A street photography exhibition by Whymark Austen
"This exhibition is the gallery companion piece to “Sans Visage,” a street photography zine I published in
July 2021. For me, marrying street photos with punk zine aesthetics was a matchmaker’s dream.
I see street photography as photography’s punk rock and punk, more than any other movement, has
had the greatest influence on my life. Punk culture and street photos eschew the exclusive domain of
celebrity “glamour” and prefer to elevate accessible heroes from the humdrum. Their “stars” or subjects
are often visually plainspoken or, in cases where they are outwardly eccentric, too weird for mainstream
culture’s popular presentation. By sourcing material from the everyday, street photography, like punk,
affirms life through a secular realism that forces us to reflect on moments and people who would
otherwise be buried by modern life’s anonymizing tendencies."
Street photographer Whymark Austen (@whymark.austen) resides in London, Ontario but does a lot of
living elsewhere. Although seasoned as an urban wayfarer, he is a relative newcomer to photography.
Whymark began practising street photography in 2017 after viewing Cheryl Dunn’s 2013 documentary
on New York City street photographers, “Everybody Street.” Since then, his non-formal “education” has
been swift. For this, he credits an array of street photography stalwarts and influences, ranging from
pioneers (Eugène Atget) and groundbreakers (Fred Herzog) to little known legends (Helen Levitt), and
formerly hidden treasures (Vivian Maier). Outside the medium, his approach has also been shaped by
DIY punk ethics, realist painting and literature, and neorealist cinema.