PARIS INTERNATIONAL STREET PHOTO AWARDS
Interview of Argus Paul Estabrook - @arguspaul
Hello Argus, you are the "Street Photographer of the Year" 2022. For this, you won â‚¬1000 and a screening of your work at NPDP photo festival. What do you think about being selected as a winner among hundreds of other photographers?
The recognition for one's work is always nice. As everyone knows, there's no real money or fame in art for most of us. I tend to think most street photographers are doing it because other photographic opportunities are closed elsewhere and we simply shoot for the love of it. So I'm proud to be part of a community that finds joy in authenticity. To have my work highlighted in our circle is a great honor.
Can you tell us about your background and how you became a photographer ?
I've been photographing since high school, and I was introduced to it by my father. As a student, I wanted to be a writer and an artist but some of the teachers I had didn't feel the same. Luckily, other teachers encouraged me to do an independent study and gave me access to the school's darkroom. This allowed me to make a portfolio and with that, I was able to get higher education and now some of the opportunities I've been able to access today. Growing up as a mixed-race Asian in a rural, southern area of the USA, I sometimes felt a sense of not being welcome. But when I started bringing my camera everywhere, I felt like there was a reason for me being around and seeing what I was seeing. It allowed me to be a storyteller.
What about the â€śFare Adjustmentâ€ť series, how did you build this project and what do you plan to do in the future ?
I didn't really plan it. The images themselves were made during a sad time in my life and the work is an expression of that. Ultimately, it's about how I felt emotionally lost, and I used getting lost in Tokyo as a metaphoric setting for the work. I felt like I was haunting the streets and vice versa. When I try to articulate my feelings visually, I create with music in mind. Working on Fare Adjustment was like writing lyrics or maybe a poetic short story.
For future photography, I'll just let that decide what it wants to be. Whenever the shadow of the carrot rope gets too large to ignore and chance beckons me to follow, that's where I'll go and what it form it'll take. Maybe that's why I've found expression in street photography. When you shoot street, you are already there where you need to be.
As the winner of our photo competition, what advice can you give to photographers who want to apply for next year ?
I work in series instead of single images so I would offer not to worry too much about perfection. When working with grouping images together and sequencing, nothing is going to be perfect because it is chance multiplied upon itself. And because we know that, it frees us to take advantage of the nooks and crannies of the limitations that befall our work. That's a really long way of saying find the beauty in what's undeniably there, in what you've made, and share it in the best way it makes sense to your personal sensibilities. Express your logic, share your poetry, and write the song you want. Be true to yourself.
Argus Paul Estabrook (@arguspaul) is a Korean American, lens-based artist working in South Korea and the USA. He use candid moments and chance encounters to share a personal journey that often explores the intersections of identity, race, and politics. Artistically, He consider himself a conceptual streetphotographer that sometimes takes the camera inside to tell private stories.
His work has been awarded by the Magnum Photography Awards, Sony World Photography Awards, LensCulture, BJP, and was exhibited at the Aperture Summer Open: On Freedom. He has also been twice selected as a Critical Mass Top 50 artist by Photolucida. In 2021, He received 1st place in Life Framer's Street Life Award, judged by the iconic Bruce Gilden. In 2022, the Miami Street Photography Festival awarded him 1st place as the International Series Winner. His website : http://www.arguspaul.com/