I don't get street photography. Please explain

Started May 3, 2013 | Discussions
cmc1
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I don't get street photography. Please explain
May 3, 2013

As per the title. I don't get it. I love photographs that mean something to me, that shock me, make me want to keep looking and going back to it. I don't understand why you would cram up your hard drive with photos of an empty coke can on the floor or some tramp sitting in his own excrement? Genuine question, what am I not seeing?

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looper1234
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Re: I don't get street photography. Please explain
In reply to cmc1, May 3, 2013

if it expresses something, than its valid/good photograph.

i am sure there are good and bad examples in all form of photography.

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gloaming
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Re: I don't get street photography. Please explain
In reply to looper1234, May 3, 2013

Maybe because they take transit services and won't use personal vehicles to get out into the country?  Or, they are trying to get into/deveolp an artform all its own?  People in motion, in transactions, just strolling, eating, even their faces....they can be interesting, even compelling if you have the desire to see them that way.

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cmc1
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Re: I don't get street photography. Please explain
In reply to gloaming, May 3, 2013

gloaming wrote:

Maybe because they take transit services and won't use personal vehicles to get out into the country?  Or, they are trying to get into/deveolp an artform all its own?  People in motion, in transactions, just strolling, eating, even their faces....they can be interesting, even compelling if you have the desire to see them that way.

I think I get that, but some of this stuff I see on here is tripe. A man drinking a cauppacino, a pair air shoes tied to a gate with comments like "wonderfully captured mood" really????  Not sniping, I just don't get it

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looper1234
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Re: I don't get street photography. Please explain
In reply to cmc1, May 3, 2013

cmc1 wrote:

I think I get that, but some of this stuff I see on here is tripe. A man drinking a cauppacino, a pair air shoes tied to a gate with comments like "wonderfully captured mood" really????  Not sniping, I just don't get it

you are referring to the type of comments here right.

http://500px.com/editors?only=Street

pay no attentions to those comments, they are just response templates ppl use,

meaningfully comments takes time and effort, and the modern human would never take time and effort for strangers.

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Alleg1
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Re: I don't get street photography. Please explain
In reply to looper1234, May 3, 2013

The problem I find with some Street Photography is that it can sometimes be patronising or condescending, as when  a photographer "goes slumming",for example, however well intentioned the motive. As the OP mentions, it can become a matter of spotting  "characters".

I see this as analogous to the continual references to "the locals" in travel programmes

I recall an old story about a photographer telling his friend about a visit to a poor asian country, where he was accosted by a beggar pleading for alms.

"What did you give him?" said the friend.

"Oh, a 250th at f11," came the reply.

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Franka T.L.
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some historical perspective needed
In reply to cmc1, May 3, 2013

To be honest, I do agree with you. Most of what todays so call street photography is no more than glorified snaps of what the individual photographer having interest at ( not the content, just the object ) around town. By a broad scope they have lost their core value as street photography from a social documentary contex and point of view.

Street photography is nothing new. Their origin spur from early day investigative journalism such as those performed then by UK & US news reporter which brought about many changes in society in form of legal change to protect the under privileged , and this continue into the less serious social aspect of life such as that of work from Henri Cartier-Bresson ( aka HCB ) and demonstrated by old magazine like the " Life ", for which it diversify into  several gene of street photography, which govern sociological, humanistic asepcts  and even Anthropology.

Today however, I must conclude after so much flickr browsing, instagram, and so and so ... many of the so call street photography is nothing more than self proclaimed and lost the context behind the image. Those images are well images alone for their own purpose and for that they might be good photo, even good photography, but hardly in my definition street photography. The core of any street photography work lies in the documentary aspect and the social and human context that lies with the image, not just the image itself. That stated, I must state also that my definition might be more classically tuned as vs the more liberal art form of street photography as there were and there are indeed many very well taken and great street photography that are even from inception not to convey and not to document, but to express. In which form they also excel.

The gene of street photography is also tied in with the school of humanist and geo-humanist gene and one can , literally , expand from  there

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AlbertInFrance
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Street -- Why??
In reply to Franka T.L., May 3, 2013

I'm glad I'm not the only one.

Most of it seems to be invasive, self-indulgent or both.

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Every photograph is an abstraction from reality.

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Sal Baker
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Re: I don't get landscape photography
In reply to cmc1, May 3, 2013

I've seen nothing but really bad landscape photos over the past few years.  Most look like poorly executed iPhone vacation shots with no focus of interest, bad lighting, and boring views.  I don't get it.  These photographers are trying to use existing scenes from nature and take credit for capturing the image.  It's lazy and not at all innovative.  Why does anyone bother with landscape shooting anymore??

Sal

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: I don't get street photography. Please explain
In reply to cmc1, May 3, 2013

cmc1 wrote:

As per the title. I don't get it. I love photographs that mean something to me, that shock me, make me want to keep looking and going back to it. I don't understand why you would cram up your hard drive with photos of an empty coke can on the floor or some tramp sitting in his own excrement? Genuine question, what am I not seeing?

Take a look at these photos from a member here. I find his work very beautiful.

Look here.

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Paul_B Midlands UK
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Re: I don't get landscape photography
In reply to Sal Baker, May 3, 2013

Travel to better places, get up earlier come home later u cud just find something.
--
Paul Bentley

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: I don't get street photography. Please explain
In reply to cmc1, May 3, 2013

cmc1 wrote:

As per the title. I don't get it. I love photographs that mean something to me, that shock me, make me want to keep looking and going back to it. I don't understand why you would cram up your hard drive with photos of an empty coke can on the floor or some tramp sitting in his own excrement? Genuine question, what am I not seeing?

Once the technical factors are in place, everything boils down to individual taste. I find macro photography uninteresting, even though I know it involves a lot of  skill and experience to do well. Each to their own.

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Sal Baker
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Re: I don't get landscape photography
In reply to Paul_B Midlands UK, May 3, 2013

Paul_B Midlands UK wrote:

Travel to better places, get up earlier come home later u cud just find something.
--
Paul Bentley

Same could be said for street photography, no?  

Sal

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lukaw
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Re: Street -- Why??
In reply to AlbertInFrance, May 3, 2013

AlbertInFrance wrote:

I'm glad I'm not the only one.

Most of it seems to be invasive, self-indulgent or both.

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Albert
Every photograph is an abstraction from reality.

We are on the same page.

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Lee Jay
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Never seen a good "street" shot
In reply to cmc1, May 3, 2013

I think the definition of a street shot is "over processed, badly composed, poorly executed picture of nothing that says nothing about anything".

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mgd43
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Re: I don't get street photography. Please explain
In reply to cmc1, May 3, 2013

We all have different interests. If you're not interested in street photography or if you don't like the street photography you see now just don't look at it. I like people (most of them anyway) and I like photos of people doing the things that people do. That's why I like street photography and why I do a lot of it.

One good thing about photography is that we are all free to photograph what interests us. I don't shoot macro photos of bugs because they don't interest me. I photography people and animals because they do interest me.

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looper1234
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Re: I don't get street photography. Please explain
In reply to Cailean Gallimore, May 4, 2013

Cailean Gallimore wrote:

Take a look at these photos from a member here. I find his work very beautiful.

Look here.

Amazing photos, art is to be found anywhere, especially when one puts their heart and soul into their work.

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Johnyguy
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Re: I don't get street photography. Please explain
In reply to cmc1, May 4, 2013

cmc1 wrote:

gloaming wrote:

Maybe because they take transit services and won't use personal vehicles to get out into the country?  Or, they are trying to get into/deveolp an artform all its own?  People in motion, in transactions, just strolling, eating, even their faces....they can be interesting, even compelling if you have the desire to see them that way.

I think I get that, but some of this stuff I see on here is tripe. A man drinking a cauppacino, a pair air shoes tied to a gate with comments like "wonderfully captured mood" really????  Not sniping, I just don't get it

I agree I don't find it interesting to take pictures of strangers  that you keep on your PC and look at it again like years from it.....why would I

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rsn48
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Watch this...
In reply to cmc1, May 4, 2013

This is one of the best lectures you'll get on street photography.  For the first ten minutes its pretty pedantic, but then when the lecturer starts talking about photography styles and their evolution it gets much more interesting: [this video is roughly 65 minutes long so save it when you can watch it all the way through]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZfQInz-nSk

Best way for you to understand street photography is to do it.  So your assignment is to pick a street out of your town, village or city and document life on that street for two days.  Try to take pics that show types of people there, things they do, images that reveal the people's inner feelings.  You are doing this assignment for National Geographic (not really but pretend you are) so its important to get some good pics, more than one.

Trite street photo subjects:

1.  Wrinkled old man or woman

2.  Beautiful women

Both over done.

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Lee Jay
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Re: Watch this...
In reply to rsn48, May 4, 2013

rsn48 wrote:

So your assignment is to pick a street out of your town, village or city and document life on that street for two days.  Try to take pics that show types of people there, things they do, images that reveal the people's inner feelings.

I don't get this.  Maybe this works in the poor inner-city or in certain other areas like college campuses, but where I live a street is a transportation corridor.  I'd get a lot of pictures of cars going by, and not much else.

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Lee Jay
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