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PE: JUST BECAUSE YOU SHOT IT IN THE STREET IT DOESN'T MAKE IT "STREET PHOTOGRAPHY"


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
dbeckerman.wordpress.com/2009/…

- Undefining Street Photography by Nick Turpin
nickturpin.com/hello-world/

- Street Photography Feel the Force by Nick Turpin
nickturpin.com/street-photogra…

- Street photography by Felix Lupa
felixlu.deviantart.com/journal…

- Roadkill by Gregory Simpson
www.ultrasomething.com/photogr…

- What makes a good photograph? by Sagi Kortler
sagikphotography.wordpress.com…



Part of PROJECT EDUCATE - Street Photography week
Add a Comment:
 
:iconjacac:
JACAC Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2013
=)=)
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:iconboyrd:
boyrd Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2013
Excellent, thank you!!
Reply
:iconnaladraws:
naladraws Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
nice artice ^^
Reply
:iconchookums:
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.
Reply
:icon8twilightangel8:
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:
Reply
:iconcassandracanadyart:
CassandraCanadyArt 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. :)
Reply
:iconkjo1993:
kjo1993 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
BUT CATS! D:


just kidding xD very informative article c:
Reply
:icondamiengorson:
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.  
Reply
:iconla-lavender:
La-Lavender Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
I agree.
Reply
:icon0illecebra0:
0illecebra0 Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
This is a really good article! I think that street photography is one of the most interesting categories, but something has always kept me from trying it out: 

Dont you need the permission of the people you took a photo of to put it up here? 

Id feel really weird running after someone shouting "Excuse me, I took a photograph of you, may I upload it to the internet?" :worry:
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
Yes well, running after people with a release form IS weird, much weirder than just taking a photo :D
In most of the countries it is allowed to take photos in public places and it is allowed to publish them without the consent of the subject if the photo is not offensive or detrimental of the individual's dignity. Exceptions are children (you need a release form) and commercial use of photos. 
Most of the street photos are about scenes that happen in public places. Many times the persons captured are part of a scene and not the exclusive subject of the image. It would be impossible and absurd asking the consent to every person present in a scene.
Street photography is a form of art and the photographer has the right to exercise his artistic freedom while safeguarding an individual's dignity. Street photography is also a way to document life at a certain time, it is part of the public memory and it is a window on our time and life style.
Certainly photographing without the subject's knowledge is a source of potential ethical conflicts. On the other hand, the absence of consent does not imply an unethical behavior or privacy's violation from the street photographer.
Reply
:iconi-moosker:
i-Moosker Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I never knew I wanted to know this, thanks for your fantastic explanation.
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
thank you for reading!
Reply
:icontspeecestudios:
tspeecestudios Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
I feel so much more educated now!  I always knew "artsy" and Instagrammed shots of overpriced sneakers were wrong, I just didn't know why. :)
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
:lmao:
Reply
:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013   General Artist
:la: Awesome! 
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
thank you for reading!
Reply
:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013   General Artist
:heart:
Reply
:iconganjamira:
Ganjamira Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Im not a photographer, but as a fan of Streetart Im deeply thankfull you put out this important issues! :heart:
One more Converse-Chuck on a sidewalk and my head explodes...
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
:lmao: 
you tell me!
Reply
:iconganjamira:
Ganjamira Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
=D
Reply
:iconmariomencacci:
mariomencacci Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
Interesting journal, thank you!
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
:glomp:
Reply
:iconarslanalp:
arslanalp Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
it is also necessary to read the comments, very helpful

Thank you Mary
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
thank you for all your support Alphan! I do appreciate it :heart:
Reply
:iconsun-lily:
sun-lily Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Hobbyist
Finally I understand, might give it shot.
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
thank you for reading!
Reply
:icondarvia123:
Darvia123 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Great article with perfect complementary photos. So glad I watched this group!
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
thank you for reading :heart:
Reply
:iconninina-nini:
Ninina-nini Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
So well written! Thank you.
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
thank you for reading!
Reply
:iconpatrickmonnier:
PatrickMonnier Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
Excellent and informative!
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
:hug: thank you
Reply
:iconpatrickmonnier:
PatrickMonnier Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013
You are welcome, thanks for sharing!
Reply
:iconaurasio:
Aurasio Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
While I completely agree with your definition of street-photography, isn't it a privacy issue to capture so many unaware pedestrians so candidly ?
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
99% of the cases, If it is not candid it is not street photography. Certainly photographing without the subject's knowledge is a source of potential ethical conflicts. On the other hand, the absence of consent does not imply an unethical behavior or privacy's violation.
Most of the street photos are about scenes that happen in public places. Many times the persons captured are part of a scene and not the exclusive subject of the image. It would be impossible and absurd asking the consent to every person present in a scene.
Street photography is a form of art and the photographer has the right to exercise his artistic freedom while safeguarding an individual's dignity. In most of the countries it is allowed to take photos in public places and the restrictions in publishing them are that the photos should not be detrimental or offensive for the individual's dignity.
Street photography is also a way to document life at a certain time, it is part of the public memory and if we had only posed images something important would be missing.
Reply
:iconaurasio:
Aurasio Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
It doesn't necessarily imply lack of ethics, no. Thank you for the well-explained reply.
Reply
:iconkitanatsukino-hime:
KitanaTsukino-hime Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well said and well illustrated. :heart:
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
thank you :thanks:
Reply
:icontamerathon:
Tamerathon Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013   Photographer
It's true!
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
thank you for reading
Reply
:icontamerathon:
Tamerathon Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013   Photographer
I've done street photography. It's fun, although when you actually sit down and think about what you're doing, I've found a lot of people find it distasteful or creepy in theory, because some of the best examples of street photography, like V-J Day in Times Square, aren't consciously associated with the genre.
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:iconpatrickmonnier:
PatrickMonnier Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
I'm not trying to start an argument here but could you elaborate on "...I've found a lot of people find it distasteful or creepy in theory..."? Specifically, how large is your sample and how did you ask the question? Did you shoot people and then asked what they thought about it? The reason I am asking is because my experience is quite the opposite. I think that most people, once told what I was doing and what street photo was, were intrigued but certainly receptive. Again, my sample is certainly rather small and geographically constrained... And as most know here, I've had my share of bad responses as well!
Reply
:icontamerathon:
Tamerathon Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013   Photographer
My sample size is family and friends, none of whom I would consider serious or professional photographers.  
Reply
:iconjoelleas:
JoelleAs Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Hobbyist
Really like the pictures and I'm very pleased to see that there are people aware of the actual meaning of street art. I didn't know before so thanks, awesome journal!
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
thank you :thanks:
Reply
:iconstamatisgr:
StamatisGR Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013   Photographer
A great start of a great week from a great CV! Thank you for all your efforts! You keep Street alive! :clap:
Reply
:iconmyraincheck:
myraincheck Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013
:D hewwww thank you!
Reply
:icondarkborder:
DarkBorder Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you!
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