Photographs and words by Andrew Stark
A few years ago now I described my street photography as little more than the
visual diary of a very long walk…
and with all the tedious uniformity of a corrugated iron roof suspended magically atop the Nullabor Plain – I’m here to tell you, nothings really changed. So who the hell are ya? I hear the madding crowd chant. Well thanks for asking, but there’s really not much to tell … I’m Andrew Stark and I was conceived under a western Sydney flyover during a particularly autumnal month sometime last century. A few years post nappy rash, my dad Hughie from up on the hill at Nambucca bought me a Konica TC, and by reef knotting a blind fold about my peepers he proceeded to spin me three times around before planting a powerful size 11 work boot about my rear nether, forcing me out the front door and on toward a fruitless challenge known to all and sundry these days as street photography … the rest as they say in the classics is history, although funnily enough down at the local courthouse it’s quite often described as ones priors.
I’ve always seen my role as street photographer a little in the guise of a nutty guy wearing a straw boater, chasing butterflies at a leisurely nineteenth century picnic using a long net fixed to a short pole. The pure collecting element of the process is not to be underestimated. That habitual collection of moments; that chase for images with a poetic and understated vein of pathos, so elusive as to hardly warrant more than nonchalant attention in a sane man’s world is a routine that has by now spanned a quarter of a century, helping to give a certain structure to my life. Underpinning all the other facets of me…it is a process which imparts a discipline most valuable; it is a humbling quest … a reason.
I’m a street photographer and yet I am fairly certain I’ve never really had a creative moment – I can’t sing, I can’t draw, I don’t ever really hold much of a conversation; no I’m simply an agoraphobic style drifter, you know a kind of wanderer with a fear of the horizon…. and along this stunted path to nowhere I pause to nab the occasional souvenir.
Counselor … “You need to get on and do something with you’re life”
Stark … “Nah mate, it’s OK, I’m a street photographer.”
My routine is rigid and mind numbingly traditional. I always shoot candid. Using up-rated black & white film, my images fall into a category marked “horrendously understated” and by definition, are of no consequence to the cutting edge of visual discovery. I’m not out there to reveal anything or to get anywhere – and in that alone I am a raging success.
The one thing for which I’m absolutely certain however is that there’s absolutely no point to any of it – street photography is little more than a high tech doodle, and you know for all the huffing and puffing, the coffee table books, the bohemian exhibition openings, the praise, the criticism, the abject tom foolery … taking pic upon pic of the ebb and flow of our urban nothingness is ultimately as barren in its usefulness as a girdle in a fish tank… and yet in saying that, I must concede, I haven’t as yet found anything I’d really rather be doing with my time.
Andrew Stark (2010)