John Goldsmith’s work follows the long tradition of straight photography, but in a contemporary and often theatrical mode. Drawing from the rich history of documentary photography, this project explores the social aspects of people inhabiting the built environment, documenting unstaged moments punctuated with the visual representations of a postmodern psyche.
Using the principles of the photojournalistic style of storytelling, Goldsmith’s photographs examine reality-based perceptions of a medium that manipulates both spatial and temporal dimensions. The photograph is treated as “truth”—produced largely in-camera with adjustments made using digital tools analogous to those in a traditional darkroom. In the spirit of the straight movement, nothing is added, nothing removed.
The series of photographs mounted on King Edward Station explores community and public space in some of the world’s most livable cities, including Vancouver and Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. The works create caricatures of real people in real moments within the modern urban environment, where citizens negotiate manufactured landscapes under the ever-watchful eyes of government, commerce, and an increasingly photography-savvy general public. The line between public and private spaces has become increasingly blurred and, along with it, so has the one between our personal and shared personas.