Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

:iconmyraincheck: More from myraincheck

Featured in Collections

bpodsf ja 3 sdio 2q by Thiefoworld

journals, news, whatever by TiaVon

Journals News by Ikarisou

More from DeviantArt


Submitted on
July 15, 2013
Submitted with Writer


Statistics are temporarily unavailable



Street Photography is a largely misunderstood and misinterpreted photography genre.

Browsing dA's Street Gallery I'd say that people are under the impression that street photography is photography of:

1 street signs

2 side-walk close-ups

3 love padlocks

4 shoes (All Stars preferably)/photographer's feet

5 graffiti/tags/street art/cool vandalism

6 empty roads

7 cats

8 skaters

9 abandoned buildings/urband decay/trash

10 cool cars

11 cosplayers posing in fairs

12 family in family-trips, friends in cool poses

13 sexy models in subways/women wrestling in swimming suit (don't ask, I don't know)

14 lights bokeh

15 light paintings

So, let's try to kill the most common misunderstandings:
Street photography is not photography of (empty) streets and it is not necessarily a photo taken in a street.
Street photography most definitely is not photography of your All Stars shoes in the street, it is not photography of your cat, or of graffiti or 'street art' (that's another genre of photography), it is not photography of your friends or family on trip.

Let's see some attempts to define street photography:

"The essence of street photography is the impulse to take candid pictures in the stream of everyday life" (from 'Street photography Now').

" For the most part, however, the photographers discussed in these pages have tried to work without being noticed by their subjects. They have taken pictures of people who are going about their business unaware of the photographer's presence. They have made candid pictures of everyday life in the street. That, at its core, is what street photography is" ('Bystander, A History of Street Photography').

Street photography is about HUMANITY, the human presence is a fundamental element of it, the subject - explicit or implicit - of a street photo is always the humanity. The 'Street' is the natural habitat of the human, the natural observatory and theatre of the human behavior.
Street is whatever background or surrounding, not staged, not posed by the photgrapher.
And Street is whatever photography which captures, explores, humanity, the human behaviour, the relationships between individuals, and between individuals and their surroundings.

"The street as it is defined here might be a crowded boulevard or a country lane, a park in the city or a boardwalk at the beach, a lively cafe or a deserted hallway in a tenement, or even a subway car or the lobby of a theater. It is any public place where a photographer could take pictures of subjects who were unknown to him and, whenever possible, unconscious of his presence" ('Bystander, A History of Street Photography').

Should I choose one of the countless definition of Street Photography, I would choose this one: "un-posed, un-staged photography which captures, explores or questions contemporary society and the relationships between individuals and their surroundings" (London Street Photography Festival's definition).

Instant 285 by SUDOR

Mimic by Treamus

let me kiss by arslanalp

Soft by MrMartiniLux

Keystroke by panfoto

Untitled by boyrd

6708 by NunoCanha

A few useful articles on Street Photography's definition:
- Defining street photography (maybe) by David Beckerman…

- Undefining Street Photography by Nick Turpin

- Street Photography Feel the Force by Nick Turpin…

- Street photography by Felix Lupa…

- Roadkill by Gregory Simpson…

- What makes a good photograph? by Sagi Kortler…

Part of PROJECT EDUCATE - Street Photography week
Add a Comment:
JACAC Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2013
boyrd Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013
Excellent, thank you!!
naladraws Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
nice artice ^^
Chookums Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
As someone who isn't a photographer, I found this article useful, informative and it provided a good explanation of what street photography truly is. I love the definition of street photography you ultimately chose, and the images you have featured.
8TwilightAngel8 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Student General Artist
A very good article and definitely an area of photography that needed that clarification on here :nod: I had to do 2 street photography assignments during my 1st year of photography classes in high school, 1 digital and 1 with film.
Our teacher did not give us a definition for the digital one and told us to do what we thought it meant and bring back our 5 "best" shots. After the review, he showed some samples and read out the quote from Bystander. Then he gave us the film assignment to shoot and then choose 3 images that best fit that definition to display in a class photo gala ;P

It was not an easy assignment. :P I was a very timid photographer then and felt nervous about shooting strangers even though i knew i would probably only see them again in my photos. It was interesting and definitely is an area i would like to try again sometime soon. :D

Thanks for the article and the inspiration! :highfive:
CassandraLCanady Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
I'm not even a photographer and found this really interesting. I never know the true definition. Makes me appreciate the art-form more. :)
kjo1993 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist

just kidding xD very informative article c:
damiengorson Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Nice article :)

Street photography is about wandering around hoping for the unexpected moment, for that mimic, that body language which will vanish within a second.  
La-Lavender Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
I agree.
Add a Comment: