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Is Street Photography a snapshot?

Mon Jul 8, 2013, 4:33 AM
If you like what you read, please :+favlove: this article so it reaches more deviants


Duh, of course not. Well, sometimes (ok, often) a great street photo is a matter of luck. Sometimes it just happens to be in the right place in the right moment and notice it.
But often a good street photo is the outcome of a wise direction work. Which doesn't mean staging or posing elements, but playing with unaware 'actors' in a candid setting. Street photos are a matter of spirit of observation, capacity of anticipating and visualizing happenings.
Sometimes a street photographer is able to take the photo he had in mind. But street photography is unpredictable and erratic and requires a lot of flexibility and readiness from the photographer, that might have to react fast to situations not to miss a good, unplanned and not foreseen moment.
The decisive moment is more important than composition, in street photography, but let's not forget that a decisive moment plus a good composition can make all the difference.

"At a time when staged narratives and rendered images are popular, I am excited by the fact that life itself offers situations far more strange and beautiful than anything I could set up"(Melanie Einzig).


Composition and technique help the photographer making the viewer understand what captured his eye and what made him take a photo.
Composing means selecting the elements to include in the frame and organizing them visually.
Depth of field, composition rules, technique solutions, expressive capacity, personal sensitivity and artisitic vibes are what make a good (street) photo.
The rules of composition for street photography are the same as in photography in general (rule of thirds, leading lines, balancing elements, diagonals, symmetry, patterns, framing, paying attention at not cutting limbs, avoiding accidental overlapping of elements or disturbing elements, etc.).
The research of a neat form and a good composition should always lead our hand. In street photography there is not a neat separation between form and content. The two concepts are complementary.

"Technical virtuosity, original composition, and compelling content are all essential, even if they do not necessarily guarantee a great street photograph" (from Street Photography Now).

"I do not think I can change the world with my photographs, but I do firmly believe that a bad picture can make it worse" (Ferdinando Scianna).

And finally, from the missal of street photography:

"To take photographs means to recognize - simultaneously and within a fraction of a second - both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one's head, one's eye and one's heart on the same axis". (Henri Cartier-Bresson)

7 street photos from the past week:

Coloured street by mariomencacci

Magic mirror by mariomencacci


School by myoung4828

Gliwice by adamus-hubert

slice by arslanalp

Lines Beauty by MARX77

Add a Comment:
stringoiu Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
It's always a pleasure read your articles. :)
straightfromcamera Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013  Professional Photographer
Street photography is a snapshot, for sure.  It's a snapshot of history, and that should not be seen as a derogatory comment..  A photographer who sees it that way is far too full of themselves.
PatrickMonnier Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013
Excellent, thank you!!
mariomencacci Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013
congratulations for the article, really interesting, and thank you for choosing also my photos, I'm really happy to find here two of my shots :)
JACAC Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013
w e l l ... o k . i . t h i n k . m o s t . o f . t h e m . a r e ...
g r e a t . c h o i c e
i . l i k e . t o . r e a d . y o u . Mary
e-l-a-n-i Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013
thank you Mary, I always enjoy reading your articles! :)
empjhai Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2013
Love the photos
Nattygrego Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you Mary for sharing such interesting thoughts !
Andaelentari Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
kalophtalmos Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013
Look I found interesting opportunity
fuxs Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Very nice, Mary!!
DougNZ Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013
Beautifully written, lots to think about there and great selection of photos to go with it, thanks Mary :D
NunoFigueira Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013
:thumbsup: always presents us with excellent reading
Ikarisou Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013
Your journals are always an inspiration, thanks so much for taking the time to put them together! :heart:
ZiaulKareem Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Great feature! Thanks a lot Mary! :)
PEN-at-Work Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013
I love those photos, and better, I had not seen most of them. Well written too. (I'd expect nothing less)
Vermontster Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
YES! :)
Resafandrab Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love street photography, and these are great examples!
Manlarr Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013   Photographer
I agree with everything you said and thank you for helping people like myself that are interested in but not that proficient with street photography. However I think that Scianna may have underestimated the power of photographs to change the world. Robert Capa and Gerda Taro died while demonstrating the world how ugly war is. There are many other I didn't mention. Street photography, much like war photography, can make valid points to our lives.
I enjoy your wonderful work and it makes me want to get much better in this style of art. Thank you so much for sharing with DA and myself the amazing work you can do.
MirabellaStefano Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013
Brava Maria!!!! :-)
arslanalp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
helpful,well organized.
Batsceba Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013   Photographer
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