In 2019, long before the coronavirus forced us to new behavior and locked us in for several months, I was frustrated. Frustration is nothing new in my life. But this time the reason was a passion of mine: street photography.
In my country, Switzerland, street photography is not new. Neither is it common, respected or established as an art form . And this in spite of having a tradition of great Swiss photographers such as Thomas Leuthard and René Burri. Both of them have served as an inspiration to many current street photographers around the world including myself.
I often switch between feeling like a ghost and feeling like a criminal.
Street photography is unlike most photographic genres. I often switch between feeling like a ghost and feeling like a criminal. While this may sound amusing, this is a feeling I often get when I am photographing on the streets with good intentions and the ultimate goal to just create my art. Sometimes street photography can be really depressing as well as exhausting. I thought about quitting on more than one occasion.
© Daniel Sigg, Basel 2020
© Manon Joos, Basel 2020
Fortunately the good experiences continue to exceed the bad, and so I kept on going.
But one thing always disturbed me in the back of my head is that the art of street photography is not well established. I personally have no desire to become famous. None of us has this goal. But I would like to make the genre better known in our country. It turns out, I was not the only one who wanted that. For the passion and love to the art form.
“Burning Businessman” © Mark Wyss, Genf 2020
The street photography “online-scene” is very supportive.
The street photography online community is pretty tight, yet surprisingly big and international. But it is also very supportive. For example, I met Sophie Zbinden, Mark Wyss, Daniel Sigg and Manon Joos online and we respected and supported each other from the get go. I instantly loved their work, their point of view as well as their very different styles. It was like a revelation. I struggled and doubted myself on a regular basis but in the end I got myself together and I talked with them, and fortunately they went with it. We decided it is time to create the Switzerland’s very own street photography collective, the swissstreetcollective.
© Sophie Zbinden, Berlin 2020
A few months later we developed the overall concept.
Our goal is to help establish street photography as an art form in Switzerland. Street photography will probably will always stay an ill-defined and broad genre, and maybe that is also part of the allure. But it is about time we make it official, go public and give faces and names to the some of the unknown soldiers of this genre.
Our goal is to help establish street photography as an art form in Switzerland.
Art collectives and groups of all sorts are pretty common in the art world, even in the street photography genre. The curious thing there, is that street photography for most of us, is best executed alone.
We did it anyway and so, in mid of 2020, the swissstreetcollective, was born.
A collective of photographers in an art form preferably executed in solitude.
Bastian Peter, Basel 2020