Thursday, September 22, 2011

Peter Funch: A Series Of Coincidental Coincidences


Even with the advent of digital photography, good modern street photography is surprisingly hard to come by. There are a handful of photographers today that keep the scene fresh and exciting, with some of them bridging the gap between photography and art to create something new and affecting. Peter Funch belongs to that second group with his photographs of weird and curious coincidental coincidences.


Peter Funch is a photojournalist based in New York City. He got started in photography while he was in school, bringing along his camera as it allowed him to tell stories in a way he was never able to do so before. Working as a photojournalist later on, he was never allowed to manipulate his photos (as is the practice of almost all newspaper groups). Funch however was also interested in conveying scenes that weren't necessarily happening at only one point in time.

In order to make his stories, Funch would set up his camera at busy intersections of the city, often for ten to fifteen days at a time, and taking in the scenes that unfolded before his lens. This allowed him to capture different kinds of everyday events at the same location.


If these images look too good to be coincidental, you're right; Funch manipulated the subjects in his photographs so that they appear to have a common theme to them. The images are from a series called Babel Tales, which is a collection of his photographs "that focus on human relations (Or the lack thereof) in big cities."

Funch takes the photographs back to his studio, assigns them to different categories depending on details that stand out, and then combines these details into one frame. In effect, he takes various small moments and creates one huge event. Thus, you get colorful scenes of balloons in the streets, ladies in red or smokers exhaling all at once. The seemingly staged pictures are comical but intriguing at the same time.


In creating these images, Funch makes scenes that actually never existed, but also reflect real events at different moments in time. You of course get the sense that these are artificial scenes, but at the same time they look somewhat normal as they contain very natural elements. Suddenly, events that are mundane or inherently personal like yawning or talking on your cell phone become shared moments, and even with the knowledge that these scenes aren't real, you somehow feel that they could still be true.

As a photojournalist, it's hard to convey the reality of a scene with just one frame, so Peter Funch has blurred the boundary between pure documentary photography and photo manipulation in order to bring about themes that are surprisingly simple, yet universal.


Check out Peter Funch's images of coincidental coincidences over at his website. His Babel Tales series, which collects these images from 2006 to 2010, can be found here.

21 comments:

Gizmo said...

Interesting photos!

neatfit said...

Interesting photos. Coincidences look fun.

Fang said...

It'd be even better if these weren't staged. Still, great idea!

Generally Disgruntled said...

Yawns are contagious!

D4 said...

I like this. No, I love this, he just waits for it to happen before tying it together. It's that last part, piecing it together the way he does, that makes it special.

poopstm said...

that's realy a special photograph
he make a good job

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Some of them look obviously shopped (the times square ones) while other look like they could be real (umbrellas in the rain). An interesting concept for sure, I think the smoking one is my favorite here.

Dale said...

Haha, what an interesting concept. The yawning one was pretty funny and at first I thought there were all coicedences so I'm glad you explained he manipulated them which is a really cool idea. Nice post
-Dale :)

Kid Shuffle said...

Once again, quite cool. I like the balloons one!

AllenTesch said...

It's just cool to see the mundane of such exciting places.

DWei said...

These are pretty funny but also really creative.

Never would have thought to do something like this myself.

dora said...

great photos!
+follow

Damon said...

good pictures hah
nice post :)

A Heel in Mint said...

That's amazing. He used the design concept of repetition and movement so well in these pictures. Very interesting. :)

Tony Storm said...

to many ballons!

MRanthrope said...

I'm digging this recent street photography theme. That yawning one in the beginning is hilarious/awesome.

Gizmo said...

you should remove pop up ads from your blog..it will draw audience away..

Reilly said...

wow those are nice!

Astaroth said...

wow, talk about the right photographer at the right time...

r.alsharif said...

The yawning and smoking pictures are both awesome coincidences!

Shutterbug said...

These photos are fun and fresh! Love it! :D

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