Jan 19, 2016

The Beauty of Wandering


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Designer and the newest addition to the team, Avi Kommel, has an incredible eye and passion for photography – especially when it takes him to the streets. His ability to capture the unique and unexpected is truly an asset to creating innovative brands for our clients. Don’t be alarmed if you see him wandering about – in fact, go ahead and strike a pose!


Friends conversing at a filling station inadvertently point the fuel nozzle at a bellman with his back turned and hands up. (Photo credit: Rene Maltête)  


A child runs down a foggy London sidewalk away from the yawning maw of a morbid hearse door. (Photo credit: Robert Frank)  


Cigarette smoke replaces an ordinary smoking gentleman’s head with a faceless, cartoon-like cloud. (Photo credit: Jake Michaels)  


Shop owner and dog scratch their backs in unison. (Photo credit: Elliott Erwitt)  

By Avi Kommel, Designer at BrandJuice

The candid serendipity of street photography is magical because it creates stories where there was seemingly nothing there before. However, there is another layer to the magic, and it happens on the other side of the lens.

All the great street photographers have one thing in common. They wander. It is in this wandering that the world around them unfolds like an oyster to expose its pearls.

In an interview with the Tate Museum, legendary street photographer Daido Moriyama explains, “I basically walk quite fast. I like taking snapshots in the movement of both myself and the outside world. When I walk around I probably look like a street dog because after walking around the main roads, I keep wandering around the back streets.”

Aside from this zig zagging swagger of discovery there is an internal shift that happens as well. Your surroundings come into sharper relief and adopt a newness that can be described best by Eric Kim, who curates erickimphotography.com: “In Zen Buddhism they have a similar concept called ‘beginner’s mind’ — that you approach the world like a newborn child, without any ‘knowledge’, ‘theories,’ or ‘ideas’ and certainly no ‘pre-conceived notions.’”

In this state you are purely reacting to your surroundings, and creating from your senses alone. You are not thinking about needing better camera gear, or your job, or paying off loans, or even how you’re going to ask out that cute barista. All of the noise recedes and you come into an indescribable calm and state of flow— a completely different kind of reality and discovery.


 (Photo credit: Elliott Erwitt)  

Most street photographers use the city as their tapestry, people, places and things are constantly in motion with endless opportunity to capture the unexpected. Cultures, postures, accents, lighting, shadows, clothing, interactions, conversations, movement, stasis, murals, stains, etc. It’s when elements like this combine and allow photographs like Elliot Erwitt’s bulldog image above to come to life. Every stranger walking down the street could line up in such a way to become your next subject. Each moment is saturated in possibility.

In Travels with Charley, Steinbeck writes that to journey successfully, it is best to have a destination in mind, but purely as a finishing point. It’s not about being a photographer, or even having a camera in hand, but letting yourself wander towards your destination without urgency, and you’ll find the world will open itself up to you.


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