street photography

Street photography is one of those things that everyone recognizes but few (if any) can define. It is 'slice of life' photography, usually literally on the street but also in all kinds of other public and indeed private places. It is almost indistinguishable from 'candid' photography, except that 'candid' is often taken nowadays to have an element of cruelty or malice about it, mocking those whom it portrays. Perhaps needless to say, we don't like that sort of picture.

The term 'street photography' may also be used for 'reportage' or 'photojournalism'. In our view these are more properly reserved for the picture story or photo essay, but the best single shot may indeed tell as much as an entire photo essay of 10 or 20 pictures.

 

Girl, Weston-super-Mare

An example of traditional 1930s style street photography, with black and white film and a standard lens -- probably a 50/3.5 Elmar on a Leica IIIa -- though Roger actually took it in the 1970s when the camera was already around 40 years old.

Palais des Papes, Avignon

A very different style of street photography: super-saturated colour and an extreme wide-angle (15mm) lens. This was at the annual Theatre Festival. There are around 18 pictures in this heavily-illustrated module, 10 of them monochrome, one hand-coloured, and the remainder colour.

 

In the module, we make the point that while street photography is much easier in some places than others, it is still perfectly feasible even in England and those parts of the United States where more and more people don't want their pictures taken. This is all the more ridiculous in the UK when you consider how many CCTV cameras there are. But even in the worst places, no-one seems to mind very much at festivals and fairs, so these are a good place to start: extend your street-shooting to other areas as your confidence grows.

 

 

Go to the unillustrated list of modules (in either alphabetical or date order)

or go to the illustrated list of modules

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last updated: 20/Sept/05

© 2005 Roger W. Hicks