Olivier Laurent has worked with photography on both sides of the Atlantic—raised in France, beginning his career in London and continuing at TIME Lightbox in New York. Throughout, Laurent has remained passionate about discovering how great photographs are made, while consistently drawing attention to inspiring projects and groundbreaking work by established masters and new pioneers.
We are honored that Laurent will serve as a member of our jury for the LensCulture Street Photography Awards 2017. Below, he talks about the special qualities of street photography as well as the one question he always asks photographers who he meets--
LC: You have broad and eclectic tastes when it comes to photography—but you’re currently serving on a jury for the LensCulture Street Photography Awards. What’s special about street photography for you? I know you’re always interested in cutting-edge/innovative work—have you seen any street photography lately that falls in that category?
OL: There’s something poetic about street photography. It’s not just about being there, it’s about imagination, it’s about seeing the future, and by that, I mean being able to anticipate where different elements of a photograph—the street, the signs, the people—will align to make the perfect picture. There are a lot of street photographers out there, but the great ones are poets and, like in any other field of photography, there are just a few of them.
In recent years, some have tried to innovate—for example, there was a craze a few years ago for Google Street View photographers. Their projects were interesting, but they can’t replace the magical serendipity of a frame coming into place right in front of a street photographer’s lens. Continue reading.