For decades, women have been talking about our relative lack of visibility in street photography, and the arts in general. We have always been there, fighting to raise our heads in what has historically been a genre dominated by men, but in recent years, empowered in part by social media, women-only street photography groups and communities have appeared.
Women with the drive and determination to support and encourage other women have begun to provide platforms that recognize our talents, instill confidence, increase our visibility as artists, and give room to consider, Is there such a thing as the female gaze? Do women see the street differently? Do we make photos of different things?
In Two Way Street, Gretchen Grace offers us two very different visions of her city. Two different ways of seeing and shooting. Two different stories. One story is familiar. It is constructed from real moments captured of people on the city’s streets. We are already familiar with nostalgic black-and-white depictions of New York. Gretchen adds her own happy, joyful, and quirky stories to this visual tradition.
The other story shared in these pages is told in color, through which Gretchen reveals abstract pieces of her city and breaks down its vastness and complexity into compelling vignettes. Where the two stories and the two sides of the street merge is in the shared vibrancy with which these images collectively convey life in this amazing city.
The early black-and-white work pays homage to the city as it emerged from an era of grime and grit that had (in our imaginations, and in movies, at least) once characterized it. It tells classic stories of life on the streets.
In her abstractions, Gretchen seeks out color, uses the light, and focuses on details that few people would see as they hurry past. But she pauses, and notices the possibilities in a given moment, and extracts a thing of beauty from the apparent simplicity of her scenes.