Street photography often does one of two things: either it highlights singular moments and figures, or it illustrates the indistinguishable flow of the masses. Hans Eijkelboom does both by doing neither – he draws out the homogeneity in us all through a stream of individual images.
Eijkelboom’s new exhibition, Street Fusion: Bristol in 2019, knits together individual images of the public by highlighting common characteristics that we might otherwise think of as being unique. Of course, ubiquitous logos like Nike crop up, yet so too do fluorescent hairstyles, billowing transparent raincoats and handheld dogs.
Building on his previous project People of the Twenty-First Century, which saw him photograph pedestrians in cities around the world over the course of 20 years, Street Fusion roots him in Bristol for a much briefer timespan.
Eijkelboom positioned himself in a busy area with high footfall in the city for up to several hours at a time, watching the constant passing of people and drawing out common trends among them all.
Street Fusion has two aims, according to Eijkelboom: “to show a moment from the stream of images that form my world view, and a fleeting snapshot of society in Bristol.” The exhibition features over 750 photographs shot over just 11 days, and marks the first in a new series of work commissioned in and around Bristol by the Martin Parr Foundation. Eijkelboom will also be giving a talk on February 20 about his creative practice and work to date, which will be held at the gallery space.
“If I were an anthropologist, the first photographer I would call upon is Hans Eijkelboom,” says Martin Parr of the work. “Over a long career, he has photographed mainly in the street, observing people and places with the discipline, rigour and engagement that has all the hallmarks of anthropology. In fact, if I were a visitor from another planet looking for information on the nature of city life, I would also engage the services of Eijkelboom.”
Street Fusion: Bristol in 2019 by Hans Eijkelboom runs at the Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol from 22 January – 14 March; martinparrfoundation.org