Jim Lustenader is an emerging artist who specializes in black-and-white street photography. He is one of 45 photographers from around the country whose work has been juried into this year’s Camera USA Competition and Exhibition on view now through August 23 at The von Liebig Art Center.
Street photography is a type of documentary photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places such as streets, parks, beaches, malls, political conventions and other settings. The style has been made famous by some of the best known photographers of our time including Eugène Atget, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Garry Winogrand and Martin Parr, although it has not always achieved the recognition it deserves.
“I love capturing the subtle elements of the human condition,” notes Lustenader in explaining his affinity for street photography. “As a scene unfolds, I look for ‘the clickpoint,’ the almost-visceral moment that reflects the poetry, irony, sadness or in everyday life.”
While spontaneous, Lustenader’s images nevertheless result from careful observation and an open mind ready to capture whatever crosses his viewfinder. In the latter regard, Lustenader acknowledges that he loves walking out the door camera in hand with no preconceived notion of what he will find or shoot.
“My work is candid, intuitive and spontaneous; no shots are posed, staged or altered in post-production,” elaborates the photographer. “What you see is what I saw and felt when I pressed the shutter release.” In fact, that’s a requirement for an image to be considered street photography. It must be unplanned, unscripted and completely un-choreographed. Of course, that often requires Lustenader to invade his subjects’ privacy, becoming something of a voyeur behind the lens.
The image Lustenader submitted for Camera USA 2013 is titled Sunshine. He took it in Greenwich Village in 2011. “The thin light of an early spring afternoon and the cartoon suns on the windows of a shuttered business that seem to mock the downcast figure convey the loneliness that often invades this very singular location,” Jim says of his image.
If Lustenader’s name is familiar, it’s because he was featured in January of 2012 by In One Instant Gallery of Photography in the downtown Fort Myers River District in a solo show that coincided with the release of an 80-page tome called Paris in a Second, in which Jim shared an intimate look at Parisians and the cafes, bistros, parks, quays and sidewalks they infuse with their own unique joie de vivre. Jim also participated in a panel discussion on “The Art of Seeing: Contemporary Photography and Developing Trends in Collecting” that was presented by International Fine Art Expositions at the Art Naples Contemporary Art Fair on February 28, 2012.
“I invite viewers to seek out a narrative thread that lends perspective to how people interact with each other and their surroundings – how light, shadow, gesture and motion combine to convey a mood and tell a story,” Lustenader adds.
Camera USA 2013 is on view now through August 23 in the Frederick O. Watson Gallery at The von Liebig Art Center in Naples. For more information, please call 239-262-6517 or visit www.NaplesArt.org.