September 14, 2020
IN CONVERSATION WITH PAUL KESSEL
Photography by Paul Kessel
Interview by Melanie Meggs
Paul Kessel is a street photographer from New York City where he was born and has lived most of his life. With a previous career in clinical psychology, psychoanalysis and university teaching, Paul started his photography journey just before his 70th birthday, enrolling into photography classes at The International Center of Photography. Over the course of his studies he developed a strong interest in candid street photography. Now thirteen years later, Paul has been in over eighty group exhibitions, has had four solo shows, has won a number of awards and has had his work published.
Paul's style has evolved from asking people to photograph them, to candid portraits, to candid street scenes. He once was a competitive amateur golfer and he treats street photography as a sport, comparing the similarity to playing golf. "Usually a warm-up period is required, then some momentum is established, and there is a good shot among many forgettable ones."
Until the pandemic, Paul rarely missed a day of photographing. That has essentially stopped in recent months. He has partially satisfied his itchy shooting finger by doing a self-portrait project at home. But he is very eager to get back out shooting on the streets again.
Paul shares with us his photography series 'Hauptbahnhof', about the main train station in Frankfurt, Germany which is a major hub for travel in Europe. It is a place that Paul has spent a lot of time there and some of that time was personally meaningful to him. All his photographs are candid, each telling a story, isolating his subject among layers of commotion of the main train station.