There is a new international photography collective that is gaining notice called OBSERVE. The fourteen charter members come from diverse backgrounds representing Brazil, Canada, England, Ireland, Germany, Greece, Lebanon, Russia, and the USA. While the primary focus of the group is street photography, by definition it is open to new directions as members develop individual projects. As founding member Danielle Houghton says, “In our collective I feel we connect more than just photographically as we had bonded as a group of friends some time ago and the collective evolved from there. I really like the idea of going on a photographic journey with people who I get on well with in addition to admiring their work.” What is fundamental about this group of photographers is their diversity. It is the interaction within that diversity that affords personal growth. Many disciplines of street and candid photography are represented in their work from intimate images of friends and acquaintances to classic B&W documentary. Some members are new to photography, or recently rediscovered it while others have been shooting street photography for decades. Most shoot digital, but some shoot film some or all of the time…some shoot only color and others shoot B&W also.
Future plans for OBSERVE are still in development but since June, the group has launched a website with member galleries, a Facebook page, a Tumblr that is updated regularly and a blog set to launch any day now. There has been discussion about a group exhibition and a presence at a number of annual photography events. Member Chris Farling says, “Trying to bring your work before a public is difficult terrain for an individual, especially if that’s not what you really get off on—better to be in it alongside others.” By nature, street photography demands instinct-like response to an ever-changing world that surrounds us. Honest critique from peers can add greatly to developing those skills. David Horton adds, “We all met in a private critique group and realized that we could be honest and brutal with each other yet still respectful and congenial. We think that is unique.” Education also figures in future plans for the collective.
Members of OBSERVE are committed photographers with involvement in and out of the group. Several members moderate Flickr photo sharing groups, while others are exhibiting at galleries in their native countries and elsewhere. Exhibits are announced on the OBSERVE Facebook page. The group currently engages in curating group “themes” which allow for new or old work to be submitted by members and provide curating experience. The selected photos represent a member’s personal view of theme interpretation and will appear in special galleries. Selections for Tumblr are also a group process with members commenting and voting on each other’s photographs. Their humility is inspiring.
Look forward to inspired imagery and ideas from The OBSERVE international photography collective!
The photographers are: Greg Allikas, Marcelo Argolo, Fadi BouKaram, Larry Cohen, Antonis Damolis, Chris Farling, Simone Fisher, David Horton, Danielle Houghton, Christos Kapatos, Michael May, Jason Reed, Ilya Shtutsa, Tom Young.
I am proud and honored to be part of this group of visionary photographers.