"Flags Flags Flags"
The stark contrast in the symbology of the American Flag and the way people in Dunns photos have posed with it, resignates with me and what I would like to try and acheive.
I really like the flag series, the antihesis of the American Dream using the iconic american flag.
"People Taking Pictures"
"Score Out The Door NY Street"
Interview: Street Photographer Cheryl Dunn On New York, Her Idols And Photography In Flux
"The beauty of street photography is in the very small details."/
Suz Tucker: Hi Cheryl. Your photography is so strongly linked with New York City. What was it about the City that made you want to move there after college, and what sections of New York have meant the most to you?
Cheryl Dunn: I grew up in New Jersey, close to New York. I was a kid during the gnarliest time in New York: Every night on the news, it was all about murders and chaos and the black-outs. Every time I went over the bridge or through a tunnel, I swear my heart would race in fear and excitement. You would drive down the West Side Highway and it would be littered with car carcasses. If you got a flat tire and you had to leave your car, your car would get stripped.
The city was bankrupt, so they had no money to pick up these cars... You would just think "If we break down we’re going to die here". I guess I was drawn to that energy. I didn't know what I wanted to be in life but I knew I had to live there. One thing about this town, it is always in flux. People move here everyday to make their way. It's a hard town; it's a town of hustlers from every walk of life. I go on a trip and come back two weeks later and a building is gone. Something new has popped up. It's a town of reinvention and the speed of change is pretty fast these days. Mixed with the history of what has come before… New York is a constant source of amazement for me. I have lived downtown most of my 31 years here. I live in the East Village now and lived there in the mid '80s so I would say this section really means a lot to me.
Suz Tucker: What is your most vivid memory from the filming of Everybody Street? Was there a photographer whose experiences documenting NYC were particularly relatable to?
Cheryl Dunn: Shooting Bruce Gilden ducking out of the way from getting hit by a woman in the diamond district then all these guys with bottles and cans suddenly came out of nowhere all up in his face. That was pretty memorable. He got very wound up afterward, and went on about what he would have done to those people if this were back in the day when he was more wild. And shooting 16mm of Bruce Davidson on the subway.
Cheryl Dunn: I purposefully wanted to present very distinctly different personalities and working methods because street photography is so much about individual's personalities and want kind of images they make. All the characteristics that are displayed with this group of photographers - the quiet and observed technician, the crazy in your face hustler, the documentarian who spends months with their subjects… Someone who doesn't do this as a practice wouldn't understand the nuances and the diverse approaches, ways of working, personalities…how they really influence the work in very different ways. The beauty of street photography is in the very small details. What detail this photographer would pick out in a broad scene versus what someone else would pick out is so different. Unless you do it, you might not understand that. Someone who does this and searches for it is in tune with those details. I wanted to show the capabilities of a trained eye, perhaps. It's a real thing.
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"Everybody Street" illuminates the lives and work of New York's iconic street photographers and the incomparable city that has inspired them for decades. The documentary pays tribute to the spirit of street photography through a cinematic exploration of New York City, and captures the visceral rush, singular perseverance and at times immediate danger customary to these artists.
Featured PhotographersBruce Davidson, Elliott Erwitt, Jill Freedman, Bruce Gilden, Joel Meyerowitz, Rebecca Lepkoff, Mary Ellen Mark, Jeff Mermelstein, Clayton Patterson, Ricky Powell, Jamel Shabazz, Martha Cooper, and Boogie, with historians Max Kozloff and Luc Sante.
Cheryl Dunn: I'm attracted to real emotion rather than manufactured emotion. I'm drawn to level playing fields. I hate when people think they are better than everyone else: that's not interesting to me. That's not my scene and that's not what draws my eye. I like to point my camera at something that isn't getting attention - I want to find stories in your average person's face or actions.
Cheryl Dunn: The public's reaction to photography changes exponentially every couple of months. What is the trend? What is people's behavior like in front of and behind the camera? It's constantly evolving. One month people are nervous about being slandered on the Internet with images, the next it seems like everyone's looking for a little bit of notoriety and are stoked to have a camera poked in their face. Who knows what new app, way of shooting/sharing images is going to exist in six months. I just try to stay the course and do what I do. I alter my behavior based on people's reaction to me and their relationship with photography so that I can shoot the images I'm trying to get, that's all.
Suz Tucker: What was the turning point in the late '90s that inspired you to focus on a different art form other than photography through filmmaking?
Cheryl Dunn: I love them both and I feel they both inform each other – I still split my time between the two mediums. In this project, they are very equally utilised and the stillness of how I showed the artist's photographs statically, embedded in the often frantic, handheld film camera footage, seems to balance the experience. Very early in my career I did more photography, but when I started to make films myself, I always incorporated the still image, and I think visa versa - my still photographs have always been infused with motion, and actually breaking the frame when I did start to make film was very liberating.