Interview: Paul Birman on Street Photography
by Daniel Haim
An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves while Paul Birman assures that the year that has passed will remain reminiscent. Like they say “a good snapshot stops a moment from running away.”
Certainly Birman is the definition of a brilliant photographer. The power in each of his shots might overwhelm some, simply because it is not just photography, it is art. Paul manages to combine the art in photography something other photographers strive to accomplish.
Paul is the man behind KOLORED (something we will highlight in the approaching months) but for now we are to share with you a set off Paul’s latest project which he titles THE RED STREET. “The Red Street” began in the early months of 2009 and for the year’s accomplishment Paul has exclusively picked out among the large choices a set of twelve photos which represent each of the months of 2009. This resulted in a beautiful and fascinating captures for you to adore.
Paul Birman, in his own words.
“Once, when I was almost 9, my mom and I were walking down a Moscow street, as we often did. We were having an argument. All of a sudden, this man stopped us and said that he took a photo of us. It’s not the first time that’s ever happened, since it was common practice for photographers to take photos of random people on the street and try to sell them. But we were curious. This guy took a photo of us arguing, when does that ever happen? He said to come back to that exact spot in 3 days and he would have prints available for us to buy. We came back to find what has since become one of my favorite childhood photos.
I started street shooting when I lived in Chicago, but I mostly shot from the hip or used other methods to go unnoticed. Once I moved to New York at the end of 2008, I broke through that barrier of awkwardness and found comfort in photographing strangers, I was able to get closer both physically and emotionally. 2009 has been a monumental year for my photography, I have found much needed inspiration on the streets of New York.
My photography is always changing and growing in all kinds of different directions. I hope that the red street will follow suit.”