Curator: Aspa | Words and photos: Erik Witsoe
Even though the streets never change, the element that makes them bristle with life does.
This is what keeps me coming back to this never-ending cinema; what keeps me looking for new scenes to unfold on the stage.
Some of my biggest inspirations come to me by way of film and having spent so much time at the movies as a kid.
Today, my “cinema” is the street and the scenes that unfold become my frames.
I like being a pedestrian.
Walking the streets, getting close to noisy movement and the bustle of the city, while remaining close to travellers and pedestrians going about their day.
I enjoy the sense of belonging even when I don’t. I can feel connection even when I am isolated, letting the street show me the artefacts of its life and soul.
I have no idea what I am looking for yet, or how I will go about it.
I have no script to tell me how it will happen.
Sometimes the scene is immediate and driven by atmosphere like fog, rain or snow.
Other times, it could be harsh light and shadows from a sunrise or a street light emptying onto the pavement.
You never know, but I am looking for it.
Being a pedestrian allows me to move with the motion of the city.
I am familiar with it and can freely navigate it without too much interference.
I also like to blend in and become somewhat invisible, so my work maintains an element of ease.
I like my subject to be natural, not paying too much attention to what I am doing; instead involved in what they are doing, where they are going.
Perhaps lost in the interesting day that awaits them.
Not wanting to draw attention to myself, I tend to move rather quickly in and out of my scene, seldom lingering for more than a few minutes at a time.
Casually chasing light into the source while looking for the shadows that always captivate my mind’s eye.
This way I can collect a variety of shots from different areas along my route while maintaining some anonymity.
I am not afraid to shoot what I see.
I have learned to chase the things that made me look twice, so that by the time I arrive home, I have an SD card full of possibility.
Some frames are immediate and they catch my eye just as they did on the street.
Others I may have shot from the “gut” and they need some time to sit, so that when I look back on them later I may see something again worth pursuing.
You never know, but a large portion of my favorite shots come much later after I originally take them.
Funny how we work, isn’t it?
As I pursue the images from the day, considering the frames that I have shot and the people I have seen, my life cinema continues to unfold.
I am happy that, once again, I have found material to be inspired by.
If my film had a byline, it may be something like “be inspired to inspire”.
This is what drives me to keep finding these little pieces of life. Enjoy your cinema!
Erik’s bio: As an artist, observing life around me has always been an intriguing venture and as a foreigner discovering new life in a faraway place lends new depths to my perspective, allowing me to unearth the often humorous and unseen daily details that make up this everyday cinematic adventure. Born and raised in Seattle, I now explore these new perspectives in Poznan, Poland where I explore the paths of life here that captivate, inspire and challenge my imagination.
Check out curator Aspa’s amazing photography here.