak to—anonymous actors playing roles they themselves are unaware of, becoming a part of a larger story told through the lens of these photographers' roaming cameras.
The festival is delighted to host the first group exhibition of this global outfit, which includes members from countries as diverse as Greece, England, Taiwan and the USA. In its exploration of ways in which our public and private selves come into contact in the modern world, Burn My Eye’s collective body of work fits well within the 2012 festival theme. Street photography is very much about turning a mirror on society, and each photographer provides a unique slice of insight into life in their respective countries.
The exhibition is being hosted by OC LONDON, a group of crime prevention programmes working across the capital:
ONLY CONNECT: the King’s Cross based private members’ club for prisoners, ex-offenders and youth at risk
OC CREATE: the professional arts company producing work inspired and performed by ex-offenders and youth at risk
OC IMPACT: the crime prevention project for London schools and youth centres
These programmes form the OC community and are united by the simple principle that the best people to fight crime are former criminals – whether through peer support in a members’ club, inspiring each other and public audiences through the arts, or reaching young people in schools and colleges.
We see reformed ex-offender members use their experiences of crime and punishment to help the next generation avoid the mistakes they made – giving young people a better future, redeeming their own lost years and making London safer for everyone. Independent research from New Philanthropy Capital shows OC LONDON more than halves the re-offending rate.
The problems of society need a social response: the answer to crime is not more police and more prisons, but more community.
Sometimes snarky, always based in Detroit.
Alexandros lives in Athens, where he was born in '86. He is a computer engineer who started to photograph on a whim while he was finishing his studies. Usually, he finds himself shooting for form instead of subject, accepting candid moments that happen here and now instead of planning his way around the city streets beforehand.
I'm a 38 year old English lawyer on sabbatical. I have recently returned to the UK from a 10 year stint in Japan, where my love for photography was born a couple of years ago. I shoot predominantly in black and white, usually close and often with a flash. My work in Tokyo was fuelled by longing, anger, alienation and a desire to see through the oft worn mask to try to find the person beneath. This was usually a fruitless task, but a fun and stress relieving one.
Regina van der Kloet
To me a photograph is controlled as much by what is left out as by what is shown. By playing with this I try to tell a story that is as much real as it is fantasy, as much obvious as it is obscure. That's easy: Life is crazy, surreal and poetic by itself, all I have to do is take a picture of it to show this to others. The hard part is making it look like that doesn't take any effort. I am a Dutch woman in her thirties, living and working in Amsterdam.
Frédéric Le Mauff
I am a 37 year old French guy living in Lyon, France.
As far I remember, I always enjoy wandering streets for hours.
By a combination of circumstances, I laid a hand on a camera in 2006. Some years later I figured out that it was possible to wander the streets and take pictures. Since then, I am trying to shoot street photography as soon as I have time and opportunity. I have no moral consideration, no mission, no defined project. I’m not documenting anything. I only try to put in images my fascination for strangers and oddness.
I’ve worked as a psychiatrist for the last forty years. 7 years ago I became fascinated by the possibilities of photography, taught myself, and now rarely go anywhere without a camera. My main direction has been candid photography shot in public spaces. I have had my images published in several street photography books. A series of my work was exhibited at the Format Festival, 2011.
I came to be when Ukrainian and Mennonite bloodlines, both having set out from origins near the Black Sea hundreds of years ago, finally crossed paths in mid-70's Winnipeg. Faced with the prospect of raising a family, my parents fled to a village of 500 east of the city where they became wedding photographers and subjected myself and my brother to traumatizing experiments they called "portraiture". It wasn't until the dawn of the new millennium, when mankind was facing its greatest threat of extinction from a virus called Y2K, that I instead caught the photo bug. It's a sickness that I can't shake and it has me wandering in a perpetual dream state around every next corner.
Born in 1983 and raised amongst 40 shades of green, a whimsical purchase of a camera in my early 20's led me to photography. I can't recall ever taking a picture before then and the purchase is unexplainable other then the only thing I was remotely good at in school was art. When I say art I actually mean reproduction with a pencil or pen, unfortunately imagination was never a strong point. Having a very bad memory, pretty much anything beyond a few years is a blur and almost nothing of my childhood can be recalled. Perhaps this unreliability unconsciously drove me to pick up a camera as a means to actively record and attempt to remember those mundane, unexpected and singular moments I happen upon in the everyday. That is, of course, if I remember to do so.
I live on the south coast of England and am interested in the British disposition and how this is displayed in leisure activity. I try not to push an agenda although I seem to be drawn to the psychology of a situation- this often seems to involve a relationship of some sort, either between people or their environment. I enjoy the fun stuff, but it’s the pictures that raise questions or might have different interpretations that really interest me. To me, it’s the business of discovering latent fictional stories in everyday situations.
Justin Vogel is a self taught Street Photographer born, raised, and still alive in New York City. He is a member of the Strange.rs photography collective as well as the newest member of Burn My Eye. He currently administrates the Hardcore Street Photography (HCSP) group on Flickr, which is one of the largest, most active Street Photography forums on the internet. In the real world, he is an unemployed, stay-at-home father, an inveterate punk rocker, and forever dedicated to the use of 35mm color film.
TC Lin was raised mostly in the US but emigrated to Taiwan in 1989. Photography was introduced to him through the family's Polaroid, followed by a Pentax K1000 of his very own. He has studied at Washington & Lee University, Tunghai University, and the New York Film Academy. Though his various occupations, including being a government editor, a cameraman for a Taiwanese TV station, a quality control inspector in a series of Chinese shoe factories, a production assistant for film director Edward Yang, and two years as an infantry soldier in the Taiwanese army, photography has stalked his every move.
Zisis Kardianos, was born in Zakynthos Greece in 1962 and became infatuated with photography in 1982 after discovering the photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson. He studied documentary photography in the Focus School in Athens but considers himself primarily self-taught.
His photos reflect locales visited in Greece and other Mediterranean countries where he feels equally at home and they have been published in Greek and foreign magazines as well as various on-line venues. What he strives to achieve is the making through his photographs of an imaginary world, where even the most prosaic situations can acquire a mysterious nuance and a meaning different from the one that they carry in reality.