Garry Winogrand once said: “Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed”. This quote coincide with the original motivation for this visual research. As he says, he is more interested in how the photograph will look than in the people he is photographing. People are primarily visual elements for a picture, and he observes their appearance, gestures, and how they interact with the background and the quality of light. All of this translates into a photograph, which has the peculiar feature of reflecting the author’s perspective. Conscious of the role chance and luck play when being in the field, Paul Kessel says that much of his observation is out of his full awareness.
The photographs deployed in «Candid» are culled from various projects or are random shots representing well the original concept. The location is irrelevant: most are on the street, and some are at a beach setting. A few are devoid of people. All are candid.
Paul Kessel is an American photographer born in New York City, where he has spent most of his life. He had a career in clinical psychology, psychoanalysis and university teaching. Just before his 70th birthday, he began taking photography classes at The International Center of Photography. He developed a strong interest in candid street photography. Now, thirteen years later, he has been in over eighty group exhibitions, has had four solo shows and has won several awards. Most recently he was the winner of the 2020 6th Annual Street Shooting Around the World Exhibition at the Los Angeles Center of Photography for best individual photograph.
He was a competitive amateur golfer for most of his life, and he treats street photography as a sport. Usually, a warm-up period is required, then some momentum is established, and there is a good shot among many forgettable ones. His style has evolved from asking people if he could photograph them on the street, to candid street scenes. Until the pandemic, he rarely missed a day of photographing. That has stopped in recent months, but he partially satisfied his itchy shooting finger by doing a self-portrait project at home. He is eager to be on the street again.