Chuck Patch (b. 1952) is an American Master street photographer
and this is incredibly banal, I take photographs because it makes me
1972, while in his early 20s, Chuck Patch was a member of an
ambitious group of young photographers who started a co-op in
Madison, Wisconsin. For the next 14 years he would follow his passion
and dream of a career as a photographer, but wouldn’t have much
1986, he settled into a full-time position as “ the computer
systems guy” at a small museum. Shortly thereafter his son was
born, and that’s when his Leica started collecting dust, only
coming out for the occasional holiday or family gathering.
then in 2004, Chuck Patch joined Flickr in search of “someone,
anyone, who liked small-camera, off-the-cuff, straight shooting.”
He’d recently picked up the camera after a nearly 20 year hiatus,
and was starting to make photographs again.
like-minded photographers he discovered in his search for a home for
his new work were members of a group called Hardcore Street
Photography. Over the years, it would become the largest and most
popular street photography group on Flickr, and Chuck would become
one of the group’s first real discoveries.
of the internet, and sites like Flickr, photographers like Chuck have
started to dig into their archives and share work that not only
merits our attention photographically, but provides us with a new
glimpse into history.
pre-hiatus black and white work from the 1970’s and ‘80s, which
he calls "Old Silver" quickly developed a devoted following
in the group. These photographs oscillate between scenes of street
life and public events, to more personal, casual portraits of friends
and family (see the gallery above).
his return to photography in 2004, and the positive reception his
past work received online, Chuck would use his camera whenever he
could find a few minutes during the day, and began to regularly share
new work with his Flickr followers.
New Orleans [he now lives in a suburb of Baltimore], when I started
taking pictures in earnest again, I had to force myself into a
disciplined routine of going out during “lunch” for at least 20
minutes a day to shoot pictures, but I rarely had more than 40
minutes tops.”His new work from the last decade still primarily
focuses on public spaces and street photography, but now he’s
shooting color, and has an active community of followers on
Flickr which presents itself with new challenges. In the
interests of continuing to push himself photographically, Patch
recently picked up a Mamiya 7 camera to explore working in medium
have this great desire to please my Flickr contacts–my photographic
relationships, so to speak. It certainly isn’t as if I’m
photographing for them–I can’t, no matter how hard I try, seem to
do anything other than what I do and that, by the way, is why I do
not earn my keep as a photographer–but it’s important to me that
I get positive feedback from people I deeply respect.
the best of circumstances, walking and shooting puts me in a kind of
low-grade euphoria, though certainly not always. But getting a good
photograph always makes me happy. I wouldn’t die without doing it,
but it makes me feel better when I do.”