Flickr a Day 233: ‘Squint Eyed At Casa Coffee’

There is raw energy—emotional charge—behind the street photography of Ryan Raz. His style is unmistakably intimate and brazen. Composition often hides, at first glance, something intriguing on closer examination.

Self-titled “Squint Eyed At Casa Coffee” is unremarkable on quick inspection. But there is something about the motion of life—the women in and outside the shop—and the subject’s all-but-closed eyes that is immediate and unpretentious. 

His self-assessment might read to some people as being egotistical or narcissistic, but it is soundly astute:

Shore’s lifeless movie sets soaked in Eggleston’s frenzied dye-transfer palettes, semantics concealed by the slick pictorialism of alternative processing, compassionate yet objective precision striving to reconcile the existential void with the gritty, hard-working poetry of the street—this is the immediate visual surface of my work. It pleases, as it is meant to, upon the very first glance.

But then, just when you are ready to move on to the next image, like the resonant finish of the best vintage claret, the life seething under the surface makes you stop and take notice: the nondescript, indifferent city street comes to life, inspired by the omnipresent, anonymous silhouettes of humans, of ourselves—rushing to work at dawn, catching a smoke after lunch, doggone tired on the way back home in the evening.

Sometimes street photography is too pretty, too cropped, too staged, even when candidly taken. The frankness of Ryan’s work, as expressed in the photo captured with the Samsung NX500 on Aug. 3, 2015, takes the Day. Vitals: f/4, ISO 100, 1/100 sec, 16mm. Living in Toronto, Canada, Ryan joined Flickr 10 years ago this month. Do also investigate his website.

Photo Credit: Ryan Raz