There are two kinds of street photographers in the world — those who wait in one spot for the shot and those who keep walking.
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh associate journalism professor Timothy Gleason is a walker.
“I’m a photojournalist who responds to the scene. Street photography is an interesting way to understand people and places,” Gleason said. “I keep moving, walking back and forth and finding new side streets to explore.”
Last summer, Gleason put on the miles for a UWO Faculty Development research grant that involved photographing pedestrian shopping areas in such cities as Appleton; Madison; and Bowling Green, Ohio.
“The importance of this project is the evolution of street photography within commercial public spaces,” he explained. “These spaces have dwindled because of private shopping areas, such as malls, and the development of shopping centers near highways.”
For the project, Gleason used a higher-end consumer digital camera, not his typical digital single-lens reflex camera, because he wanted to use a quieter, more subtle approach.
He looks for locations that are busy, so the people he takes photos of are acting naturally in the scene, not reacting to his presence. He wants to discover people’s emotions and study whether they appear happy or sad in a particular environment or time in history.
One photo from the project, which depicted a woman carrying a bouquet of flowers and a Rolling Stone handbag featuring Kurt Cobain, appeared in the online photography magazine F-Stop.
This summer, Gleason plans to revisit some of the same locations with his 7-year-old son to see if the images they capture show any change in the way people seem to be feeling. He also plans to experiment more with shooting video of the street scenes.
Worth a thousand words
Samples of Gleason’s work, along with explanations for each photo, follow: