I don't get street photography. Please explain

Started May 3, 2013 | Discussions thread
Midwest Forum Pro • Posts: 18,280
Re: I don't get street photography. Please explain

A Riley wrote:

So street photography -- if a photographer loves cities and loves city dwellers (and I do), she'll use her camera, her skills, and her artistic sense to express and demonstrate that love. Is the photographer engaging her subject as a fellow human being? Or is she viewing her subject as an object to observe with detachment?

To me, engaging a subject as a fellow human being means respecting the subject's dignity and humanity (and that includes respecting their right to privacy -- i.e., consent to the photo). The photo of the man sitting on the curb in front of the cathedral with his two little dogs is a good example. The photos of the old merchant waiting for customers is another.

The story of the photographer getting in the EMTs' way to get closeups of the man having a heart attack on campus -- that's way over the line from detachment to exploitation. Taking advantage of someone else's misfortune for a shiver of shock for the viewer is exploitative and dehumanizing for both the subject and the viewer, let alone the photographer.

Well said. I think any good photo (or at least street photo) should capture a moment. But someone having a critical medical episode is not a subject for that. I'd have been tempted to take the camera from that young woman and slam it on the ground.

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It's nice to say that nice pictures are nice.

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