The street through their eyes

By Misch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

In search of unique moments, street photographers stroll through the cities of the world - an art form that shows people in everyday life as they are - unabashedly honest and poetic at once. Two street photographers from Luxembourg tell the Lëtzebuerger Journal what draws them to the streets.

What moments do we take photos of? At the latest since smartphones have made snapshots virtually free and almost everyone has one in their pocket, the question can be answered rather simply with: almost everything. From a quick nature photo during a walk, to an Instagrammable lunch or the sweet look of a pet, to a family portrait framed and hung on the wall – almost every moment invites immortalisation, no matter how big or small. But although almost every moment is photographed today, the movement to which Marc Erpelding and Dirk Mevis belong can seem alienating at first glance. For they photograph precisely what passes most people by almost unnoticed: The streets are their scenery and strangers – mostly without their knowing – their subjects. The two Luxembourgers are street photographers and thus join a long tradition of individual and artistic documentation of everyday life in the streets.

Street photography in its broadest sense is almost as old as photography itself: Only 16 years after Joseph Nicéphore Niépce invented the first camera in 1816, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre took photos of street life in Paris. In this first picture, only the blurred outline of a man having his shoes polished could be seen among the scenery, because of the long exposure time, which was necessary at the time because the technology was still in its infancy, All the other people became invisible due to the enormous motion blur. But the moment when the man had his shoes polished became part of art history. The photo was to be the foundation of a new art movement that is still in constant flux today. Not least because in those almost 200 years, no consensus has been found on what exactly street photography is.

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